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New  Unreal Tournament  has Epic exploring new ways to make games
New Unreal Tournament has Epic exploring new ways to make games
May 8, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

Starting today, Epic Games will begin developing the next Unreal Tournament as a free game for PC, Mac and Linux using Unreal Engine 4 and input from its community of developers and players.

The company announced the game on a livestream this morning and spelled out the details of the project in a longer blog post.

In brief: the company is fielding a small team to begin developing the game in public, which means that they will be regularly sharing their work and soliciting feedback via forum posts, the new Unreal Tournament wiki and Twitch livestreams. In addition, all game code and content will be available to Unreal Engine 4 subscribers via GitHub.

“We’re gonna have a GitHub fork that starts from the shooter template, and you can start opening up the editor with that branch," said community manager Stacey Conley during the livestream. "Right away, if you’re a UE developer, you can figure out how to contribute to our efforts or build your own mods.”

Epic also plans to build a marketplace into the game where people can buy and sell game content like mods, skins and the like. Epic intends to take a cut of anything a developer earns from selling content in that marketplace, though the details of that system -- much like the rest of the game -- are still in development.

"You guys can come talk to us and tell us what you want in the game," said project lead Steve Polge. "Not only that, but if you know what you want you can just make it."

Though interesting, the news is hardly surprising -- epic co-founder Mark Rein hinted that Unreal Tournament was coming back via Unreal Engine 4 last week.

Update: To be clear, Epic is advertising this game as being completely free to play with no microtransactions -- the only business model that has been discussed so far has been the promised in-game marketplace.

“There will be no microtransactions," said Conley during the company's livestream.

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Edison Henrique andreassy
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This will be interesting to follow. (Su/Un)real.

Kai Boernert
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this left me worrying, if the game is free, does that mean as in free to play?
Cause having F2P in one of the older core games would really annoy me.

But if they don't I cannot see how they will be earning money with this?

E Zachary Knight
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It is free as in "free open source software"

Jennis Kartens
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It is free (as in FFA, not F2P) plus a marketplace (didn't catch that Epic entirely denied availability of their products for money, but they said modders can chose wether to make their content available for free or charge something)

Luis Guimaraes
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Community-developed as expected. Awesome news.

Modders can make and sell content. Epic gets a cut of those sales and gets the engine subscriptions. No need for microtransactions or other BS.

Everyone wins.

David Lejeune
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I really hope that they're not going to require an engine subscription for mod-making for this. If the UT mods are only distributable on the UT Marketplace and only work with UT then it wouldn't make sense to require the subscription fee, too.

Jordan Carr
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It seems clear (to me) in the press statement that making the mods does require the UE4 subscription, which I don't see as an issue.

David Lejeune
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You don't think having to pay a $19/month subscription fee to make free maps is going to be a problem and negatively effect the mod community for this?

I'm aware that technically you only need to pay once and then can cancel and still use the tools, but you'd have to re-up your sub to release. And what happens if/when a few patches down the line some script that your map depends on changes? You have to re-up again to maintain something that you only wanted to give away for free.

Once UT is out, it would make more sense to do a UDK style release of the tools without source code access. If you want to charge for your stuff on the marketplace, buy a subscription. But if you're just making maps or character models and giving them away for free because its fun and contributes to your and others' enjoyment of the game, making people pay more than once for the privilege kind of sucks.

Greg Scheel
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For a measly $19 bux a month, a modder gets access to source, and an incomparable full professional tool set. So far, it looks like any free mod will incur no further charge.

Considering that this is the only way Epic earns any money from the game, it seems most fair to me.

Disclosure: I quit my EVE sub, for the best single player sandbox game ever, UE4. You could even code your way to multiplayer!

Jennis Kartens
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Maybe at this point, they should've had at least the basic stuff ready instead of announcing a development that hasn't even begun yet.

I hope things will turn out fine!

Community involvement is great and all, but honestly... 100 different opinions do not make a good game. Especially with this being a sequel to three (+ UC) very different games of that series.

Hope they set out a good baseline at least.

Daniel Camus
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Good news, back to the roots.

Mark Rein
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Jennis-> If we had done that then the community wouldn't truly have been able to get involved from day 1. Our goal was to involve the community from day 1 and today is day 1. It's very exciting and I think it is going to be a great learning experience for everyone who gets involved whether they jump in today or a year from now. They'll get to work alongside our team to build a triple-A first person shooter based on a great legacy.

Since 1999 Unreal Tournament has always had amazing mod/community support but never before have modders had access to the full C++ source code of the underlying game and engine and never before have we had a visual scripting language as powerful as Blueprints are in UE4. This means people will be able to contribute at all levels of the project and do things they could only dream of doing for past UT games.

I can't wait to see what results from this! We've already seen some incredible contributions to Unreal Engine 4 itself so who knows what we'll see with UT.

Jennis Kartens
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I understand that, and I also think at some point this is an awesome experiment.

Though you're doing this with an IP that is highly valued and comes with expectations, so there are concerns about how this will turn out. Doing it this way does create a bunch of new problems as well and it is still a huge question mark where the "direction" will be from Epics side.

I am excited too quite honestly, because I love the UE, but simply as a fan of UT, I am also concerned. It is easier as ever to create content and games today, but it requires more skill and time as ever to match certain quality levels in content creation too.

Well, lets see how things will turn out :-)

Robert Green
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Sounds like they're going for a "please sell hats and make the next DayZ in our game, and give us a cut" monetisation strategy. It'll be interesting to watch that play out.

John Paduch
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No idea how you came to that conclusion, except thru lack of reading comprehension and no experience with the modding community of UT games past.

Robert Green
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It was my reaction to this:
"Epic also plans to build a marketplace into the game where people can buy and sell game content like mods, skins and the like. Epic intends to take a cut of anything a developer earns from selling content in that marketplace"

When you think of selling cosmetic items or mods for an FPS, what are the examples that come to your mind?

jin choung
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i hope we get a prettified version of the first unreal tournament... all the sequels were just slower and needlessly complicated. just give me deathmatch dammit.

Jesse Tucker
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The thing I liked most about UT2004 was the sheer variety in different game types. I started out playing Onslaught, and then eventually moved up to low-grav, high-speed, infinite walldodge instagib. It was super fast. Then I moved to TAM, which is more in line with traditional deathmatch.

UT2004 appealed to many different play styles and many different people for different reasons. To strip everything out except for what appeals to you would go against what I perceive to be the spirit of the series.

David Canela
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I hope people will develop an onslaught mode and interesting player movement. Dodges, wall jumps etc. were a big part of why I loved ut2k4.

Davide Coppola
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The future of Unreal Tournament... according to Desktop Stories:

Bruno Xavier
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This new Epic Games is so attractive.

Jesse Tucker
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Once the dust settles and they have the play control, weapons and vehicles straightened out, I might be interested in making a map or two.

I curious by how they expect to monetize mods if they don't want to do microtransactions. At what point would something be worth selling/buying? What if you're on a server that loads a map or gametype that requires you to pay for it? Does that mean you hit a pay wall and can't continue until you pay?