Editor’s note: John Gaudiosi covers the interactive game industry for numerous publications. He also writes the Gaming Guru blog for WRAL.com.
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Epic Games made headlines at E3 in more ways than one this week.
In addition to with announcing a PC version of its wildly popular Gears of War and its Unreal Tournament release for Sony, Epic also demonstrated the power of its game engine called Unreal .
Many of the top games at E3 this year featured Epic Games’ popular engine.
2K Games’ Bioshock, which is one of the most impressive Xbox 360 and PC games coming out this year, has done wonders bringing a stylistic underwater city to life with nightmare atmospheres.
Bioware’s sci-fi role-playing game, Mass Effect, brings the depth of a PC adventure game to Xbox 360.
Sony Online Entertainment’s The Agency, a new massively multiplayer online spy game aimed at the mass market, brings the action of a James Bond film to interactive life.
Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction, an Xbox 360 exclusive, puts Sam Fisher on the run and out in the open in an action story.
Most game publishers, including Activision, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Sega, Sony Online Entertainment, Ubisoft, Chair Entertainment, Microsoft and Sony, are now using Unreal Engine 3 to develop games. In fact, with the recent Sony announcement, Nintendo is the only platform UE3 is not being used for.
Nintendo’s architecture is not high definition and, while innovative, does not bring the type of fidelity that Epic’s engine offers. Xbox 360 and PS3 are much closer to the power of a PC, which is what the Unreal Engine was originally developed for.
Last year, Ubisoft’s Montreal Studio used the Unreal Engine 3 for the PSP game, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas, as well as the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 versions.
Red Storm a No Show
Because Red Storm Entertainment shipped Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 for Xbox 360 earlier this year, they were not at Ubisoft’s booth at E3 this week.
French game publisher Ubisoft, which purchased the Triangle Studio from Tom Clancy back in 2000, showcased three major next generation games at its suite at the Loews Hotel.
Assassin’s Creed, which was one of the game’s of the show last year, Haze, a futuristic first-person shooter built for cooperative play, and Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway, which uses Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3, were all on display.
Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer of Gears of War, was at the Ubisoft suite checking out all three games on Thursday afternoon.
Showcasing New Unreal Tournament
At the Midway Games booth, just a few floors down, several members of the Epic Games development team were taking turns showcasing Unreal Tournament 3 for media and analysts. The game, which ships this fall for PC and PS3, offers multiple experiences in the single-player game.
New missions and story elements unfold as players progress through the game’s world map. Two maps were on display at the show, Downtown and Necropolis.
Another noteworthy feature of the new game is the implementation of Sony’s Sixaxis controller function for the PS3 game. Players can control some vehicles, including the hoverboard and the Redeemer remote-controlled weapon, using the motion-sensor device that replaced the rumble feature of the PS2 controllers.
Epic showed the game’s Sanctuary death match map on PS3 and PC side-by-side, and while the PC game looked better, the PS3 game was very impressive.
This is especially noteworthy because some games that were shown during the Microsoft and Sony press conferences, including Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, looked far better on Xbox 360 than PS3.
Mark Rein said Epic will work with Sony to ensure other developers who use the Unreal Engine 3 will be able to pull off similar feats. Unreal Tournament 3 is the showcase for what is possible on PS3 with this technology.