Long before developing million-plus seller “Gears of War” in 2006, Epic Games in Cary made its mark in the video game industry with “Unreal Tournament,” a huge-selling first-person shooter.

On Monday, Epic and publisher Midway Games unveiled the latest version of Unreal – “Unreal Tournament 3” – built for use on personal computers and featuring multiplayer capability. And coming in the near future is a version of the game for use on the Xbox 360 platform.

Providing the foundation for the latest Epic release is the Unreal game engine that Epic developed and has licensed as one of the most widely used engines in the game industry.

John Gaudiosi, an international published game industry journalist and writer of the “Gaming Guru” blog for WRAL.com and Local Tech Wire, praised the game after a recent demonstration for journalists.

“While the majority of multiplayer kiosks were PC, the PS3 game was playable as the evolution of the popular Unreal franchise that made Epic such a hit in the video game market continues,” Gaudiosi wrote. “Previous versions of Unreal sold millions of copies, and the Unreal game engine has established itself as one of the most popular tools for game development in the market today.”

Unreal Tournament 3 is priced at $49.95 ($59.95 for a limited edition) and is rated M for mature.

“Unreal Tournament 3’s superior graphics and gameplay experience take the award-winning Unreal franchise to a completely new level,” said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer of Midway. “The game truly defines what fast-paced, frenetic, intense first-person shooter gameplay should be.”
Long before its release, Unreal Tournament 3 has won a variety of awards, including several from the game industry media at the E3 show earlier this year.

“Unreal Tournament 3 delivers on the promise of high-caliber game quality that gamers have come to know and expect from Epic Games and the Unreal franchise,” said Mark Rein, vice president of Epic. “The power of Unreal Engine 3.0 has enabled the development team to set new expectations for what cutting-edge graphical and gameplay quality for a first-person shooter should be.”