Unreal Tournament 3: Mark Rein Interview
We quiz Epic Games bigwig Mark Rein on the all-new UT3, talk about the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, and discover that Unreal Engine 3 IS actually in development for Wii.
Kikizo: The cinematics we have in campaign, this does make the mode feel a lot richer...
Rein: The cinematics are fantastic, and the interesting thing about them, that I like to point out, there's this one part of the cinematic where we have this great city level, where the Necris vehicles are flying through and bombing like crazy - well that level's not actually in the game, but, we ship all the cinematic levels on the PC version with the editor. So if people want to then take that, and turn it into a game level, as a mod, have at it, baby! Because all of these are done completely in-engine.
Kikizo: Thinking back to E3 2005, where you showed the real-time demonstration running on PS3 dev hardware - and it's the only thing that WAS real time that was shown back then...
Rein: [laughs] But doesn't it look better now? It looks even better, right?
Kikizo: Well... this is the PC version we're looking at, right?
Rein: Could be... all these cinematics run on the PS3 too. In other words, I don't know what they're playing it on there, the PC they're playing it on is probably not that good, but the movies are all played on a PC or console and then recorded our and stored as Bink movies. But, all those movies are capable of playing at 30fps solidly on PS3. So that's quite a feat actually, because the movies are pretty high end.
Kikizo: Well yeah, if you can get consistent frame rate with that level of detail it's impressive, because even something like Metal Gear Solid 4 is not a consistent frame rate from all the real builds we've seen.
Rein: Well, but let's be fair, these are movies, so we're carefully manage where the camera looks, but with a game, you've got that much action going on over there and then you turn in this direction and that much action is also going on over there, well, maybe you run out of memory, or maybe the framerate will drop there.
Kikizo: You've been able to squeeze Unreal Engine 2 onto PSP previously; with that in mind is there any potential to get some form of Unreal Engine 3 running on Wii at some point? Because after all, commercially it has to be worth it now right?
Rein: It wasn't us, it was Ubisoft! [laughs] You know, actually, commercially, it's probably not worth it to be honest. And I don't mean that as anything against the Wii, but the Wii is an improved evolution of the GameCube - I mean it's hardware compatible with the GameCube! So if you're going to make a game for the Wii you're just going to use whatever tools you used on GameCube, and bring them forward and enhance them a little - that's what the Gamebryo guys are doing - and that's a fact; I just don't see a big market there to bring this big hulking memory intensive engine over to a much smaller system. I mean, I'm sure some of our licensees, just as a commercial exercise, will probably do it. I know one of our licensee who's giving it a shot; it's their own port, in the same way Ubisoft brought Unreal Engine 2 to the Wii - I mean Splinter Cell and Red Steel - Unreal Engine 2, and there's a few others... but it's just, we won't don't do it ourselves. Look, there's so many things we can do and are already doing, to improve our engine, on the platforms we're aiming it at, that going back and working on that [for Wii] just doesn't make sense. Unreal Engine 3 is a better engine today than it was a year ago when Gears of War shipped. So Unreal Tournament 3 for example pushes the PlayStation 3 harder than Gears of War did on Xbox 360. So the engine is getting optimised and we're improving it all the time; there's too much low hanging fruit that we already have on the engine side, and new improvements and things we can do to try and make an engine for the Wii - it wouldn't be smart business for us.