Epic Games is taking a drastically different approach to the development of their recently announced return to Unreal Tournament.
Steve Polge, senior programmer and project lead on the new Unreal Tournament, recently spoke to PC Gamer about how the studio intends to manage a completely community-driven development process where aspiring creators will have a direct impact on production of the completely free PC, Mac, and Linux arena shooter.
As for why Epic decided to go this route, “We wanted to bring back Unreal Tournament in collaboration with our passionate fans and mod community,” said Polge. “Community-created content and mods have always played a huge part in the appeal and success of the Unreal Tournament series. With Unreal Engine 4 now available to everyone, we see a unique opportunity to re-invent the competitive FPS.”
Polge went on to give some examples, detailing an open and transparent development process for Unreal Tournament.
“We will have a very open and inclusive process for establishing how the core of Unreal Tournament evolves,” he explained. “We’ll build consensus and make sure the community buys into the direction we establish together. Design questions will be discussed on the forum and in regular Twitch streams, and the decision process will be inclusive and transparent. Players will be able to make their voice heard, and participate meaningfully in setting the direction of development. We will release playable alpha versions and use those to get hands-on feedback from players as well. Epic realizes that we are ultimately responsible for making sure that the core game is awesome and we’ll get there with the contributions of our community.”
Polge then offered up a few more details about the game itself, mentioning that the studio’s initial focus will be on the arena Deathmatch and team game modes before talking about any vehicle-based combat.
“We are focusing first on implementing a polished and updated version of the arena Deathmatch and team game modes. After that, we’d love to work with our community to bring the vehicle-based combat of UT2004 and UT3 to the new Unreal Tournament,” he said.
There was also talk of eSports support, including “advanced match spectating, broadcasting and live streaming,” but nothing planned for the near future, says Polge.
“In the near term, aspiring to be a competitive FPS means making sure we have balanced gameplay mechanics that reward a variety of play styles so that success is primarily determined by skill,” he went on. “Longer term, we’d love to support UT as an eSport game, and we’ll need the community’s help in designing and implementing many of the features that implies, like advanced match spectating, broadcasting and livestreaming.”
Check out the full Unreal Tournament interview with Polge over on PC Gamer.