Yes! Epic Games revealed today that simply called Unreal Tournament will be free, moddable and developed by fans (based on newly released Unreal Engine 4 – for Linux, Mac and Windows).
In March 2014, the developers announced a new business model: Unreal Engine 4 is available to all for a $19 monthly subscription. A more affordable engine developed in public means more potential creators.
“For years, we’ve wanted to reboot Unreal Tournament, but we knew we had to do it in concert with developers and the mod community, and in an environment that sets them up with the proper tools to make it happen,” – “Given the recent launch of UE4, we think this is the right time to move forward.”
Epic’s goal is to develop the game in public and in collaboration with players and development students who can begin their involvement with the game today in Epic’s forums, where the company is ready to talk about design.
“Our first development goal is to get a basic version of Unreal Tournament deathmatch up and running to provide a basis for iteration and further development,” Polge said.
“If you’re a member of the UE4 community, you can participate or just follow our progress on the live GitHub fork. You can also get started extending or modding the code as it becomes functional.”
Epic will discuss design questions in the forums and Twitch streams, and Polge said that 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.”
The PC shooter ecosystem has changed since Unreal Tournament’s last incarnation, but Polge believes that there’s a “need” for the kind of competitive shooter that Epic can provide.
“Unreal Tournament still has a lot of passionate fans,” he said. “We think there’s a real need in today’s PC FPS community for a modern competitive shooter that brings back the kind of pure, fast action, skill-based gameplay for which the series is known.”
Epic’s decision to build the game in public isn’t the only change that reflects the passage of time. Unreal Tournament will be free — but not free-to-play, according to the developer.
“Free means free — no microtransactions,” he said. “Just free.”
When asked how Epic will earn income with a free game, Polge said that Unreal Tournament will “eventually” have a marketplace where modders can post and give away or sell their maps, mods and other content.
That is Epic’s broad vision for the future of Unreal Tournament. Today’s announcement constitutes the earliest stages of the upcoming game, which doesn’t yet have a release date — though when it does, it’ll be a product of Epic and a community of Unreal Tournament fans.
“While we’re in early development, all of the ongoing work will be available live to the Unreal Engine 4 development community in source code form” Polge said. “We expect it will take several months to get to a point where there’s a downloadable, playable alpha version available for gamers.
“From that point forward, it will be live, constantly updated and available to everyone.”