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Epic announces new, free Unreal Tournament title

Epic announces new, free Unreal Tournament title

Epic Games has confirmed plans to release a new Unreal Tournament game for free, making its money by allowing modders to sell content on an in-game marketplace.

.Epic Games has announced that it is working on a new entry in the long-running Unreal Tournament franchise, and plans to release it as a completely free title - turning to the sale of community-produced content for its income.

The Unreal Tournament series has been a popular spin-off for the firm, far more so than its single-player focused Unreal franchise. First launched in 1999, the series competed head-to-head with id Software's Quake franchise as the must-play twitch-shooter for competitive gaming. Epic has been concentrating on other projects of late, however, and Unreal Tournament has been in hibernation - until now.

'Work on the future of Unreal Tournament begins today, and we’re happy to announce that we’re going to do this together, with you,' explained Epic's Steve Polge in an announcement late last night. 'We know that fans of the game are as passionate about Unreal Tournament as we are. We know that you have great ideas and strong opinions about where the game should go and what it should be. So let’s do something radical and make this game together, in the open, and for all of us.'

Polge explained that the company's vision is to develop the next-generation Unreal Tournament with a small team of series veterans, but that code and assets will be made available on the company's GitHub page for public appraisal and even modification. When the work is finished - which will take 'many months,' Polge warned - the final game will be made freely available to all on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms.

The profit, Polge explained, will come from the community itself. 'We’ll eventually create a marketplace where developers, modders, artists and gamers can give away, buy and sell mods and content. Earnings from the marketplace will be split between the mod/content developer, and Epic,' he claimed. 'That’s how we plan to pay for the game.

'A lot of this is brand new for Epic, and we don’t yet have everything figured out. Things will probably definitely go wrong from time to time, and when they do, we’ll have to work through them together. There will be a lot of tough decisions to make, and not every feature will make it into the game. But if you’re a fan of Unreal Tournament, a UE4 developer, or a future modder – or if you just want to learn how we make games – we hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be fun.
'

More details are available on the official wiki.

22 Comments

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HackJoe 9th May 2014, 11:09 Quote
This is still a MP FPS game correct.. Only now it'll be 'Pay to Win'? What other 'content' would you be paying for? Maps, guns, skins and abilities... Hmmmm think I'd rather they worked with the community to develop a AAA follow up to the original UT.

J.
Gareth Halfacree 9th May 2014, 11:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HackJoe
This is still a MP FPS game correct.. Only now it'll be 'Pay to Win'?
No, they've specifically stated that it won't be a free-to-play model. The main game - which will be an entire UT game, nothing cut out - will be completely free. The marketplace content will be optional, and I would imagine work rather like expansion packs - i.e. non-cosmetic additions to the game will be playable only with other players who also have the same content. Think "new levels" rather than "massively overpowered gun."
Corky42 9th May 2014, 12:04 Quote
Call me suitably confused :?
I get that the game is going to be free, but they say on the wiki linked in the article "When the game is playable, it will be free. Not free to play, just free." So we can download the game for free, but not play it for free. Does that mean subscriptions, or does it mean you can't play it without buying something from the market place first.
Gareth Halfacree 9th May 2014, 12:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Call me suitably confused :?
I get that the game is going to be free, but they say on the wiki linked in the article "When the game is playable, it will be free. Not free to play, just free." So we can download the game for free, but not play it for free. Does that mean subscriptions, or does it mean you can't play it without buying something from the market place first.
It's Epic's attempt to differentiate it from "Free to Play" (note the capitals), which is often - as in the first comment - taken to mean "Pay to Win." In a Free to Play (F2P) title, there are artificial barriers to progression - real-world time limits combined with ridiculous grinding to progress, usually meaning that going up a level in the game can take weeks or months of your real-world time - which can be removed by paying just a small fee, known as a "microtransaction." Epic is saying the new Unreal Tournament will not use the F2P model; it will be properly free, with no artificial barriers in place. You want to download it and shoot your mates in the face all day, every day? Go ahead. You'll get no prompts to "recharge your energy meter for $1" or "repair your weapon now for $5" or "your player has been running for half an hour and needs to rest: wait 24 hours to play again or buy a shot of adrenaline for just $2," just good ol' classic UT gameplay.

Now, if a modder releases a level you just have to play - I dunno, perhaps it's a port of de_dust or something - then you might want to stick your hand in your pocket and pay $1 for the privilege. Half of that will go to the modder, half to Epic. You don't have to buy the level, and it's not content that was stripped from the game to sell as DLC later down the line. Also, it means that you can make cash from the game: make your own level, or weapon pack, or skin pack, or whatever, stick it on the marketplace and watch the money roll in. That is a first for an Epic game, and something that could be a real winner.

Clearer?
Corky42 9th May 2014, 12:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Clearer?

As mud :D There was me thinking Free to Play done what it said on the tin.
I get the difference between Pay to Win and Free to Play, it just seem very confusing when they mix 'it will be free' in the same sentence as 'Not free to play'
Cthippo 9th May 2014, 12:36 Quote
I'm intrigued by this. Hopefully it will work out well.
[USRF]Obiwan 9th May 2014, 13:15 Quote
yeah sure free to play....

"You're out of ammo, buy more ammo? (5c per cartridge)"
Sketchee 9th May 2014, 13:52 Quote
This sounds wonderful in theory, hope it all works out as intended. This, plus the way you can obtain UE4 for a very reasonable sub cost should hopefully be very encouraging for modders and budding developers, should hopefully give us some exciting stuff to play :D

I'd love to see it be a massive success, it would be great to see a viable alternative to F2P that doesn't just stiff the consumer.
Corky42 9th May 2014, 13:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sketchee
I'd love to see it be a massive success, it would be great to see a viable alternative to F2P that doesn't just stiff the consumer.

Team Fortress 2 ?
Or do people see that as P2W, it seems like that is the model they maybe following.
Sketchee 9th May 2014, 14:15 Quote
I'm not even sure anymore what it is you can buy in TF2, it's been that long since I played it. I guess the difference here is that it took a long time before TF2 became free to own the game. It looks here like Epic are encouraging user created content, which they will then make a profit from. Also sits nicely with me in the wake of a few games recently directly preventing user created content.

On the other hand, it could be a chaotic disaster but I'll remain optimistic. It's interesting none the less.
wafflesomd 9th May 2014, 15:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan
yeah sure free to play....

"You're out of ammo, buy more ammo? (5c per cartridge)"

Ok I really don't get this. Are you guys just dumb and don't understand that there are working free 2 play models or are you stuck in the past?
jrs77 9th May 2014, 15:58 Quote
Why don't they simply take UT99 GOTY and rewrite it with their new UT4-Engine?
SMIFFYDUDE 9th May 2014, 17:46 Quote
I'd rather pay for a game and download mods free.
RedFlames 9th May 2014, 17:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sketchee
I'd love to see it be a massive success, it would be great to see a viable alternative to F2P that doesn't just stiff the consumer.

DotA2 - iirc all the marketplace items are 100% cosmetic...
Hawken/TF2 - all the non-cosmetic items can be acquired [eventually] through playing the game...

The way I read this is UT 4/2014 will be paid for [at least partially] through UDK subs and taking a cut on sales from any resulting marketplace...

EDIT - Even if you offer the content you've made for free [assuming Epic let you], Chances are you'll still need/use UDK to *make* said content either way Epic get paid...
DbD 9th May 2014, 18:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Why don't they simply take UT99 GOTY and rewrite it with their new UT4-Engine?

If that's what the community wants then they can do that! That's the whole point - Epic who famously make good engines but some pretty dodgy games are going to make this with community. It's basically an open source game developed like other open source projects, only with the support of Epic devs and designers. For the UT community this is heaven - in their wildest dreams they can't have hoped Epic would do this.

Epic will get their money not from UT4 but from other games developed with the engine that people decide to charge for. i.e. everyone can make what they want with UT4 engine, but if you want to charge for it then Epic get a cut. Plenty of examples of games like that (e.g. Red Orchestra, Killing floor started off as free UT2004 mods but became pay for games).
Spanky 9th May 2014, 22:52 Quote
I think maybe that they can generate a decent income from what Valve is doing with the 'box' thang its got going on in CSGO. Having a box drop in game after a match and selling you a 'key' to open it at the princely sum of £1.50 to open the box and get a random 'drop' . That can either be used by yourself OR sold on the community forums.

From what i can see people go MAD for new skins even for the same guns that shoot the same bullets and it makes bugger all differance. I can see that they make far far more money from this over the lifetime period of the game then the cost of buying it and getting freebies in the first place ..... or is it just me???
Kruelnesws 9th May 2014, 23:23 Quote
Omg I want it again!
DriftCarl 10th May 2014, 00:27 Quote
OK so their U4 engine is actually really good. They have already built the tools required to make pretty much any game with ease. Their developers could probably throw together a UT game extreemly easily, if not already almost complete. They must have made something while they were developing the U4 engine.

They will sell map packs at like $5.99 or something, those map packs will be made by the community using their tools. Last time I checked, you had to purchase their U4 engine tools and also there is a subscription for it. So they will make money from that too.

I have been gagging for a new UT game for years, so I am looking forward to it. Hopefully they will have a slower method of getting map packs, kind of like what league of legends has to buy champions.
Corky42 10th May 2014, 12:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
From what i can see people go MAD for new skins even for the same guns that shoot the same bullets and it makes bugger all differance. I can see that they make far far more money from this over the lifetime period of the game then the cost of buying it and getting freebies in the first place ..... or is it just me???

You ain't kidding they go mad for them.
Valve have gone on record to say they paid out $10.2 million to item creators for TF2 and DOA2 in 2013, now IDK what percentage the item creator gets from a selling items, versus how much Valve gets, but i think it's safe to say they are both earning good money from it.
mi1ez 10th May 2014, 13:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sketchee
I'd love to see it be a massive success, it would be great to see a viable alternative to F2P that doesn't just stiff the consumer.

Team Fortress 2 ?
Or do people see that as P2W, it seems like that is the model they maybe following.

I thought TF2 was a P4H (Pay for Hats) model?
Corky42 10th May 2014, 14:33 Quote
LOL :):D
Who doesn't love a fancy hat, or new trousers, jackets, shoes, and even cuddly toys
RedFlames 10th May 2014, 19:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
You ain't kidding they go mad for them.
Valve have gone on record to say they paid out $10.2 million to item creators for TF2 and DOA2 in 2013, now IDK what percentage the item creator gets from a selling items, versus how much Valve gets, but i think it's safe to say they are both earning good money from it.

it's 75%:25% Valve:User IIRC, with the option to donate some or all of your 25% to certain companies/charities [Blender Foundation is the only one I can recall atm]
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