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Gearing Up For The Next Gen: Unreal Engine 4

February 27, 2012

Epic has just announced that they will be previewing the Unreal Engine 4 at the upcoming Game Developer’s Conference (heads-up via EvAv). Unveiling the software before the hardware empowers Epic to influence the design of the hardware, as they have in the past. One hopes that Tim Sweeney spent some time pondering the phenomenon of latency when engineering this new middleware. They need to proactively and explicitly address that issue when they drop their robes at GDC.

Also in this same time frame, Bethesda is now actively seeking next generation console programmers (heads-up via Joystiq).  I have given up trying to guess when the next gen consoles will be announced, and more interestingly, of what specifications they will be built. However, there can no longer be any doubt that everyone in the industry is getting busy preparing for their eventual arrival.

Note: The Samaritan, embedded above, was shown on UE3 technology. One assumes it will run even better on UE4.

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13 Comments
  1. Blankman permalink*
    February 27, 2012 11:02 pm

    We were just talking about this exact topic during this past FoD. Tim Sweeney has already met with MS to give his recommendations on what the next-gen consoles will need, as in terms of hardware. You better believe that MS is listening since the 360 was such a success, a good portion of it due to Epic’s insistence to bump up the memory to 512MB.

    I believe that Epic has already had UE 4 completed for several months now. They have delayed official announcement of it because they don’t want their competition, or what’s left of it, a leg up due to a premature announcement. Since they’ve finally announced UE 4, the announcement of the next-gen consoles (at least the next Xbox iteration is probably imminent) should probably make some waves this E3. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Samaritan “demo” was actually showcased on an alpha build of UE 4. Not only that, there are already rumors from games industry anonymous sources that have leaked that they are already building on next-gen dev kits.

    Take a look at how many major players have abandoned the middleware business. Bethesda has already stated that id’s Rage engine will remain proprietary to their own IPs. I know that John Carmack must be whooping it up because he now has even more time to build rockets! LOL DICE’s Frostbite engine will remain with EA’s games. The Glacier engine which will power the upcoming Hitman: Absolution & reupped Tomb Raider seems to be taking that proprietary route as well. You better believe that 343 Industries’ Halo 4 enine will remain on the Halo franchise, perhaps exclusively. After all, MS scored a coup when they recruited Corrine Yuen away from Gearbox. That leaves a lot of major players not even taking a dip into the middleware pool. Epic couldn’t be happier to grab even more marketshare than they currently have.

  2. February 28, 2012 9:23 am

    OT: Blank, thanks for letting me know of the hard drive sale in newegg.com. Wife bought it for me, and should be here by the weekend with UPS 3-day guaranteed all for $100.

    Now I can finally play all my downloaded games, content, etc. to the fullest.

    • Blankman permalink*
      February 28, 2012 5:30 pm

      Awesome, glad to be of help! That was a great deal on the HDD & it included a game to boot!

  3. February 28, 2012 10:53 am

    Dude, I hope they make this into a game!

  4. 3Suns permalink*
    February 28, 2012 9:25 pm

    I am curious. What chance do you think there is that the 720 will be backwards compatible for our 360 games?

    • Blankman permalink*
      February 28, 2012 10:00 pm

      Industry stats show that not many players use the backward compatibility. Sony broke their promise to their fanbois after they chastised MS for not continuing on backward compatibility with their entire library. So much for their grandstanding, you hypocrites. Then again, when has Sony ever been hobest with their console’s gamers. Regardless, publishers & developers make more revenue when their games are re-issued via digital means. Take for instance, up rezzed games such as Beyond Good & Evil, Resident Evil 4, Psychonauts, etc. have shown considerable success being ported to the current gen consoles. With that viable means of “backward compatibility”, it renders this debate a moot point. Don’t you think?

    • 3Suns permalink*
      February 28, 2012 10:14 pm

      Right! I forgot about the re-issue profitability.

      All I know is that it could be really cool to play Gears 1 on UE4 with tweaked weapons and melee, and new netcode. I would rebuy that shit for premium price. (I know it wouldn’t happen because of all the work that went into the movement etc., but for a second there…)

      LOL

    • March 3, 2012 6:36 pm

      Another interesting thing about backward compatibility is the hardware used. But you can always have an emulator of some sorts. At least, that’s what the peeps at EvAv say!

  5. February 29, 2012 9:18 am

    I don’t think it’s a moot point right now. If they hadn’t shut down the service, people would still be playing Halo 2 to this day.

    Last top 20 still had Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4: http://majornelson.com/2012/02/22/live-activity-for-week-of-february-13/

    So it’s not unreasonable that whenever the next gen console arrives, people will still be invested in playing the top games out right now.

    and as sequels have proven, is not necessarily an instant sell to have better graphics on the next console. It needs to have the option of being able to go back to old games, in case newer versions go FUBAR.

    That didn’t happen with every game from last gen, but there were a few like Halo 2, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, GTA San Andreas, etc. That still to this day some of the key gameplay elements that made them popular are missing in the newer, better looking sequels.

    • 3Suns permalink*
      February 29, 2012 2:42 pm

      I hear what you are saying, ‘Frenik, but as long as MS continues to allow those games (CoD and H3) to be played via the 360, those customers can still play. Just as we would be able to continue playing Gears 1 on that hardware. I guess I was wondering out loud because I still long for Gears 1.5, but after I thought about it, I realized that there is no way they would ever bring it to us.

      As for the re-issue of Halo CE, there are several factors that led to its sales disappointment, including its HUGE price and the fact that the netcoding for the campaign was so bad it couldn’t be played with a friend on Live. Digital re-issues should never be more than 15 dollars, and if that price is too low for a physical copy, a physical copy shouldn’t even be considered.

    • March 1, 2012 9:49 am

      yeah that’s the thing…if… they let us play 360 games after the 720. This industry always makes more money forcing the consumer to buy the new software and devices than letting them keep their old stuff.

  6. February 29, 2012 9:19 am

    Also, Re-issues aren’t as profitable as expected like Halo CE Anniversary edition.

  7. March 3, 2012 6:38 pm

    Bottom line people, go PC!

    We’d be playing GoW1 with new maps!

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