Epic Games blew the lid off Unreal Engine 4 at GDC, which will simply be too powerful for current-gen consoles to handle. Unfortunately, the doubtlessly influential piece of middleware won't be supported on Nintendo's next-gen offering either, since Epic aren't convinced that the Wii U is actually a next-gen console in the first place.
UPDATE: But developers are welcome to try.
“Hahaha no," scoffed Epic Boss Mark Rein when Kotaku asked whether Unreal Engine 4 could run on the Wii U. "I mean, sorry, it’s not really a correct answer. We’re not… we have Unreal Engine 3 for the Wii U. Right? And Unreal Engine 3 is powering all kinds of amazing games, still lots of games are being made with Unreal Engine 3. We announced today about a new Unreal Engine 3 license. Unreal Engine 3 doesn’t disappear because of Unreal Engine 4."
"But our goal for Unreal Engine 4 console-wise is next-gen consoles. That’s really what our energies are focused on. If you want to make a Wii U game, we have Unreal Engine 3, and it’s powering some of the best games on the Wii U already.”
It's clear that Unreal Engine 3 will still play an important role over the next few years, but the lack of Wii U support could well mean that Nintendo's console misses out on even more multiplatform releases. Since the likes of Tomb Raider, DmC and even Colonial Marines haven't made it to the Wii U - and Battlefield 4 will steer well clear - Nintendo will need to improve their networking to ensure a slew of third party releases between the big first-party flagships.
Neither the PS3 nor Xbox 360 will be able to run Unreal Engine 4 games, but Epic Games have shown off an impressive new PC and PS4 tech demo. Watch this space.
UPDATE: Talking to Engadget after the fact, Rein suggested that it's up to developers to get Unreal Engine 4 working on other platforms. "If someone wants to take Unreal Engine 4 and ship a game on Wii U, they can! If they want to ship an Unreal Engine 4 game on Xbox 360, they could make it happen," he clarified. It's going to be important for Nintendo to make it worth their while. [thanks, GigahurtzUK]