"If you know what you want, you can make it"
Unreal Tournament was -- and still is -- the best multiplayer FPS ever made. No arguments. Its sequels and spinoffs ran the gamut from great to awful, but we've been clamouring for a new successor over the last few years, much as we enjoyed Marcus Fenix' burly brown escapades.
Now it's finally happening. Epic Games have revealed that a new Unreal Tournament title is headed to PC, Mac and Linux, where it will be available to download for... free?
That's right. Free. Not draped in garish adverts or lousy with microtransactions, but properly, completely gratis. Rather than cashing in on misery, Epic intends to develop the game in conjunction with the community and start a new modding revolution - with developers able to sell their wares should they want to.
Here's the plan. Epic Games is going to work directly with the community to create the next Unreal Tournament title, both in terms of suggestions and actual creative input, with full access to the game's source code and editor included with full Unreal Engine 4 engine access for a $19.99 monthly subscription.
Gamers will be able to download play the new shooter for absolutely nothing, while veteran modders, bedroom coders and have-a-go developers can create user content and sweeping modifications (anything from new weapons, maps and gametypes to total conversions), then distribute their creations via the in-game marketplace. If they choose to charge for it, they're welcome to do so.
Naturally Epic Games will make some money off the back of these subscriptions, but their forward-thinking business model is a future investment. Primarily, they're allowing an enormous legion of developers become skilled at using Unreal Engine 4, many of whom will then license the engine to make full games with only 5% royalties. It also puts the engine out there, allows game design students to get on board from the get-go, makes UE4 more ubiquitous and acts as a seriously effective tech demo to boot.
So, in effect, it's going to be a win-win-win situation. We get a free Unreal Tournament game, modders get to strut their stuff and Epic gets paid. So long as the finished product cuts the mustard.
Here's the full announcement video, which was taken from a live Unreal Engine stream. Sound off in the comments!