Unreal Tournament sequel to be free, collaborative effort

More than six years after the release of Unreal Tournament 3, Epic Games has announced that development has begun on a sequel to the multiplayer shooter. This time, the studio will take the unusual step of making development a collaborate effort, with live source code releases and discussion forums where fans can chime in. Epic's pitch on the announcement page sounds compelling, to say the least:

  • We've created a small team of UT veterans that are beginning work on the project starting today.
  • From the very first line of code, the very first art created and design decision made, development will happen in the open, as a collaboration between Epic, UT fans and UE4 developers. We'll be using forums for discussion, and Twitch streams for regular updates.
  • If you are a fan and you want to participate, create a free account and join the forum discussion.
  • All code and content will be available live to UE4 developers on GitHub.
  • The game will be true to its roots as a competitive FPS.
  • Development will be focused on Windows, Mac and Linux.

As icing on the cake, Epic intends to make the game free—"[n]ot free to play, just free." Instead of charging for the game (or for silly hats), Epic will create a mod marketplace where "developers, modders, artists and gamers can give away, buy and sell mods and content." The studio will then take a cut of revenue from the paid content in that marketplace.

Of course, the new UT won't sprout up overnight. Since development started from scratch, it will take "many months" for the game to reach a playable stage, Epic warns. That should leave plenty of time for fans to have their say in the process, which is probably a good thing.

Yeah, this definitely sounds pretty good to me. Today's news, along with the new licensing model for Unreal Engine 4, tells me Epic hasn't forgotten what PC gaming can bring to amateur developers and modders. I'll be following the development of the new UT with great interest.

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