test UT2004 article
I have created the following article to serve a number of purposes. First and foremost I wish to dispel a lot of what's been circulating in the UT "rumor mill" which is, by and large, conjecture, by providing some solid proof of what is known about the game to date. There is a lot more information out there, but you really have to dig to find it and usually you get 1 or 2 pictures with an interview that makes vague suggestions. Furthermore I wish to allay some of the fears seen in both camps - you know the two I'm referring to.. ..and if you don't, I'll just come out and say it - there's a (sometimes not so) clear divide between diehard fans of the original Unreal Tournament game and its two successors, mainly UT2004 which is the latest of the series. While I have played UT2004 for the past 3 years and enjoy it, indeed I must confess I have much more of a soft spot for the former, and not surprisingly it is the case for a lot of people. The big question being asked by some of the newer crowd on the other hand, is "isn't a 'return to UT' nothing more than some nostalgic pipe-dream? Is it really what the series needs?"
To understand why this question is being asked, you must first understand how the focus of UT changed in UT2004, and how new gametypes further widened the gap between the schools of thought which UT2003 began. On top of arguing about weapons, movement, and the new "cartooniness" of the universe people now argued about vehicular warfare. The player scale issue seemed even more noticeable, with the vast outdoor landscapes that often led to fights taking place over a distance of hundreds of feet instead of toe-to-toe. And it is hard to argue the results. Interest in the series has waned, as to the general player pop the original game is rather outdated by now, and the newer games have obviously not caught on for most. But for a small group of dedicated players, the changes are an improvement. Clearly, some compromises must be made.
The problem, in a word, is cohesion. This is what Epic Games has been taking the better part of 3 years to create. A game that brings the series together as well as moves it forward. It is easy to become the pessimist, and say they don't care, but I'm becoming pretty convinced that they are doing a rather good job. In addition to playing both casually and competitively in all 3 UT series games since the year 2000, for the past 2 years I have been lead developer of the Unreal Tournament Revolution mod for UT2004, which faces a somewhat similar challenge. So I know a lot about what Epic has to deal with - satisfying rabidly hardcore UT players who pay attention to EVERY detail. But the great/funny/ironic thing is, I'm one of them. I know these games inside and out and have often been vocal in expressing my views about the games. I have tried to do so in a mature manner as I expect a game developer would be more inclined to listen to that. Part of the frustration that comes with being dedicated to a game but not directly involved in its development, is not knowing whether your input, which you'd like to think has some value, is even being read. I think that is something a lot of people feel. So I'd like to encourage people to simply express their views, be calm, be patient, and it might pay off. Because whether by mere coincidence or not, several of my suggestions seem to have actually found their way into the new game, in uncanny detail.
So without further boring you, let's begin to take a look at some footage taken somewhere in the middle of UT2007's development cycle. I have personally taken and compiled these screen captures from the HD trailer, to highlight some details most people have not yet seen, and I will give some commentary which I hope will prove a worthwhile read, and maybe even encourage Epic that they're taking things in the right direction. I will, however also take the opportunity to make a few minor criticisms/recommendations. Note: you can click each of the following pictures for higher res versions.