PSU.com talks Unreal Tournament 3 with Epic Games

With Unreal Tournament 3 available now in stores, PSU.com wanted to get in a quick afterthoughts interview with Jim Brown, lead level designer at Epic Games. The interview touches a few topics such as PlayStation Home, online clans, and mod support for the PS3.

PSU: Unless you go all the way back to the original Unreal title, the series has always been known for its multiplayer action. What were some of the deciding factors in adding a complete single-player experience this time around and what are you doing to make sure that it doesn’t feel like offline deathmatch with bots?

Jim Brown: Hey, I had a BLAST playing Unreal 1 multiplayer, too!  That’s what got me into the industry…

We’ve found that a huge portion of our player-base never goes online with UT, and we want them to have just as great an experience as everyone else.  So, to a large degree, we actually do want the Unreal Tournament 3 single player campaign to play like the online multiplayer experience.  Our AI is great, and gives people the ability to have a fantastic experience regardless of their online status.  And don’t forget that you can play the campaign online as well, co-op with up to four people, so the line between online and offline is definitely (intentionally) blurred. 

PSU: What was the main reason behind making Unreal Tournament 3 a timed exclusive on the PS3? Is there an idea yet, to when the Xbox 360 version might be released?

Brown: We’re really excited about the PS3’s open network, and the ability for users to make their own maps and mods and bring them to the PS3 like they’ve been doing with the PC for years.  It means a stream of new content and fun that’s never been available on any other console platform before. Work on shipping the world-wide PS3 version of the game will carry us into the new year so it is far too early to predict a release date for the Xbox 360 version as there is a lot of additional work to do to get that completed.

PSU: Will there be any differences between the versions (PS3, Xbox 360) besides maps/mods?

Brown: Unknown at this time.

PSU: What kind of split-screen modes will be available in Unreal Tournament 3? How many players will be supported, and will it be available for campaign mode or competitive online/offline only?

Brown: The game does not feature split screen support.  Unreal Tournament 3 supports up to 16 players in the multiplayer gametypes, and up to 4 online co-op players in campaign mode.  Either mode can be played online or off, and you can even add AI bots to the online multiplayer to fill out teams or just add more carnage and fun.

PSU: For online matches, will games be running on peer 2 peer or dedicated servers?

Brown: Both.  You can host a game and invite friends to join you online, or run a dedicated server for others to join.

PSU: How exactly do mod creators export their mods from the Unreal Editor to a mod file that works on the PlayStation 3. From my knowledge, there is no “Save As PS3 mod” button in the Unreal Editor.

Brown: There actually is a special button to publish user made content in the editor.  Once your level / mod / mutator is done, you publish your work and the engine “cooks” everything out and prepares the files for distribution.  Then you dump them onto a memory stick and transfer them to the PS3. 

PSU: Will there be clan support in the PlayStation 3 version, and if so, what options will be available?

Brown: The game itself is very clan friendly with tons of team options and team-based game modes.  There’s a slot to keep track of your clan tag that is independent of your online username so you can update without having to change your account, and some good matchmaking and team support options in the UI.

PSU: Are there plans to integrate Unreal Tournament 3 into PlayStation Home?

Brown: There appears to be some great options for trophies, achievements, matchmaking, demos, and distribution of user-made content, just to name a few.  We’re excited to see how things turn out, but it’s a little too early to really anticipate how far we’ll be able to go with it.

PSU: It’s been confirmed that the Unreal Engine 4 is in development. Care to comment on the progression of the engine, what features might be included, or when we might see the first taste of the technology?

Brown: Tim Sweeney is a mastermind, and he’s going to keep you guessing!

PSU: What is the planned release date for Europe?

Brown: We don’t have an exact date yet but we expect it to be early in the new year.

PSU.com would like to thank Jim Brown and Epic Games for the interview. If you are looking for a great fast action FPS this holiday season be sure to pick up Unreal Tournament 3.