After a teasing tweet last week, Epic Games has confirmed that their genre-defining arena shooter, Unreal Tournament, is coming back, and it will be free. That’s not free-to-play, with all the best gameplay walled off behind a swarm of microtransactions, but free. The last game in the series was 2007’s Unreal Tournament 3. True to Epic’s roots, development is primarily focused on PC, Mac, and Linux, with other platforms to follow. That list could include development for VR on Oculus and Sony’s Project Morpheus as well, for which the developers will also share their initiatives today on the Twitch livestream announcement at 11am PT / 2pm ET.
The game is being developed now by a small team of UT veterans in an entirely open process with fans through forums and regular Twitch streams. All code and content will be available for developers on GitHub. “We know that you have great ideas and strong opinions about where the game should go and what it should be” Epic said in the post. “So let’s do something radical and make this game together, in the open, and for all of us.” Epic also just made public their roadmap for Unreal Engine 4, meaning that they are really going all-in for this commitment openness.
Epic plans to add a marketplace where developers, modders, artists, and gamers can give away, buy, and sell mods and content for the game, similar to what Valve has done with Team Fortress 2. Earnings from the marketplace will be split between the mod/content creator and Epic, in order to recoup development costs. By giving creative agency to the community and sharing the profits, this creates a much more palatable variant of the free-to-play model of sustaining a game through a steady stream of small transactions rather than a single, large purchase.
Development has literally just begun from scratch, so we’re months away from anything playable, but you can expect a steady stream of information as they get into it.