In October 2003, Atari announced that Unreal Tournament 2004 had been delayed...until 2004. Though it was originally slated for a February release, the latest installment in Epic Games' wildly popular PC shooter didn't make it to market until mid-March.
Now it appears that this year, Unreal fans will be feeling a sense of déjà vu vis-à-vis the latest installment in the series. Today, representatives for Midway Games, which took over Unreal publishing duties from Atari in July 2004, announced that Unreal Tournament 2007 will not be released in time for the 2006 holiday season.
"Right now, UT 2007 (PC) is slated to hit in the first half of 2007," the spokesperson told GameSpot. When it was announced in May 2005, the game had a broad "2006" release date.
While frustrating for those hoping for an egg-nog-fueled yuletide fragfest, the delay will hopefully allow Epic to fine-tune UT 2007's gameplay much like it did with its predecessor. When UT 2004 finally did ship, it was one of the most critically acclaimed PC titles of the year. Since then, it has become one of the most popular PC shooters on the market and has been a prime draw at many gaming tournaments.
As for the PlayStation 3 version of Unreal Tournament 2007, its ship date remains undetermined. Interestingly, though, Midway's response did not mention the PlayStation 3 version by name. "The next gen version(s) [of UT2007] have yet to be tagged with an exact ship date yet." Earlier this year, PSM magazine had claimed that UT 2007 would be a launch title for the PS3, which goes on sale in the US on November 17.
When asked if the mention of multiple next-gen editions meant UT 2007 might be coming to the Xbox 360, the rep demurred, saying, "Nothing is yet confirmed ... [but] I would say that your assumption is relatively plausible." At the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006, Midway CEO David Zucker said the game was being released for "for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3," but the company has subsequently refused to confirm the game is coming to Microsoft's platform.
Speaking of the 360, UT 2007's delay means the sole release from Epic this year will be for the next-gen console. Gears of War, Epic's third-person sci-fi/horror shooter, is scheduled for a holiday 2006 release--for now, anyway. A "big announcement" regarding the game is expected later this week.