Unreal Championship is one of the crown jewels in Microsoft's initial online strategy. If the company's plans hold to form, the game will be released alongside the introduction of Microsoft's broadband network services for the Xbox in early 2002. Specific online features haven't been discussed to date, but it is known that the game will let up to 32 players face off online in a single match. A four-player split-screen mode will be available offline. Unreal Championship combines the single-player experience of Unreal II and the multiplayer gameplay of Unreal Tournament into one tight package. Designed specifically for Microsoft's console, the game's control scheme will be adjusted to take full advantage of the Xbox controller and console-specific features such as a double jump, speed pads, vehicular combat, and other unlockable options will be included in the game.
Visually, Unreal Championship is easily one of the most impressive console first-person shooters to date. The final game will run at a blistering 60fps and feature volumetrically lit particle effects; real-time self-shadowing on the characters, weapons, and environments; realistic smoke effects; and high-poly character models with high-resolution textures, among other visual attributes.
Unreal Championship is currently scheduled for release in Q1 2002. Look for more on the game in the coming weeks.