Unreal the 'unofficial engine' of Natal - Rein

Epic Games VP says studio's middleware will fully support Microsoft's camera-based motion-sensing add-on, believes device may be bundled with all new consoles.

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Having provided the Xbox 360 with arguably its first blockbuster hit in Gears of War, Epic Games has maintained a close working relationship with Microsoft. It should come as no surprise, then, that the company that is known as much for its games as its ubiquitous Unreal Engine 3 would be helping to lead the effort in creating games for Microsoft's forthcoming camera-based motion-sensing device, currently known as Project Natal.

There is no escaping the Eye of Natal.

Speaking to XOM UK, Epic vice president Mark Rein confirmed that the Unreal Engine will support Natal development, going so far as to say that the tech is the "unofficial engine" of Microsoft's new peripheral.

"We are going to work with Microsoft to make that available to Unreal Engine licensees who want to make Natal games," Rein said. "So, if you want to make a game on Natal, you want to get a big head start and use the same tech as Microsoft, come talk to me. We are the unofficial engine of Natal, or maybe the official, I don't know. In other words, we consider ourselves the 'economic engine of Natal.' You want to make money with Natal, come talk to us, we'll help you."

Notably, though, Epic has yet to fully sit down with Project Natal for the purpose of creating its own games using the device. "We're just sitting down with them in the next two weeks I think, to bring our studio guys in to have a look. I have no idea what we're going to do from a game standpoint, but from an engine standpoint, it's definitely cool stuff, and we will support it. I think any future Xbox games we make will have some Natal support."

In July, Epic design director Cliff Bleszinski expressed cautious doubt about the studio's Natal support, saying, "We'll take a look at Natal--no promises--but it's likely that the classic control interface is what Epic will be working on in the foreseeable future. But I think there's ways that you could merge the two interfaces and supplement a classic game with Natal controls to make something compelling."

Lastly, Rein also may have inadvertently revealed Microsoft's plans to bundle Project Natal with all new Xbox 360 consoles when the device launches, an event currently expected next year. "I think they said they were going to ship Natal with every Xbox when they actually launch the thing, so everybody will have one," he said. "And then they are going to sell it to everybody who doesn't have one. Or try."

The statement jives with a similar slip maybe by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who said as part of an investor conference that "a new Xbox 360 will hit the store shelves in 2010." Though widely misinterpreted, Ballmer's statement was later clarified by Aaron Greenberg, director of Xbox 360 product management and Xbox Live, who said the comment pertained to Project Natal.

Discussion

360 comments
ztron370
ztron370

I hope that you will be able to play RPG's and shooters using NATAL in some way.

shawise
shawise

I'm just amazed with the new technology, there are so many other applications this technology can be used for.

shawn_mitchel
shawn_mitchel

This is Natal for the X box 360 (Microsoft's first attempt),........they may not really hit the mark with Natal now,but there will be a better or more advanced Natal in the future (when the next generation consoles will be available to the public). Natal will not be able to substitute the game pad and i don't think Microsoft is dreaming or intending to use Natal to substitute Game pads. Those who would like the idea of moving around while playing some games,would find Natal to be fun and a blast for them. For me,........just as i would like to move my body in other to play some games while using Natal,there are times that i would really like to sit down and use a Game pad One thing i think Natal will accomplish and that am really excited about is that it will give the X box 360 a User Interface as seen in the movie "MINORITY REPORT". We saw Tom Cruise interact with the computer with the use of hand gestures alone in that movie.If this Feature becomes a part of the X box 360,it will really be satisfying to me. To conclude this,Microsoft does not intend to replace the Game pads with their upcoming Natal,......they only want to enrich the gaming experience of the MORE DEMANDING GAMERS.

MTMind2
MTMind2

@HerbalVideogame who said "that it's just not possible with the xbox's 3 inch hardware" if i'm being really honest, I have no idea what you mean, especially when crytech's new engine runs equally good on ps3 and 360. perhaps i'm missing the joke? :)

Inconnux
Inconnux

The unreal engine is probably the most licensed engine out there, so making it compatible with Natal seems like a no brainer

HerbalVideogame
HerbalVideogame

The cry engine 2 would be sweet, but, *ahem* we all know, except the box lovers, that it's just not possible with the xbox's 3 inch hardware. wah wah wah wah.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

If Microsoft releases it's own Balance Board, they could release a fitness game using Natal that not only has more potential than Wii Fit, but also prevents people from cheating the system. I'm not a candidate for such a game, but seeing how big of a seller Wii Fit is, I would wager that there is a Natal game in development to try and eat up some of that market share. _

RANDYHOOL123
RANDYHOOL123

i see Natal has alot of potental i think that developers will have fun with it.

tmorri603
tmorri603

I am willing to wait and see what developers can do with Natal before I say it's going to be good or not. I think it has more potental than the Wii controller but the only way it reaches that potental is how good the games are for it.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

At E3 2009 I'm pretty sure they said that Natal would ship with every Xbox 360 when it launched.

bioghost
bioghost

I love Unreal, i wish i can touch that thing, so i can make know how great it is. And for Natal, i believe in you!

calum1984
calum1984

Could work in normal games (hear me out), e.g some controls are missing from the console versions of games compared to pc counterparts, natal can be used "along with" the usual controller to put these moves back into the game. The best example i can come up with is call of duty were the pc version has a lean feature were you can lean around corners the console version does not have that, with the natal they could put it in that when you lean (which some ppl do anyway lol) you lean around the corner in the game.

chacky_chan
chacky_chan

if i wanted to wave my arms about id have bought a wii, dont intergrate natal into games unless they are games only for natal.

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

@daveg1, Actually the Unreal 3.0 is one of the best game engines avaliable. It's primiarily designed for use with the 360 so it fits perfecly here.

firebladedx
firebladedx

Anyone remember flower power (and no not mario) and random stuff like that.... this crap is getting too much, i want to be remembered as the COD, Halo, Gears etc generation, not the jump around waving what appears to be an expensive new toy made of lego.

Trmpt
Trmpt

Does anyone else think this is MS next gen console? I think it is. They would be really stupid to release this as anything other than an entire new NEXT GEN console. If they release it as an optional add-on or put it in with the 360 as a new SKU it will fail..........tremendously. For this to survive it is going to have to be released as an entirely new console so that everyone has Natal from the beginning. MS knows this; they're not stupid.

FiveFist
FiveFist

I think if project natal is used for simple actions, like using it to open doors, access computer terminals etc etc it could be pretty sweet. But i dont think i would wnat to use my hands and fingers to shoot ppl in FPS. But to access buttons, elevators, computers etc etc it could prove to be a pretty cool little feature. But Milo used for RPGS like Fable etc now THAT would be sweet.

mattcake
mattcake

I'm sure some games will utilise Natal in a complete way, but even the most simple of gestures can be useful. I don't want to play an FPS with anything other than the controller, but if the game has a "dodge" option I can use by simply leaning left or right in my chair, or duck/cover system I can toggle just by ducking it will add vastly to the immersion. I used to laugh at my "less geeky" mates for leaning over in their chair as they played driving games for example but it may actually become reality :) To the people saying its a Wii rip off, please go and read what it actually is. It is not a little box of tricks that detects orientation and acceleration like the Wii, its a full body/face skeletal recognition system - I think this first generation of tech will be too laggy/delayed for faster games / more demanding gamers but it's a big step in an interesting direction.

shadowblade34
shadowblade34

Natal is basically a warped version of the nintendo wii, and as we have seen, games are generally crap with things such as this. Only when we have virtual worlds will we be able to have great games

Carpe_Mofo
Carpe_Mofo

I think Natal's success for the hardcore gaming crowd (like myself) will be how they add things in to already existing control schemes. Something like a high tech shooter where your HUD reacts to your eye movements. If someone is off in the distance maybe if you happen to glance at them and squint it could zoom in a little on them. Motion tracking of your eyes for assisted movement. When making weapon load outs in a game like Modern Warfare you could simply 'pick up' the weapon and place it in your inventory. That kind of thing. If done with a little thought and subtlety, this will be good for hardcore gamers too.

Megamanx266
Megamanx266

@MTMind2 I agree that Natals main success will be how it gets combined with the standard controller... the problem with the PS3's offering is that it replaces their current controller (Though I think there might be some buttons on it like the Wii controller), almost becoming a rip-off of the Wii remote. What I like about microsofts offering for motion control is that not only is it just motion control, but it can still be used in tandom with pretty much anything.

MTMind2
MTMind2

@ jpsaply "How will they accomplish this with out any physical controller and how would you move your character in the direction you need to so that you can avoid oncoming fire?" one answer: use Natal with the standard controller. there's an assumption amongst many that Natal replaces the standard controller, but this is not necessarily the case, since Natal can be used to suppliment the controller. hence for hardcore genres, like FPSs, players may use the standard controller as usual, but with Natal to add extra functionality, such as head tracking (great for racing, hence PSEye will be used in GT5 for this purpose), hand/voice commands, leaning (around corners), user interface enhancements, etc. I'm sure others can think of more ideas, but imo, the strength of Natal for hardcore genres will be when used in combination with the 360's standard controller (which also makes it easier for devs to cater for gamers with and without Natal), rather than to use Natal on it's own. we'll see.

daveg1
daveg1

they need something beeter than that dated engine..

jpsaply
jpsaply

@ kavadias1981 Not sure it will be the greatest thing ever, but if things are done right, I think it will be a fun tool. But time will tell. The Wii is a fun console for motion games, especially some shooters like Metroid Trilogy. But if MS can implement an almost flawless way to make a FPS work, then I will definitly will be on board. Graphics + great control system + Great Game, will = Fun (if done right). But then the question comes up, "How will they accomplish this with out any physical controller and how would you move your character in the direction you need to so that you can avoid oncoming fire?"

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Just out of curiosity, why is it the "greatest thing ever!" that the 360 and PS3 are going to have games with motion controls? I mean, this doesn't feel particularly new to me, I dunno, maybe it's the fact that we have been playing motion sensing games on the Wii for almost 3 years. We all know how it works. It is amazing for about 5 minutes (not literally 5 minutes of course) and then the novelty wears off. How are these two "new" methods of control going to hold our attention in the long term and not just be another gimmick?

brian_13un
brian_13un

That is Interesting pretty great ^_^

backatcha
backatcha

Moneysoft appears to be poised for success, though both Sony and Microsoft run the risk of simply being Wii rip-offs. I am very interested in how developers incorporate motion control without it feeling tacked on. I think motion control's success is directly linked to how well 3rd parties push the boundaries.

StarlightHunter
StarlightHunter

A lot of game genres would really benifit from NATAL. Racing games are a main one. I wonder what games MS will publish that fully untilize this technology.

Excedra
Excedra

360 rules......i have faith in this natal thingy, people who are against this tech is obviously a fanboy, or a ms hater. well whatever, this tech is gonna rule, cuz its awesome....

razgriz_101
razgriz_101

Strange choice you would think they would make a new engine more geared towards Nartal's mechanics and various other things.But UE3's become the staple of the 360's main engine choice for games so tweaking it to work with natal's prolly going to work out better for devs than a totally new engine. Although im a little sceptical of the results tbh as its just adaptation and i think it might not be as specialised for this specific task although i may be wrong.

rgame1
rgame1

wow, 3 years ago it was like "wii = motion fail" and all of a sudden now its motion revolution? Just wow, this gen has been full of surprises.

Weddum
Weddum

How is that a surprise? UE3 has been and always will be the most used engine until the next generation of games. Most people use it and are used to it, so there is no need to change. I admit I am quite bored of the look of it though, every game using it offers very little in term of visual variety. At least it performs well though.

cccp1988
cccp1988

"BloodMist:" they ugly near Sonys ex games: KIllzone 2 Uncharted 1,2 MGS4... they all looking way better, Bioshok ,Batman(+GeoW1,2;Mass Effect1,2) they are both strong Multi platform titles( graphically ) but only multi platform

cccp1988
cccp1988

past gen engine whit natal lol nice love XD

pedrovieira1
pedrovieira1

Natal will be good, won't be a revolution but it will be fun for some people. Waiting for the launch, until then I'll go grab, fifa 10, forza 3, cod6, etc!

LeeSan420
LeeSan420

who really wants this? im a big tine nintendo fan and the wii sucks, and ps3 with the wand? this crap will ruin hardcore for all of us. how the **** are u going 2 do a contra code with your hands waling away like a db... if i want to exersice ill go skate... this is retarted all the motion sensor cap is stupid IMO (been playing since atri 2600 and i like it that way).

astro_viper
astro_viper

If natal eventually does launch, I wouldn't be suprised by the discovery that natal is really an acronym for Noticably All Talk After Launch... Good idea, but I'd rather go paintballing that destroy my flat panel for a rather expensive (yet suprisingly cheap) thrill...I'm still not convinced that AI has reached such a point that we can do away with all buttons. Pretty sure natal will prove to be more frustrating and infuriating than its novelity factor allows for. Just my two cents...

Petercairns
Petercairns

new xbox console...the games and Natal better work on my old console!!

BloodMist
BloodMist

@Hermoua Yeah, play Batman AA or Bioshock and tell me they look ugly.And also tell me, you're not a graphics whore.You'll be wrong on all counts.

Heromoua
Heromoua

The Unreal engine is pretty much dated by now. It looks very ugly, and just doesn't keep up with other games right now. Really can't compare it to Euphoria nor the Havoc, and it really can't compare the the physics handled by the PS3 as seen in Uncharted and Littlebigplanet.

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Unreal: The official engine of three years ago.

maaly81
maaly81

an HD Resident evil may work but only with some sort of Wii type remote......I want to see the bottom line though. How much will it costs?...how many developers are on board??...How many games at launch???....and the thorough tests results on equipment failure rates???..nobody wants another couple hundred dollar problem

penpusher
penpusher

@ColdfireTrilogy Point taken, but you never know natal might turn out to be a good thing for the 360 I mean there are a massive amount of games that make excellent use of the wii controls and devs might be able to use natal to spice things up on the console. I'm slightly sceptical to be honest but lets face it the 360 is going to need some kind of boost if its to compete with the ps3 in the next few years since the ps3's massive processing power is looking like it may start providing an edge.

jagus12
jagus12

Good that they're using is as a peripheral to get a more in-depth experience than as full controller... Personally, I think the game that should get "natalized" is Rainbow Six: Vegas 3, to lean through the corner by leaning yourself or raise your fist to tell your teammates to hold their position would be awesome...