Atari has announced that a new edition of Unreal Tournament will be out later this year that will be compatible with Unreal Tournament 2003 and will include a bunch of new gameplay modes, new maps, voice chat, and other gameplay enhancements. UT 2004 isn't exactly a sequel or a stand-alone expansion. In addition to the significant features and the multiplayer content in UT 2004, it will also include the original Unreal Tournament 2003 content and the freely downloadable bonus packs released by Digital Extremes and Epic Games earlier this year.
Unreal Tournament 2004 will evolve UT's competitive gameplay with a new onslaught mode. This large-scale team mode will take place on huge outdoor maps, and you can get around them in new land and air vehicles, notably a lethal bomber that you can fly. There are also some new weapons designed specifically for onslaught, including spider mines, which can be useful to defend the control points that teams will fight over. There are nine new maps planned to work with the onslaught mode.
The new game will also bring back assault, a popular UT game mode that didn't make it into UT 2003. But the new assault is said to be a single-player-oriented mode that will take place on the homeworlds of various UT 2004 tournament contestants. The huge battles will feature a variety of land, space, and air vehicles. Some popular characters from past Unreal games will make an appearance in the game: the Skaarj, the Necris, and the infamous Xan Kriegor.
"Unreal Tournament 2004 is the next evolution of the greatest competitive computer game ever created," said Jean-Philippe Agati, senior vice president and general manager of Atari's Los Angeles studio. "The addition of new modes, mods, and maps, as well as the controllable land-, air-, and space-based vehicles, means Unreal fans are getting an entirely new experience featuring devastating vehicular combat and wide-scale warfare."
There are a handful of notable new features in store for the new edition. Perhaps the most significant addition is built-in voice chat that actually takes advantage of 3D audio hardware, so players can hear the shouts of those around them correctly positioned in 3D space. Also new is UnrealTV, a way for games to be broadcast to hundreds of viewers at a time with minimal performance impact on the players. Players should also appreciate the enhanced voting system and the redesigned user interface. UT 2004 will include many smaller tweaks, including improved bots for team games and some cool details like letting players carry dual assault rifles.
Unreal Tournament 2004 is being codeveloped by Epic Games and Digital Extremes. The game is due out this fall.