Unreal Tournament III Hands-On - A Name Change, New Platform, and Multiplayer Carnage

Epic Games and Midway reveal some major developments in the next Unreal Tournament, then let us control some awesome new vehicles in combat.

LAS VEGAS--Epic Games and Midway dropped a couple of major announcements regarding Unreal Tournament 2007 during Midway's Gamers' Day in Las Vegas. For one, it's no longer called Unreal Tournament 2007. Instead, the much-anticipated first-person shooter is now called Unreal Tournament III. Why the change? As Epic vice president Mark Rein explained, it's the third generation of Unreal Tournament that uses the third generation of the Unreal engine technology. The "III" is also appropriate considering that the game is also now going to be released on three platforms. That's right. Unreal Tournament III is no longer a PlayStation 3 and PC exclusive. The game is now being made for the Xbox 360 as well, which isn't too surprising, considering that Epic has garnered a gigantic following thanks to last year's Xbox 360 megahit Gears of War.

Oh yeah, and Epic brought along the PC version of the game for us to play, and, quite simply, it plays as well as it looks--and it looks absolutely fantastic.

There's going to be much more of a single-player element to Unreal Tournament III than in the previous iterations of the series, which were always primarily multiplayer focused. As Rein and producer Jeff Morris explained, the single-player story won't be anywhere on the level of Gears of War, but it will offer up some backstory to what goes on in the game. The fiction in the original Unreal Tournament set up the series as, basically, the Super Bowl of the future. In order to keep dissatisfied miners happy, the ruling megacorporations set up combat tournaments to serve as entertainment. Fast-forward 50 years or so later, and you'll play as a young man trying to get revenge on the corporations that killed your family. The only problem is, midway through your quest the Necris Black Legion, a sort of undead race invades, and then the fight is really on.

We got to play in a multiplayer match on the level called corruption, which is set in a mountainous valley filled with Asian-themed architectural structures. The mode was capture the flag, and there was vehicle as well as good, old-fashioned on-foot combat. The two sides were the Necris and the Izanagi Corporation, one of the megacorporations in the game, though the Izanagi used Axon Corporation vehicles, which are the basic default for the corporations. These included the manta, which is a hoverbike; the hellbender, a futuristic all-wheel drive transport; and the goliath, a heavy tank. Those were all fairly conventional in design and look like futuristic version of today's vehicles.

The Necris, on the other hand, have some really sinister vehicles at their disposal. The viper is a mix between a hoverbike and a tricycle. Then there's the nemesis, which is like a tank, only the turret can rise up like a praying mantis. But the really awesome Necris unit is the dark-walker, which is a tripod war machine that looks like something straight out of War of the Worlds. It's even armed with a devastating heat-ray-like beam attack. It's downright fun to pilot a dark-walker, but even if you're not lucky enough to be at the controls, you can sit back and gaze as it strides across the landscape laying waste to everything. We even ran beneath one and watched as the tentaclelike legs planted themselves around us. The other side didn't have a comparable vehicle to the dark-walker, though it was later explained to us that Epic is keeping that possibility a secret for now.

The action that resulted was fast and furious as vehicles and infantry clashed in a desperate race to capture the enemy's flag and return it to base. Many of the infantry weapons are derived from previous Unreal Tournament games. There's the blob-firing biorifle, the link gun (which has an alternate fire mode that's useful for repairing friendly vehicles), the shard-firing stinger, the flak cannon, and, of course, the rocket launcher. It's always fun to blast someone, of course, but there were also plenty of kills that were the result of someone in a vehicle running other players over or smashing them against the side of a cliff.

Not enough can be said for the visuals. The game looks spectacular, and it's quite possibly the best Unreal Engine 3 game that we've seen to date. Considering that this list includes last year's Gears of War, that's high praise indeed. The rocky terrain looks rugged and jagged, while the character and vehicle models are just incredible. The action remained incredibly smooth, even in the biggest battle, though we were playing on high-end PCs. Epic plans, of course, to give PC players the option to tweak the visuals as much as they want for the best frame rate. The console versions won't have that problem, from what we saw. Unreal Tournament III looks great, and we can't wait for it to ship. However, in classic Epic style, no release date has been announced, as the game is done "when it's done." Though Epic is hoping to get it out sometime in the second half of the year, if the company feels it needs to delay the game, it won't hesitate to do so.

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Discussion

399 comments
giglebits
giglebits

the ps3 unreal is awsome it looks great .. and there alot more you can do but i am 360 hands down .. hope they make it more better then ps3 version

silva800
silva800

woa i thought the graphics from gears of war was the best the unreal engine 3 could do and these ppl say ut3 looks even better?? daaaaaamn im so getting this one for that besides being a classic fps

Turbo-Evil
Turbo-Evil

They had better include bots in splitscreen multiplayer *shakes fist at Gears of War* Seriously, I'm too much of a tight-a** to buy a Gold subscription, and its annoying when you can only have 2 players fighting each other.

LFXFox
LFXFox

UT 2004 consumed a huge portion of my life and I can already forsee my life being sucked away by this game as well. I can't wait.

sephiroth_4
sephiroth_4

This game is not about looks, but deeeeeeum. I hope 360 gets kb/mouse support also, but the I can live with the controller setup. I really don't want to buy a ps3 or pc. But then again, that Wipeout for ps3 looks mighty fine also! lol

cesarblue
cesarblue

The unreal tournament has always been multiplayer shooter, but if they can put a single player campaign in here I will cop it, although i don't like halo i think all games should have a single player mode which should be the meat of the game and a multiplayer for online and lan party's this has so much potential with the single play Mass effect is still going to be the best game ever in my view come check my blog www.myspace.com/prophetschasinpaper

acecs1989
acecs1989

We will see which console it looks better on between the 360 and ps3 when it comes out for the 360 a few months AFTER its release on the ps3. The few months will give them the chance to optimize it for the 360. Nonetheless i am certain it will look highly amazing on both systems and unbelievably amazing on PC.

wdmalik
wdmalik

Can't wait anymore .. gonna be awesome ... sure :)

MisterH_Ian
MisterH_Ian

This game will prove that any fanboy who claims "The PS3 couldn't handle graphics like GoW" is absolutely retarded. Get a clue fanboy's, UT3 was coded from the ground up for all systems, the same cannot be said for Ubisoft's **** R6: Vegas. If you want good gaming, save up some cash and buy both systems, otherwise STFU already.

ShadowUltra
ShadowUltra

Omg, each time I see anything new about the game and read the new articles with descriptions, I get all boiled up and want the game so bad.... Just like now.

Icarusmk3
Icarusmk3

Can't wait for this. Probably cough up another 200-300 for a video card upgrade just for this and Crysis.

wars45
wars45

want this gamme now

Kevdog1976
Kevdog1976

You can't go wrong with the Unreal Tournament series!!! For you other PS3 owners out there, in the meantime, get Resistance: Fall of Man. It probably won't be as good as the nest UT title but it can keep you occupied in the meantime. Long Live Sony!!!

Draco-x5
Draco-x5

o hell yeh I can't wait!

Guitus
Guitus

I can't wait for this new UT to come out. I sure hope it will be as awesome as his predecessors. Let's hope they get this new graphics and physics system to work as good as they say it will.

lionel_k
lionel_k

Whooo this game will rock!!!!

Staryoshi87
Staryoshi87

I recently spent 2500 or so on a PC, and my 360 has been collecting dust as a result =P So has my Wii for that matter... I'm reinstalling 2k4 as I type....I can't wait for this game :)

trey555555
trey555555

i agree with falldragon...they are poor mans gaming platform...i eat money for breakfest and i own both a 2,500$ comp and a 360...but guess what...the 360 hasnt been turned on in over two months, cause its not as fun as a pc...and the pc supports more online players then consoles

Snooperman21
Snooperman21

Yea cant wait anyone who doesnt get this game is a ho fo sho!

aqua665
aqua665

dude this game is goin to pwn all shooters now where did i put that flakcannon...ah thats right i left it in the levithan

trojanlax12
trojanlax12

Get Shadowsouled...GET AN XBOX360. They're better and cheaper. Anways, does anyone know if tis game will have melee combat in it such as the Unreal Championship game for the original xbox?

Shadowsouled
Shadowsouled

Argh! I don't want to buy a PS3! Only it's looking more and more like I'm going to have to some day. Stupid money and not being in my wallet.

SeriousSean
SeriousSean

honey...pass me the flak cannon can't wait

kexet
kexet

why change the name from unreal tournament 2007 to unreal tournament 3?

pixelsword
pixelsword

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Warlock89
Warlock89

g3n3r41xan . How can a game get "Even more perfect?" Lmao. Anyways, I want it as soon as posible, from what I've seen. I'd still have fun with it, even if it were released in a few months. But w/e.

cobalt_church
cobalt_church

I can Not wait for the next Installment of Unreal Tournament!

daniel665
daniel665

As for pc gamimg i have a fairly decent pc which i use for civilisation, manager games and odd shooter (not necessary anymore.) The fact is consoles mean that every one is on a level playing field which makes online so competitive and fun. on computers people have cheat codes different this differnet that which means that i have found counterstrike on the whole frustrating. I for one am glad that online gaming has arrived on consoles as now there will be more games to play online and the only thing seprating people will be their skill level which i think is the way it was always mean't to be.

daniel665
daniel665

can't wait this is gonna be immense. This and assasins creed were the only reason i wanted a ps3 this year and now i can enjoy all the top games this year on my 360 and soon to have wii. Result

g3n3r41xan
g3n3r41xan

i dont mind at all if epic releases this game at the end of the year, its good that they take their time to make the game even more perfect, unlike EA which always releases crap and buggy games.

mojahid_1st
mojahid_1st

call me a poor man... i love my 360...

winnerjay
winnerjay

who the hell gives a crap. "poor man's gaming platform" jesus.. well have fun with your $2500 PC ill be playing on my $400 360. now im no "poor man" but i just have better things to spend $2500 on.. like living... regardless. whos to say you get more enjoyment out of a certain medium over another. ill have plenty of fun on 360 with UTIII granted id like a mouse and key but the game will be awesome for all platforms

winnerjay
winnerjay

who the hell gives a crap. "poor man's gaming platform" jesus.. well have fun with your $2500 PC ill be playing on my $400 360. now im no "poor man" but i just have better things to spend $2500 on.. like living... regardless. whos to say you get more enjoyment out of a certain medium over another. ill have plenty of fun on 360 with UTIII granted id like a mouse and key but the game will be awesome for all platforms

Rob_Royale
Rob_Royale

Well for consoles to be the "poor man's gaming platform" they sure do garner a lot of attention. Besides the WOW:Burning Crusade how many PC games get midnight sale runs and concert-packed lines. Sure ultra high-end PCs will always perform better than consoles but you have to pay for every graphic effect you get. Lets see do i want realistic water, snow, shadows, and lighting etc for free or do i wish to shell out $500+ just to make my electronic mountainside look "more realistic" than your electronic mountainside. PC's have their place as FPS, MMORPG, and RTS gaming powerhouses true enough but what made this industry rich and consistently sustains it are those lowly "poor man's gaming platforms"

FallDragon
FallDragon

Saying Xbox360 is still more powerful than the highest-end PC hardware says that you have absolutely no knowledge concerning how a PC works and how an Xbox360 works. Simply crunch the numbers, high end gaming PC rigs can run upwards of $2500, while 360 runs $400 and yes, you get what you pay for. I just got my PC upgraded to a mid-high range graphics card without crossfire, and it produces the same visuals as a 360 (or even better, if you consider monitor resolution). High end rigs are undoubtedly more powerful than a 360. Just the fact alone that a 360 only has 512 MB of Ram is holding it back quite a bit. Talk about needing to use lower texture resolutions compared to the 2 Gigs+ of RAM a PC can use. Ehkru, consoles are the poor man's gaming platform, period. Sure there are rich people playing on consoles, but that doesn't mean that it's expensive hardware. It's cheap hardware, and has it's benefits as far as the number of games released and level of user friendliness, which is why I own consoles myself. But it is, without a doubt, the cheapest platform to play games on. As for online content, consoles are hardly going to have the equivalent of PC users this cycle even with Xbox live, etc. PC users have access to endless applications, graphics programs, programming tools etc, to make user content. Console users are stuck with whatever the dev's decide to stick on the disc for them to use, if anything. PC is going to have the definite edge in this category for a long time coming.

Ehkru
Ehkru

I really don't think all this arguing and ego stroking about the size of your PC is necessary. Consoles are certainly not the "poor man's" gaming platform. Tell that to the MLG players earning $250,000 for playing on, surprise surprise, consoles. You're also not at liberty to decide if this fellow has a good education and a good job, or not. For all you know, he may have higher grades and a better paying job than you do. Personal attacks don't make you look big, they make you look arrogant. On the map and custom content issue, if you've been keeping up to date, it has been said that Epic are in talks with Sony and Microsoft about bringing user made content to the consoles, which is certainly possible thanks to microtransactions and specifically "Live Anywhere" between Xbox 360 consoles and PCs. There is also a very distinct probability that with the XNA Club, Epic could release a version of UnrealEd for Xbox 360 owners to make custom content on their Xbox 360s. Yes, this is all speculation and what I personally, hope happens. However, it is also common sense from a business point of view and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens. So let's try and keep it civil, shall we chaps?

deathside
deathside

you make me laugh Mistwaver1985 ....Not to mention, even today, the Xbox 360 is still more powerful than the highest-end PC hardware... hmmm i would not say that buddy. ive got a quad core, 4gb ddr2, 2x 8800gts, and iram HD. hmmmm. this would eat ps3 and xbox 360 for breakfast. anyday any time. consoles are a poor mans gaming platform..... GET A GOOD JOB. maybe you should have studied more than playing games and you wouldn't be in this situation. sorry about the bad english... dutch - french and then english. sometimes i think the world is going to ideocracy !

Skiggy80
Skiggy80

This is another sad case that the PS3 will barely have any exclusives. This gen, its going to be the other way around, where the 360 has all the games and the ps3 doesnt. MGS4 will be on 360, and I'll bet you that DMC4 will also be on 360. I read in EGM, that MGS4 and DMC4 may not be exclusive to Sony and if they are, they wont come out until 2008.

ppau08223
ppau08223

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

rodd76dog
rodd76dog

will unreal 3 look better on the xbox360 or ps3

danielcwc
danielcwc

I really hope this time I will be able to use all the great guns i used before in UT tournament. I really miss some of them when I play UT2004. And I really hope more people would try out UT3 when it comes out. Seriously, it's a great multiplayer game. But without anyone playing? what kind of multiplayer game is it? SO BUY IT AND TRY IT. I am sure you will love it.

MiltoxBeyond
MiltoxBeyond

lol cs 1.6 sucks... it prolly won't be better than halo 3 story wise..but the UE3 has shown some awesomeness...the level of detail in that engine would mean some awesome special effects and extra gruesome deaths (i.e. GoW's dismembered parts after a chainsaw kill). Plus they'll prolly bring over custom content from the players (not nearly as much as what's available for pc) with or without a fee...up to the developers of course

geeeeze
geeeeze

hell no halo 3 is the besteeeeeeestestest shooter there ever was and will b

jbeasly
jbeasly

Looks great I wander if it will run on my pc I hope it does, I will also get it for the 360 as well. Im betting it will be even better than Halo 3. And if anybody has a problem with me saying that go to hell.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

yes but .... you forgot the fact that their is VERY LITTLE CUSTOM CONTENT ON A CONSOLE, the thing that makes games like CS and UT great on the PCs is the insance ammount of user developed content including the thousands of maps that people release that are just amazing and the new modes skins etc. SO YA maybe u DONT need to worry about graphics but 8 years from its developement people are still playing UT classic, i dont think the same will be of GoW or Unreal Championship, why? because after 1000000 rounds of the same 30 or so maps anygame loses its touch, in counterstrike 1.6 i have close to 7 thousand maps on my server. Heck everyday is a new day .... so gg have fun playing ur 30 maps ill turn my graphics down and get my 5k maps and cooler skins and modes. :P