I was hoping for Unreal Engine 4 but I guess the latest version of Unreal Engine 3 is more than an upgrade from the first killing floor
We talked about KF2's new gore system (enemies burst apart dynamically in 19 places), blood system (every drop of blood stays on the map for an entire match), and new guns, which live up to Tripwire's reputation for accuracy.
I also spent a good deal of time talking to Tripwire president John Gibson about PC gaming at large—his thoughts on SteamOS and the Steam Controller, Epic's Unreal Engine 4, and Battlefield 4's ongoing issues. As always, he had strong opinions about the present problems and future possibilities of PC gaming. His boldest prediction: almost every PC game will end up on Linux eventually, and PC gaming will thrive as a result.
Wes Fenlon, PC Gamer: Killing Floor 2 runs on Unreal Engine 3. Tripwire started as an Unreal Tournament mod team. I'm curious what you think of Unreal Engine 4 and the announcement they made recently that it's like $19 a month to license it.
John Gibson: I think that's really cool, and it's really smart. What it does for companies like us that use Unreal tech, is it helps ensure that there will be a stream of people that have the skillset in the engine that the pros are using. Typically in the past that kind of came from the mod community, and I think if anybody can pick it up and start using it, start learning it, that's a smart move on Epic's part. When they're selling their game engine they can say hey, there's all these people that know it.
And for independent developers, it gives them a point of entry for developing their games that might not have been there before. Not a lot of indie developers can come up with hundreds of thousands of dollars that it would take to do a standard commercial license of the engine.
PCG: Is SteamOS going to be able to take on Sony and Microsoft? It's one thing to say it can compete against the consoles, but what about Windows? Right now, 100 perfect of Steam games are on Windows, and 10 percent, maybe 5 percent, are on Linux.
JG: It'll be just like when digital took over retail. Steam didn't just turn on one night and then Walmart and Best Buy got freaked out because they weren't selling PC games anymore. It took 2 or 3 years or 4 years. But it did happen, and it happened a little bit at a time. I think that's Valve's strategy. They're taking one step at a time. They know if they try to do a massive leap and go head-to-head right at the outset, they could stumble.
But taking these incremental steps, even Valve says they're not trying to go head-to-head against Microsoft and Sony. And I'm like, "this year." But in five years, or three years, I think that they probably will be going head-to-head with them and probably taking over.
In general, for gaming, I think [Linux] will become like Windows is now. I think every game's going to be on Linux eventually, so almost every game will be on SteamOS. Microsoft's done their best to kill gaming on PC for as long as I can remember. Having an OS that's actually not trying to kill gaming, I think that's going to be very good for games. I think it'll just grow.
Or maybe it won't and we'll put games on some other platform. But I think it has everything going for it. It's Valve's game to lose at this point. I'm very interested to see how it plays out.
For us, we're very much about when new gaming technologies come along, of being there on the forefront. When digital distribution came out, we were right there. When OnLive came out, we were right there. When the Ouya came out, we were there on the Ouya. If it becomes the next big thing, great. Same thing with SteamOS. I think it has an infinitely better chance than Ouya or OnLive.