"People have maybe forgotten about the adrenaline rush of the old school shooters like Quake, Unreal Tournament and, of course, Tribes." Executive producer on upcoming free to play shooter Tribes: Ascend, Todd Harris, misses the twitch shooters of old.
We asked him why he thought they were less popular these days. "I think a lot of it is the multi-platform consideration," he said. "Games have this huge marketing spend so many of these shooters look to go multi-platform, meaning not just the PC but at least two consoles as well."
Todd says controllers don't offer the same freedom of movement as a mouse and keyboard, making it harder for devs to put an emphasis on raw dexterity: "The control scheme on the consoles does limit somewhat the speed and the twitch in which a game can operate – I mean your turn distance is only so far."
"That’s not to say that someone couldn’t make a fast twitch game for those consoles," says Todd, "But it’s easier to go to a lower common denominator - not having to turn as fast, not having to look 360 degrees in an instant - to make more of a hide-and-seek style, corridor-based, tactical shooter," he says.
You should be excited about Tribes. It's superb, and currently in closed beta. Luckily, the latest issue of PC Gamer comes with a beta code and 350 gold - that's enough to unlock a specialist class or pimp out one of you existing ones. Subscribe, or grab your copy of the March issue.
Epic president Mike Capps has been talking to Industry Gamers about the neglected Unreal series, admitting that "we haven't been giving it the attention it deserves because we've been focusing on Gears of War." That doesn't mean we'll never see another Unreal game, however. In fact, Capps says it makes financial sense for Epic to revive the series.
Unreal Tournament 3 was the last game Epic made, released way back in 2007. "It's been a long time since we shipped an Unreal game," admits Capps, "it's an awfully loved franchise that we hold pretty dear here."
"We've been sort of focused on making new properties, which you've seen with Shadow Complex, BulletStorm and Infinity Blade, but sometimes I think just as a businessman that maybe we should be spending some more time with our existing franchises."
A return to Epic's revered core titles would make sense given that Bulletstorm was a financial flop. Capps told Kotaku that People Can Fly's energetic, over the top shooter didn't make any money. That doesn't mean Epic will be dropping the studio, however. "The next thing we do with People Can Fly will be great," says Capps.
As well as developing and publishing games, Epic have been focusing heavily on developing the Unreal engine and licensing it out to third party developers. The Unreal name is starting to seem a little out of date. "At some point you wonder why we don't rename the engine the Gears Engine or something," jokes Capps.
Epic are currently concentrating on finishing Gears of War 3, a series that hasn't been seen on PC since the first outing. Would you like to see another Unreal game?
A shiny new trailer has been released for the indie first person bowl-em-up, The Ball. Read on for a round up of what the game has to offer, as well as the trailer, which is literally full of ball-to-the-wall action.
The Ball started out as a mod for Unreal Tournament 3, and was the runner up in Epic's Make Something Unreal mod competition. The mod's creators formed Teotl Studios and started developing a followup using the freely released Unreal Development Toolkit. Now the standalone retail release is just around the corner, and the team have released a brilliant new trailer showing off the weird aztec vibe, and the dinosaurs, and the giant monkeys, and also the ball itself.
But this is no ordinary ball! Oh, wait, it is, actually, but it just happens respond unusually to your hand held ball manipulation device known only as 'The Ancient Weapon'. You can use the weapon to control the ball and crush your enemies. If the full game is anything like the original mod then mix of puzzles and horribly violent squashing should prove thoroughly abs-orb-ing.
The game's out on October 26th and is available to preorder on Steam right here. The game's being published by former Make Something Unreal competition winners, Tripwire Interactive which is why if you preorder on Steam, you also unlock The Ball's protagonist as a playable character in Tripwire's excellent shooter, Killing Floor.
Finally, if you fancy checking out The Ball's original incarnation as an Unreal Tournament 3 mod, then that's still available for download over at ModDB.