Sweeney: Unreal Engine 4 Will “Exclusively Target the Next Console Generation”
If there is any one individual to talk to about the Unreal Engine at Epic Games, it’d be CEO and co-founder Tim Sweeney. He chatted with TG Daily recently after declaring that “consoles have definitely left PC games behind,” and while much of it covered technical details that’ll make your head spin, there are some things to take away from the interview.
Let’s talk about your game visions for the future and the next Unreal Engine? Where is EPIC going with the Unreal Engine 3.5 and 4.0?
The Unreal engine is really tied to a console cycle. We will continue to improve Unreal Engine 3 and add significant new features through the end of this console cycle. So, it is normal to expect that we will add new stuff in 2011 and 2012. We’re shipping Gears of War now; we’re just showing the next bunch of major tech upgrades such as soft-body physics, destructible environments and crowds. There is a long life ahead for Unreal Engine 3. Version 4 will exclusively target the next console generation, Microsoft’s successor for the Xbox 360, Sony’s successor for the Playstation 3 – and if Nintendo ships a machine with similar hardware specs, then that also. PCs will follow after that.
Sweeney explained that work is underway on Unreal Engine 4, but that the team currently consists only of him, although that number will grow later this year. As that next console generation approaches, the Unreal Engine 3 team will transition over to working on the new engine. But, Sweeney still fully expects that updates will be made to Unreal Engine 3 three to four years from now.
So while Epic hasn’t exactly abandoned PCs, it’s clear that their focus is going to become increasingly console-centric in the coming years.