Frankly, the Unreal Tournament series has just about everything in it we could ask for in life. It's got big guns, fast cars, sumptuous curves and all the tools you could possibly need for insane multiplayer destruction. Clearly, we're not the only ones who feel this way either, with Unreal Tournament 2007, the fourth proper game in the franchise, loitering in the wings, ready to whip off its shirt and impress the ladies with its 'massive enhancements'.
Read on as we probe Epic Games' Jeff Morris, producer on Unreal Tournament 2007 to find out exactly what's in store for PC gamers when the game hits shelves next year.
How is the new Unreal Warfare multiplayer game type shaping up?
Even though I've been playing games for over 25 years, I don't care much about jump height, ammo, reload time between shots, stuff like that - but for hardcore deathmatch guys, that's the cutting-edge of the new Assault-meets-Onslaught mode Warfare. As for influences, we love Battlefield, for that huge epic war feel, but that game is very rough on new players - it's easy to choose the wrong spawn point, for example. So what we're trying to do is balance something in the Unreal Warfare mode that appeals to everyone.
Will there be a host of new mutators in UT2007?
Rather than having the 30 mutators that were in UT2004, where only some were good like Instagib, we're gonna reduce the number of mutators and make sure that the ones we put in there are fun, balanced and can interact with each other. We may also explore classes from a mutator point of view for the Skaarj, Robots, Humans and Necros.
How much playtesting for UT2007 goes on at Epic?
We playtest it every day. Playtesting early in production can sometimes be a challenge because it's ugly or doesn't run well, but what we do is catch little movement things. For example, we felt that the Manta craft was flying too low and conforming to the terrain too much, which was kinda nauseating. We raised the Manta up slightly, so now you feel really good when you're flying around, and when you jump, you feel like you're jumping. You have to have vehicles that are fun to drive even if there's nothing else going on.
Will the different UT races have different vehicles?
All of our 18 vehicles are going to be radically different - there'll be a main armoured battle tank-style vehicle on both teams, for example, but they're not going to be the same. They'll feel different, and have individual weapons.
What about the command structure in Warfare?
We're working on the idea that maybe there isn't an overall commander, but each bunker has its own. If there's no commander, then everything's fine - we have AI commanders up and running - but if somebody wants to go in there and put up a shield because they know an attack's coming, then that's something they could do. Also, we've discovered that running around the bunkers is great fun for deathmatches, so we're thinking of
having all of these different Assault-style nodes that work like switches for various defences, such as gun turrets or mines. You'll be able to configure how the base defends itself.
Any other cool additions to UT2007?
Terrain transformation. We realized early on that nobody knew where the bunker's sensor range for the minimap started and stopped. Now, if you're on the border of enemy territory you'll know it, because you'll see lush green grass on your good side, and black and deformed earth on the enemy side. Nobody's really done that in an FPS before, although it's pretty common in RTS games such as Black & White.