It’s official, Epic Games will be making Unreal Tournament 4. Generally speaking, the Pro Unreal community is interested and excited. For several years the PC FPS gaming community has been fed with rinse and repeat realistic shooters. The craving for an innovative, sci-fi, competitive shooter has been unbearable. Hopefully Epic Games has what it takes to satisfy the community.
With that said, I list to you below the three most important keys to make Unreal Tournament 4 a success.
Receive Consultation from the Competitive Community.
This is the most crucial and important key of the list, so it has been placed at the top. The Pro Unreal gaming community still exists today. It has actively been involved in Unreal Tournament gaming leagues since the start of Unreal Tournament. Click here to see for yourself.
While Epic games certainly has a skilled development staff and does a lot of things right, they have one major flaw. They put the thoughts and opinions from the competitive community on the backburner and seem to interact more with the casual gamer. This is a major flaw for several reasons.
- The casual gamer will be around for a month and then they are on to the next game.
- You alienate yourself from the core community. Failing to receive support from this community will result in a publicity nightmare.
- You are ignoring competitive gamers who have YEARS of experience competing in leagues and tournaments.
In the past, Epic Games has encouraged the competitive community to participate on their forums. The problem with this concept is that such posts get drowned by non-competitive players. So the original topic simply turns into a big argument which always results in the opposite of a productive conversation.
This time around, we encourage Epic Games to visit the ProUnreal forums and communicate with a few of our top players to get insight on what we want to see from a “pro gamer” point of view. iD Software did this very thing when making Quake 3. They would consult with the top Quake 2 players during the development process by flying them out for in person conversations. We hope Epic Games takes a similar stance while working on Unreal Tournament 4.
Give Server Admins Options
There are three eras of Unreal Tournament. Unreal Tournament, UT2003/2004, and Unreal Tournament 3. While all three of these games have similarities, they are also very different. The one that stands out as being the most different from the bunch is UT2003/UT2004.
We can all agree that Unreal Tournament 99 was a major success in the world of competitive gaming. The longevity of the game is proof (14 years of UT99 competitions and counting). UT2004 was also successful, but in a different way. It didn’t hit the heart of the core ProUnreal fan base, but it did reach a broader community when it introduced vehicle based mods such as vCTF and Onslaught. Unreal Tournament 3, while it had loads of potential, was simply an unfinished game. It was unfortunate, because the 50 Cal 1v1 Beta Demo tournament had the Pro Unreal competitive juices flowing!
Because all three of these games were different, the competitive community became HARSHLY split on what type of settings should be used in a competitive environment. This mostly existed in the CTF communities between UT99 and UT2004. In UT99, we grew accustomed to a variety of game mechanics that weren’t included in UT2004. Such things as launching your teammate far across the map by shooting them with 6 rockets, dropping flags out of windows, telepunting your translocator, piston launching teammates, dodge piston jumping, combo launching, piston boot jumps, and the list goes on. These game mechanics (while mostly being indirectly included in the game) were mostly purposely removed from UT2004 while a bunch of different “features” were added to the games (collecting pills to use for adrenaline combos, double dodging, wall dodging, shield gun, etc…). This left a bad taste in the mouths of core UT99 players because the game was not a proper sequel. In fact, it felt foreign. So what happened at that point was an immediate split in the community. Half of the community went to UT2004 while the other half stayed with UT99. This is something you DON’T want to happen with Unreal Tournament 4. The ultimate goal is to bring EVERYBODY in. How do you do this? Give server admins OPTIONS!
By giving server admins options to setup a server according to the competitive settings they have grown accustomed to over years of competition, this ensures that both communities have the opportunity to play the game in a way that they will enjoy. A good example is the translocator. The UT99 community like their translocator. It’s the absolute CORE of the UT99 CTF experience. They want the speed, trajectory, and fragging experience to be as similar to UT99 as possible. Most importantly, they do not want a limit on how many times you can shoot the translocator. The UT2004 community sees it in a completely different way. They want a translocator you can throw very far, but to have a limit on how many times you can use it. It’s simply a matter of opinion.
Server admins should be able to have a graphical user interface that lets them easily turn on/off different features, settings, or presets. Some examples would be:
- Translocator Style (UT99, UT2004).
- Team Boosting (ON/OFF).
- Piston Boot Jumping (ON/OFF).
You get the idea. Here’s a screenshot
of Quake Living doing that exact thing:
Support the Game on a Competitive Level
This is something that Epic Games certainly has the opportunity to take advantage of this time around. Epic Games should take the initiative and host their own LAN tournaments much like iD Softare does with Quake 3/Quake Live till this very day. This keeps a level excitement amongst players which instills in them a “reason” to compete. Especially in a gaming era in which it is popular to stream gaming competitions. Unreal Tournament, while it has always been a community driven competitive shooter, never completely reached its full potential in the “pro circuit.” Sure, it made it to a few years of WCG and other similar competitions, but the longevity of it being a “pro” game ended. This blame has to fall on the shoulders of Epic Games. Not everything about the game should be community driven (see Counter-Strike Global Offensive).
In conclusion we all hope for a great competitive shooter that will successfully merge all of the Unreal Tournament communities into one, rather than splitting them into four.
You can see the announcement of Unreal Tournament 4 here: www.twitch.tv/unrealengine