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Wii First Person Shooters (Games)

Unreal 3 Engine to Skip the Wii 245

Mark Rein, speaking with Chris Kohler and Game|Life, has stated that Epic's next-gen Unreal engine will never make it to the Wii. Touting the virtues of high-definition gaming, the 360, and the PS3, Rein said that their engine is simply not designed for Nintendo's hardware. He also quickly mentioned the upcoming deal between Epic and Square Enix: "It's definitely a challenge to convince Japanese developers to work with a third-party technology like ours. But Square Enix, they're the granddaddy. I'm hoping that'll be pulling the stopper out of the drain, and we'll gradually crack that nut. We've been looking to hire somebody in Japan, to be our representative there. " Update: 02/06 04:19 GMT by Z : Accidentally misattributed the interview to CVG when it was a Game|Life piece. Fixed. Also, Chris made sure to point out that a partner of Epic's is trying to get UE3 onto the Wii, so ... maybe someday?
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Unreal 3 Engine to Skip the Wii

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  • What will wii do (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DesertBlade ( 741219 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:09PM (#17897186)
    I am sure they will plenty of other engines for Wii. Maybe even a few just for it.
  • Re:No Wii? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mingot ( 665080 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:16PM (#17897302)
    Huh? Nintendo came out said (and proved through actions) that the Wii was not about graphics, but gameplay. Why should it be a surprise that Epic took that to heart and decided not to invest in getting it's latest engine to run on underpowered hardware?

    And really, is this a loss for Epic or Nintendo? If a killer game comes out using unreal 2 I think I'd still buy it.
  • High def gaming? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:20PM (#17897360)
    What version of the Unreal engine didn't support "high def" resolutions?

    Oh, that's right... None of them... Yet they all managed to support running at a lower resolution too. This is a huge load of marketing bullshit.

    Besides, they'll change their mind and compile it for the Wii (and the PS2) as soon as not doing it costs them a licensing agreement. (Unless Microsoft or Sony is paying them actual cash to be High-Def only?)
  • Misreadind trends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NotthatFrankie ( 1004384 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:23PM (#17897400)
    So Epic wants to have a "representative" in Japan, but their newest engine doesn't support Wii? Doesn't Nintendo own the market over there?
  • by imsabbel ( 611519 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:24PM (#17897412)
    Yeah. They can just keep using the ones for the gamecube.
    Its the same hardware, after all.

    (seriously not joking, the differences are so small it wouldnt even be worth calling it a major refresh. I guess thats the real reason they canned the "revolution" codename.)
  • who cares... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thedogcow ( 694111 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:28PM (#17897466)
    This is not a troll. Anyway, who cares? The whole point of the Wii is not to deliver stunning movie-quality graphics. The point of the Wii is to change the way games are played. High end graphics are overrated anyway. Doom 3 and Quake 4 both have fantastic fx but the game play is not innovative and is boring. WarioWare for the Wii has minimal graphics, but IMHO, is very replayable. I know I'm sounding old here but I'm sick of the argument that graphics are everything. In other words, the PS3 and the Xbox 360 may render a piece of crap in high detail... capturing all the intricate details and using 16X anti-aliasing to render the post steam convecting off of it... but it still a piece of crap. I want to be able to play with that piece of crap... toss it around like bowling or in tennis. I can do this with the Wii and it smells fantastic.
  • Re:No Wii? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:32PM (#17897520)

    Fine, shoot yourself in the foot. (I bet it's because of an under-the-table deal...)
    The Wii is good for a lot of things, but Nintendo stated from the get-go that it wasn't aiming for high-end graphics. These guys simply agree.

    If you make Formula One cars, it's not "shooting yourself in the foot" to ignore the go-cart circuit. Go carts may be fun and they may be way more plentiful than Formula One cars, but you're not going to get your customers really excited about your F-1s by saying, "look, we also have a huge presence on the go cart circuit!"

    It says nothing worse about their business sense or their market savvy than the fact there is no Zelda:TP for the 360 or PS2. Zelda may have sold well on those platforms, but it was designing for the unique capabilities of the Wii. Unfortunately, the Wii doesn't also have the capabilities to handle the needs of the Unreal Team.

    BTW, you're gonna see a lot of this. There are a lot of games that will look awesome on the other platforms but will not look good on the Wii. Nintendo made their choice and they picked Fun and Inexpensive. A lot of games striving for high-end visuals will opt to go with the platforms that chose High-End Visuals rather than put out a port that looks like Far Cry.
  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:34PM (#17897538)
    1) Yes, but the latest version of Unreal is something else.
    2) The Unreal Engine is designed for hardware with shaders. The Wii hardware doesn't have full-fledged shaders like the PS3 and 360 have. Even if Unreal 3 would run on the Wii, there would be no point. Without shaders, you couldn't do any of the fancy lighting and texture effects that Unreal 3 is designed to enable.

    Ultimately, it's just Epic admitting that the Wii isn't designed for the kind of games that will use Unreal 3. And that's OK, Nintendo has its niche, Epic has theirs.
  • by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:35PM (#17897548)
    Well, maybe you don't understand but the one of the major selling points of the Wii to developers is they could continue to use the same technology and their development costs would not increase ...

    With the Wii you get to produce an Unreal 2 Engine game with some graphical enhancements over a Gamecube game but costs don't explode; in contrast to make a PS3/XBox 360 game your budget will probably explode to being 3-4 times what a PS2/XBox game cost. Now, what I hope happens is that the Wii demonstrates that pushing graphical limits is not necessary so that in the next generation developers produce games which focus on gameplay and have graphics on the level the developer can afford.
  • Re:No big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:37PM (#17897574)
    You're forgetting the flip-side to that argument. There are a large category of games that are *expected* to look great. Zelda: TP got a lot of flack for looking last-gen, because people expect Zelda to both have great gameplay *and* look pretty. Licensing something like Unreal 3 frees a lot of developer resources to working on other things besides the graphics engine, allowing for better gameplay.
  • Re:No big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by badboy_tw2002 ( 524611 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:40PM (#17897618)
    Exactly! I actually think the graphics on the Wii are _too_ flashy! All those polygons are detracting from my gameplay experience, when really they could satisfy me with simple cubes and squares to represent the players. Why not have Wario be a cube with a W on it, Link a green pyramid with an L, etc. And now seeing as they aren't going to have one of the industry standard engines on the Wii, well, we should probably reduce the expected level of graphics requirements that gamers want since getting anywhere will be that much harder. ...

    Ok, I can't continue with that. But seriously, just because it doesn't have the "leading edge in graphics" doesn't mean it has no graphics, or is going to get along with stick figures. Its more powerful than the Gamecube, and the cube had some pretty nice looking games last generation, at least on par with the Xbox and PS2, and in many cases (personal opinion, of course), exceeded them. And yes, yes, the Wii is all about gameplay and not graphics, BUT getting to at least the bar set by the last gen is hard enough - the bar is only going to get higher. Line up a late gen PS1 game next to a late gen PS2 game (or N64 to GameCube). Its a pretty big difference. How do you get to that bar and possibly surpass it while still having lots of resources to focus on the gameplay? By having someone else do the work of course! That's where engines like Unreal come in - they do all the fancy shading techniques so you don't have to. You have extra costs in the terms of artists, but in your average shop the realities of the situation are artists and art techs are cheap, graphics engineers are not. Its a shame they're losing Unreal, which is a great engine. I don't know if Unreal2 is on the Wii, but it seems likely given the similarities to the GameCube.

    To sum up: gameplay for graphics was a trade-off made by Nintendo to reduce costs for the system. Its not quite the same for gamedevs - you don't magically get a game thats more fun by firing all your graphics engineers and hiring 2x more designers. You still make models, textures, build sets, etc. Its at least as much work as it was last-gen. BUT those tasks can be done in parallel, and having the code partly done for you gets them completed faster.
  • Re:No Wii? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 19thNervousBreakdown ( 768619 ) <davec-slashdot&lepertheory,net> on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:48PM (#17897732) Homepage

    There's no reason Twilight Princess couldn't use conventional controls, any Wii-specific stuff is superfluous at best and sometimes more of a main than a joystick.

  • by nuzak ( 959558 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:55PM (#17897834) Journal
    With the Wii you get to produce an Unreal 2 Engine game with some graphical enhancements over a Gamecube game but costs don't explode; in contrast to make a PS3/XBox 360 game your budget will probably explode to being 3-4 times what a PS2/XBox game cost

    Reality Distortion Field: disengage.

    Having to maintain ports for two different engines is a cost. Textures and models are typically downscaled for consoles anyway. Your 3-4 times figure has zero connection with reality.
  • Re:No Wii? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Simon80 ( 874052 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:02PM (#17897946)
    His point exactly - Zelda isn't a Nintendo exclusive for technical reasons, obviously..
  • Who Cares (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rev Jim (AKA Metal F ( 1004571 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:08PM (#17898010)
    The people who own wiis, or the target audience for wiis compared to the target audience of Unreal are like comparing Slayer fans to Radiohead fans, they're so far apart it's like night and day almost. I mean there's really no reason to have unreal on the wii when it's on every other platform. That said, there will be FPS titles on the wii and I'm sure a developer with a 3d engine developed for the wii will emerge as the defacto wii 3d engine soner or later, or a ported engine will take that place until something beter comes along. It obviously won't be able to compete graphically, but the gamers on the wii are looking forward to Mario Planet (or whatver it's called) or Metroid Prime to establish what we can come to expect from the wii in graphics as well as gameplay, we don't particuariuly care if unreal makes it to wii or not and we know the hardware isn't going to support Crysis or Company of Heroes really - but that's not the wii's niche anyways.
  • Re:No Wii? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by seebs ( 15766 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:12PM (#17898090) Homepage
    Aiming the bow (or boomeraing, or whatever else) is much, much, better with a pointer than with an analog stick.

    People who have never actually tried the system, and are just talking out their ass, tend to assume the Wii has nothing but motion sensing, but it's not so.
  • Re:who cares... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imsabbel ( 611519 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:49PM (#17898482)
    Because those games didnt have graphics as their big selling point at the time of their release? Yeah, retrospective reality distortion hey...

    Commander Keen: pixel-wise fluid scrolling unseen before on EGA IBM-PCs
    Doom: No need to mention. People were blown away by the full-screen (pseudo) 3D graphics. I knew someone who bought a Pentium60 more or less just to play the game for its graphics.
    C&C: new frontiers for FMV cutscenes and the best use of the 320x200*8bit vga resolution seen in any strategy-game at that point of time
    Baldurs Gate: 5 CDs full of high-resolution scenery graphics back when games didnt even manage to fill one, usually
    Morrowind: hyped years ahead for its graphics, the use of shaders, the big visibility range, the water reflections, ect, blabla

    just starcraft looked like crap when released.

    So your point doesnt exist: just because you picked the games from 1.5 decades that YOU likes, and those of course are outdated now, doesnt give any correlation. Especially since you have games in your list that demanded highest-end computers for their graphics at the release-time (doom and morrowind).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:50PM (#17898500)
    "High def" is more than just a high resolution. It's also using detailed textures and geometry, and older engines don't really scale to handle that much data.
  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:52PM (#17898526) Homepage
    Unfortunately, it is you who is incorrect. Development costs do "explode" for the 360/ps3 games over the ps2/gc/wii kind of games.

    These games are capable of much more power, and with more power, you do not simply not "downscale" as much. Next-gen games feature more assets (more particle emitter assets, more model assets) nevermind that producing environments for next gen games is far more time consuming due to the increased scale.

    More power also means you can do far more in code, so typically, you have larger teams of developers in order to produce more complicated AI systems, more complicated physics engines, more complicated shaders, etc.

    Also, since the assets 'weigh more' on disk, your tools and technology infrastructure to support explodes. More disk space, more powerful hardware to work on, more files to support (because of more assets being created.)

    Game budgets ARE far higher on next gen games, for all the reasons listed .. even more than 3-4 times higher in some cases when comparing a triple A PS2 title to a triple A PS3 title. One of the biggest issues within the industry is how to keep costs down on next gen games since the financial risk is much higher. Procedural art assets is one common discussed potential approach.

    And how do I know this? I'm a game developer, at a company that produces both current (ok, well now last) gen and next (okay with now current) gen games, for the xbox, ps, and nintendo families.

    So really, he doesn't have a reality distortion field. Its a reality .. a reality that has a lot of developers and publishers concerned.

    "Textures and models are typically downscaled for consoles anyway."

    Textures and models are typically "baked" (and LoD models set) relatively early in a single-generation production process, in order to ensure that artists are working on exactly what appears in the game. If you downscaled every time you made a build (ie, proceduraly,) you'd never know exactly what you'd end up with. Your comment regarding two ports at the same time, is of course correct. Especially so if you're producing a next and current gen version of the same game, which is why you just won't see it done very often. (Legends was one such example.) But your comment about budgets being generation specific are completely contrary to what the industry is experiencing and trying to grapple with.
  • Re:What? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:52PM (#17898528)
    Perhaps you missed the word "full-fledged" in the parent post. Or were you implying that the shaders are equivalent in PS3/360 and Wii.
  • by theantix ( 466036 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:54PM (#17898544) Journal
    The new Wii controller isn't necessarily going to work with "traditional" games like Unreal. Red Steel for example was completely crap... even if you factor out the bad graphics and horrible voice acting, the gameplay itself was pretty lame *because of the controller*. For me at least, the Wiimote is going to supplant, not replace, the existing types of games out there. When GTA4 comes out I'll grab a PS3 or 360, but when friends come to visit I'll throw WarioWare up on the Wii for everyone to laugh until it hurts.
  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:10PM (#17898716)
    1) Calling its Texture Stages with Logical Operations a 'shader' is abusing the terminology. At best, it has a PSEUDO-pixel shader, like the DX7 style texture stages, not the PROPER DX8 pixel shaders.

    2) The Wii doesn't have vertex shaders -- unless you write your own. Are you going to call CPU skinning a 'hardware vertex shader' ??

    So it's not ridiculous to claim the Wii has no shaders. I agree with the gp "the Wii doesn't have full-fledged shaders" At best, it has 1/2 a pixel shader.

    Or do we need to take this to the 'rvl.graphics' group?
  • Re:No Wii? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @10:26PM (#17899390)
    No, its because the Wii's graphics card isn't capable of doing the kind of things that this engine is designed for, which is obviously delivering realistic graphics, which isn't the focus of the Wii

    But couldnt they just crank the graphics and textures down to nil? The wii isn't that crippled graphically.
  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @11:09PM (#17899728) Homepage Journal

    That's right, because a revolution is when something more than doubles in size. For example, in the French revolution, France was just a few square kilometers in size, but it became the major country it is today thanks to the revolution.

    Seriously, since when has "The same, just more of it" (as with the Wii's major rivals) been revolutionary? When has a radical reconfiguration of what you have to make things possible that weren't before not been revolutionary?

  • Re:who cares... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rm999 ( 775449 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @11:41PM (#17899960)
    Play unreal tournament 2004 - it has amazing gameplay (I have been playing it regularly for 3 years now). I predict UT 2007 will be about as good.

    Of course, those are better as PC games, so I still may agree with you for consoles :)
  • by pilkul ( 667659 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @11:51PM (#17900034)
    Outsourcing art doesn't work nearly as well in games compared to animation, since the art people need to work closely with the programmers to deal with the constantly evolving engine and tools. It's not a bad idea but game technology would have to stop evolving as quickly for it to work.
  • Re:No Wii? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nonsequitor ( 893813 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @12:00AM (#17900116)
    I just played it for the first time on my friends 72" plasma, and the cursor was much more accurate than I'm used to (of course my tv is only a 28" LCD so it could have been that). I've played the new monkey ball too, and I thought the controls for that were pretty rough, but maybe if I play more I'll get better. I sucked at red steel, but thats mostly because I kept moving both hands at the same time when you need to gesture with them independently. Maybe I'm overconfident, but I think when I master the controls it'll go pretty smooth.
  • Re:Mixed Mitaphors (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wordsmith ( 183749 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @01:46AM (#17900788) Homepage
    He said a *good* Wii joke.
  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SnowZero ( 92219 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @02:05AM (#17900868)
    You're right about the XBox, but that's kind of a moot point -- UE3 isn't going to be ported to the original XBox either, at least AFAICT. UE3 really seems to be targeted at DX9-10, even if they do plan on making it run eventually on some lower end PC hardware. So, let's just say the Wii doesn't have shaders in the sense of a 360 or PS3. The definition of a "proper shader" has been a moving target for several years now, and will continue to be that way. In the meantime, we can revel in the Wii's inexpensive hardware and focus on fun gameplay.
  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @02:47AM (#17901080) Homepage
    but a lot of that would seem independent of the technology

    It is precisely what is not independant of the technology. If a company releases a game for the 360 or ps3 and it features the same asset counts, texture resolutions, code base, etc of a current gen game, a publisher will wonder why the hell you arn't releasing it on the PS2 which has such a massive install base that PS2 exclusive games will continue getting made for another 4 or 5 years, most likely. (Certainly, I can promise you of titles that are two years away from release, and our company, as well as others, pick 4 or 5 years as the best guess at this stage.)

    but an increasingly discerning gamer culture does independent of the technology as well

    The gamer culture has become more mainstream, and it is certainly not more discerning than it was in earlier years. Maybe the more mainstream consumers will not actually become dependant upon the technology. This is the very hotly debated issue within the industry right now, and its why we see two bohemoths, Sony and Nintendo, picking different horses.

    The costs such as voice acting is the only real 'hollywood' cost, given the celebrity nature of some of the voice actors. I'm talking in most games. Note that Mass Effect, Bioshock, etc may put alot of money into those fields, but for the blue collar nature of the industry, the 'normal' costs, they are insignificant to paying the artists/modlers/programmers and the technology they need to make the game. But so far, we are seeing HUGE incubation periods, production pipeline costs, etc for next generation technology because to compete, well, you just have to do so much more in order to stand out.

    I agree with you regarding that there is no One True Path, but the matter is that creating a game for a next generation system will cost a lot more money, even 4 years down the road when the overhead of learning and perfecting the pipeline is right for the same reasons that creating Office now costs more money than it took to make Office back in the day. You CAN do more, and somebody WILL do more unless you commit to meeting that barrier to market. Thats why making games for the Wii is a significantly less risky scenario from a financial perspective, and alot of publishers see it as a double play; you can make a game for the PS2 and the Wii (I can only speak for ourselves, but I'm sure many developers now have engines that minimize the platform specific code as much as possible) and cover both generations .. the emergent next gen Wii system and the massive install base of the PS2. Believe me that its probably cheaper right now to have an engine that cross-compiles on PS2/Wii rather than a single 360/PS3 engine that takes advantage of everything. I don't know the exact numbers, I just know that the industry itself considers that the costs of making games for the 360/PS3 is spiraling out of control. And the triple A production budgets wouldn't really change too much between next gen and current gen. Its the same actors, and same directors, the same writers, the same composers .. you're don't need to invest nearly as much more into those factors to create critically acclaimed cameracuts/stories/music since those were already being done on the last gen systems. It really is the technology which forces you to hire way more modelers, animators, texture artists, programmers, etc in order to meet the standards of next-generation production values.

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