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Unreal Tournament 2014 Will Be Free, But It’s Not What You Think

by Eric Frederiksen | May 9, 2014May 9, 2014 6:00 am PST


Unreal Tournament 2014 will be free. That’s just free, full stop. Not ‘free-to-play, pay-to-win’ – just free.

Epic Games announced today via Twitch that the upcoming refresh to the fan favorite shooter is being developed in Unreal 4 for Linux, Mac, and PC, that it will be moddable and free.

The most interesting twist is that Epic will be involving the community in the development of the game.

“For years, we’ve wanted to reboot Unreal Tournament, but we knew we had to do it in concert with developers and the mod community, and in an environment that sets them up with the proper tools to make it happen,” said Project Lead Steve Polge in an interview with Polygon. “Given the recent launch of UE4, we think this is the right time to move forward.”

The game will be free, so the revenue stream will start by encouraging fans and programmers to pay for the Unreal Engine 4 license, which allows them to contribute to the development. Contributors will be able to communicate with Epic via forums and Twitch streams and, while obviously not every contribution can be used, the team plans for the process to be “inclusive and transparent,” according to Polge.

The second revenue stream, Polge explains, will be an eventual marketplace for modders to post and sell their creations. It won’t be available at launch, but it is in the eventual plans for the game.

This is an interesting experiment for Epic to take on – both as one of the first collaborations of its kind between a developer and its playerbase, and as a way to generate traffic and buzz for their already accessible new game engine. If it works for Unreal Tournament 2014, collaborative development could become the next trend in game design.


Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...