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New Unreal Tournament explodes onto the scene

Epic finally reveals the next in the multiplayer Unreal franchise

The first snippets of information regarding the sequel to UT2004 have surfaced in the new issue of Computer Gaming World magazine. Powered by the monstrous Unreal Engine 3, it's set to shoot Doom 3 to ribbons.

The title at present remains undecided, referred to simply as "the next Unreal Tournament." The Onslaught, Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes have survived to this sequel, but there's no mention of Assault or Domination. Never fear, as they have been succeeded by the awesome-sounding 'Conquest'.

This mode appears to be an elaboration on both Assault and Onslaught, being "potentially as large as three onslaught maps with assault-like objectives and even a form of limited resource management planned," which ties in with the article's mention of voice-controlled AI - some sort of speech-activated C&C-esque action may very well be on the cards.

Conquest mode is hinted at as possibly being "a long term war, so you can play, take a break, and then go back and play more later," showing a definite shift from the gung-ho mania of the current UT games to a more tactical, large-scale combat environment that the current graphics can't support to the same level that the Unreal Engine 3 can. Taking advantage of its ability to "seamlessly stream maps by putting you in a battlefield the size of several maps stitched together," it seems the scale of the next UT will be immense.

By the sound of the plans that Epic has for this UT, they may just live up to their name. There's no current release date mentioned for the next UT although Epic has confirmed that there will be no UT games in 2005, so expect it next year on PC and, possibly, Xbox 2. You better start saving those pennies for a new graphics card or that new next-gen console, 'cause you're gonna need it.