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Interviews

Mark Rein

Epic's VP on UT 2007, next-gen pricing, second hand games and the challenges facing next-gen developers

You'll probably remember the Leipzig Games Show, when Epic Games ever-ebullient Vice President Mark Rein revealed the existence of Unreal Engine 4 to a salivating world, which we broke in our exclusive news story here.

It was an intriguing interview but possibly the most shocking revelation of all was the fact that the Unreal Engine 4 has been in development for over two years. Not content with ruling the next-gen, it seemed Epic were already targeting the next next-gen as well.

But that wasn't the only thing Rein had to say on that day and now, after nearly a month on and off the road, we've finally managed to catch up with transcribing the full interview.

Why developers hate second hand games, the perils and pitfalls of next generation pricing, the possible death of retail and the future of Epic's next-gen titles themselves - all come under discussion and you'll find the ever quotable Rein has plenty of opinions on all of these topics and quite a few others. Enjoy.

How are things over at Epic right now?

Mark Rein: Well we're growing like crazy. We need people, you need to work at Epic! Currently we've got 14 positions available, and that's only the ones we're advertising for. If somebody great came to us and they're really fantastic, we'd still hire them. We announced lots of great guys are using Unreal Engine 3: NCSoft, Namco and a few others have come forward.

The technology is coming along really well. We did the deal with Sony for instance. If people want to work in games and not work in a stuffy office for a big corporation, if they want to work in games either on the games side, or the technology side and they want to make industry-leading money and work with the best people, they really need to send us their resume.

It's front page news because of the deals we've done with MS & Sony. Gears of War is looking fantastic. We're showing off some new stuff at the Tokyo Game Show to help Microsoft in the Japanese market. It's the kind of game that could really appeal to the Japanese, so we'll have a little stop gap demo, we'll have a massive show at X05. That's what we're really aiming for.

What do you make of the Leipzig Games Show? A Euro E3?

Mark Rein: Well, we came here last year and it was great, and this year is going to be big. You can't really tell on press day because they don't fill all the seats, but I just have this sneaking feeling that this year is going to be bigger. Microsoft announcing the prices is a huge thing. It's so cool.

X05 would've been too late and they could've held their own event, but they chose Leipzig and I think that's really cool. Sony announced a price drop and I really think that this is the European E3. Leipzig isn't the largest city in Germany, but people make do with the lack of direct flights. I've seen no problems with hotel capacity. The largest number of people coming to the show are German, so there's no problem getting trains here. It's an old city that's in good shape, and it's been developed and it's a great place to have a show.

We were up in Edinburgh recently and very much enjoyed your rant on second hand software. How did that go? Do you think you made your point?

Mark Rein: I think I won over the audience on that one. A lot of people came up to me afterwards. I want to see the price of games come down and I want to see the market grow. When J Allard and Robbie Bach talked about reaching a billion users, they didn't mean the machines they were going to sell, but the market touching a billion people.

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