Mark Rein part one

Epic's ever-ebullient VP gives us the latest lowdown on UT 2007 and Gears of War in the first part of our recent chat

Mark Rein is always one our favourites interviewees here on CVG. Never short of an opinion or two his comments and views of the gaming industry are sometimes controversial, always insightful and absolutely guaranteed to be entertaining.

So it was with a great deal of pleasure and anticipation we sat down with Mr Rein recently to talk about Unreal Tournament 2007, surely the hottest first-person shooter hitting next-gen consoles and PC and to get the inside scoop on the latest developments on the ahem epic flagship 360 blaster Gears of War, which is surely set to rule the Xbox 360 charts and push sales of the console this Christmas.

Herein part one Mr Rein discusses the development of UT 2007, how the team developed those iconic hoverboards and Dark Walkers, reveals plans for a new Make It Unreal contest and how important the community has been to the game's development before moving on to all things Gears of War.

Enjoy part one and be sure to tune back into CVG for part two arriving before the week is out, to learn more about Rein's always intriguing views on Windows VIsta 'MS dropped the ball', where the future of the PC lies and what he thinks the prospects are for Nintendo's Wii.

But for the moment, it's over to you Mr Rein...

UT2007 has been in development for a while now. How is everything progressing?

Mark Rein: It's coming along pretty well, there's a lot of work to do. You know, UT is a game that has a lot of content, a lot of levels; it takes a long time - especially now with next-generation-quality artwork to get that all done and polished. Plus UT is such an important franchise to us we really want to take our time and get it right - that's why we've never really had a release date for this game, it's just when it's done, which really surprised us when people wrote 'the game is delayed' - what do you mean the game is delayed? All we said was that it's not coming this year, that doesn't mean it's delayed. We confirmed to people; don't save you money for this game for Christmas because you won't be getting it. Buy Gears of War (laughs).

One of the most exciting additions we've seen so far are the hover boards. How did you guys come up with those?

Mark Rein: Well one of the problems we found with UT2004 is if you died and accidentally spawned in a location where everybody had taken all the vehicles you ended up being stuck running as fast as you could on a fairly-long distance - you're out of the game for a long period of time and it's very hard to catch-up if somebody took-off in a vehicle, and we thought It'd be really nice if we could give people the ability to traverse areas of the map two-to-three times faster than they can now. It's not as fast as the Scorpion but it's a lot faster than running on foot.

So that's really how it was born; you have this kind of portable hover board and you can get around the map a lot quicker. You're at a disadvantage when you're on it because you can't use your weapons, but one of the things you can do - which we used to call when I was a kid up in Canada; 'bumper hitch'. You have a tether which you can tether on to other vehicles and get a ride. So the cool thing is somebody can come by in a Mantas or Scorpion and give you a lift, so that's kind of nice. So I just think it's a really smart way to make sure you're always in the action or always about to be in the action - that's the whole point of UT.

Where did the idea for tricks come from?

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