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Epic's incredible Samaritan demo is playable... to an extent

Stunning tech showcase was built in just three months - but it's not a game

Epic has told CVG that the protagonist of its amazing Samaritan demo can be controlled in real time.

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Don't get too excited, however - the firm is resolute that the demo, first shown off at GDC in March, is not intended to be a piece of commercial interactive software.

According to Epic, the tech showcase, which you can watch below, was built by just 12 team members in three months. It takes advantage of Unreal Engine 3's support of Direct X-11 to astonishing effect.

When we asked if the main character was controllable, Epic spokesperson Dana Cowley told us:
"In the environment? Absolutely. But it's not a game."

Senior technical artist and level designer Alan Willard added: "We have a character and we've got a set of animations we can hook him up with and move him around. But there's not really any type of gameplay. It's more a cinematic experience.

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"He looks great. It was definitely a big win for us to do something a little different. Obviously he's not a huge leap away from the design of some of the characters we've had in the past, but it was nice not to do a big space marine."

When pressed on whether Samaritan may ever form its own game, the pair were hesitant. Willard added: "It was what it was meant to be. [The message was:] Here's our vision of what we can do by taking these designs and putting them together."

Epic European boss Mike Gamble was keen to reiterate that although Samaritan was technically hardworking, it was possible on publicly available PCs.

"You could go out tomorrow and buy those parts and have that kit," he said. "You'd have no content to run on it at the moment. There's no trickery - it's not like we created some hyper-tools or whatever you want to call it. It's just what we can do."

Epic is currently putting the finishing touches to its next major release, Xbox 360 exclusive Gears Of War 3. Microsoft sent over some snaps of two special editions of the game earlier today.

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