Interviews

Epic Games: Apple, hacks and Gears Of War

Pt 2: Our chat with industry innovator hots up...

In the first half of our giant interview with Epic Games, we touched on the company's stunning Samaritan tech demo, the prspects of it making a PC exclusive - and what the very future of interactive entertainment might look like.

Here we continue our chat with European boss Mike Gamble and senior technical artist and level designer Alan Willard - discussing Apple's games invasion, Gears Of War and the power of Unreal...

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There was a criticism that a lot of UE games look the same, but as time goes on more games are defining themselves...
Mike: Yeah, of course. That's how engines are, to begin with people will be doing the same sort of game, they're not going to stray, take the tech and push it into directions we haven't yet. There is going to be a similarity, but now look at it, there's as many different styles and looks as there are stars.

Alan: If you look at the first Mass Effect and the original BioShock, you can't put those games side-by-side and switch the assets and not know which they come from. There's a certain amount of art direction that goes into the look and feel of every single game. You'll see a lot of echoes of the popular games throughout the industry, and that's popular for any major franchise.

Mike: And any major middleware, the same was levelled at RenderWare. The lazy fallback argument for those that don't like buying middleware is 'all the games are the same', that's clearly not the case.

A lot of people say Gears has a muddy palette but we were surprised to see how it contrasted at E3...
Alan: We have blue, we have green, we have amber. We have all the colours (laughs). We're very careful in how we construct our palettes.

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You're not a company that shies away from industry disruption. How excited are you by the ripples that Apple has already made?
Mike: It is incredibly exciting. It's thrown everything up in the air and made everything possible again. We've been in the gaming industry for a long time and it does need shaking up every now and again, because that's where the next franchises will come from, the stuff that will take us through the next 10 years will come from now, when it all goes mad.

The potential of devices to disrupt the business model is brilliant because it's made us look at our business models and how we develop stuff and everyone else that is going to be successful must be having that same conversation.

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From a power point of view do you think the iPad 2 is capable as it stands?
Mike: It can do a hell of a lot, we've got games running on it. Infinity Blade runs sweet, Dungeon Defenders runs well, there's a whole lot of content built on our tech that I think, you stick it on a big screen TV isn't going to look as nice just because of scale, but with clever design... I think Infinity Blade looks pretty good on a TV because of the design of the product takes into account the practicalities of the platform.

That's what I was saying, where the influence is passed from technology to creativity, design and how you do stuff. We can enable you to do it but it's up to you to make the design decisions, how the control methods work and you know is it applicable with a game you play here on a touch screen, what changes do you have to make to that control method to make it work in that environment.

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