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Epic: 'If next-gen consoles aren't bleeding edge, Apple will beat them'

Unreal Engine dev reveals it's "constantly pushing" platform holders

Epic Games has revealed it's "constantly pushing" platform holders to make their next-generation consoles as advanced as possible.

Meeting with Epic's always well-spoken VP Mark Rein at GDC this week, CVG highlighted the growing concern among gamers that next-gen consoles could turn out to be technically underwhelming - especially with Wii U's reportedly modest specs and the next Xbox rumoured to be utilising a year-old graphics card.

The affable Unreal Engine exec assured us that, just like it did with Gears of War and the Xbox 360, it's "constantly pushing" platform holders with stunning demonstrations like its Samaritan demo, in an attempt to persuade them to make their next-gen platforms as "bleeding edge" as possible.

"Don't worry. We are absolutely every day [pushing platform holders]," Rein told CVG. "This is why we did Samaritan and why we're doing a really high-end demo in the room here. We really are pushing these guys, because if they don't, Apple will go right past them."

In 2006 Rein revealed Epic cost Microsoft $1 billion with an impressive Gears of War prototype, which persuaded the platform holder it should include increased 512MB of RAM inside the Xbox 360.

In a move that harks back to the persuasive Gears demo, Rein called Epic's Samarian demo its "love letter" to hardware manufacturers, emphasising the studio's passion for high-end gaming.

"We really like the big screen, home console experience and we really like iPad gaming. We like all these gaming experiences and we don't think consumers want them to go away.

"The only way they're going to go away is if they don't stay true to what they are. The console gaming experience is about delivering something that's way out past the bleeding edge and subsidising it through the software royalty model - just like Apple does with the phones. It's not that much different."

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He added: "That's the console gaming model, and if you don't do that - if you don't stretch just far enough, you don't just have enough of a difference to make people want to take the leap with you... it all falls down.

"Now, I don't think that's going to happen - I think the console guys are going to blow us all away. But as you say, we're on them.

"There's no end in sight for what we can do with unlimited technology. So we're always going to be pushing and I'm sure we'll be pushing for more than is possible to give. But yes, we feel that's kind of our duty. That's what Epic is here for.

"Not everybody in the games business is going to use our technology and that's OK. But if we can help the games business as a whole then we help the people that use our technology, we help ourselves, we help consumers.

"So for us that's something that we work very, very hard on. That's something that I'm personally involved in. [Epic founder] Tim Sweeney is really the guy at the front of the ship, but I'm rowing right behind him. We're constantly contacting these guys and constantly pushing them."

Epic showcased its next-gen Unreal Engine 4 demo behind closed doors at GDC, adding that it hopes to showcase the tech publicly later in 2012.

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