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Epic's Mark Rein: 'Triple-A gaming is what we're about - we need platforms to empower that'

Gears of War dev on Unreal Engine 4 and the future of gaming...

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We really are about that triple-A gaming experience, so we really do need platforms that can empower it. We feel like expelling a lot of energy trying to shoehorn ourselves onto different platforms that aren't a good fit doesn't make sense for us or our customers, or the future benefit of the industry. Sooner or later everybody upgrades and we can be beneficiaries of it - us and our licensees.

On the topic of the future, just before we met here David Cage showed off his new engine with a demo that features motion capture heavily. What are your thoughts?

I haven't seen their demo but I know they've done amazing stuff. They're a great developer. I think [full body motion capture is] really man power intensive and it'll be great for games that are really about showing off the performance, and I'm sure you could certainly bring that performance capture into technology like Unreal. No problem.

Zoom

In fact, House of Moves already does that - they do motion capture live in to UE3 and we've had that feature for a while. It's just whether your game needs that feature or not. I love LA Noire and it used a similar technology I suppose, and it was very, very good. I think [David Cage] is making technology for his kind of game, and that's fantastic.

Of course the big buzz here among consumer games sites is Unreal Engine 4, and it's all under NDA...

Sorry. Unfortunately it's not our... I'll leave it at that.

You mentioned in your presentation that it's your "love letter" to hardware manufacturers, and we're sure there's hope among our readers that you're trying hard to persuade them to make their tech as advanced as possible - as you did with Gears.

Don't worry. We are absolutely every day [pushing]. 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.

We really like the big screen, home console gaming 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. 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.

Zoom

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.

So for all of our readers desperate to see what UE4 looks like, it's this year that we'll get to see it publicly?

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