The Unreal Generation

It was not that long ago when it seemed like every game out there was running on the Quake III engine. In fact, some still do. The Quake III engine was the most successful engine ever as far as number of licenses go. It was state-of-the art when it came out, and its modular design made it easy to code. Now fast forward to today. The same thing is happening again, only this time, it is Unreal Engine 3. Unreal Engine 3 is the first complete re-write of the Unreal engine. Practically no code from the old engine is in this new one. Tons of Xbox 360 games are being powered by this new engine. Let’s take a look at the (publicly known) lineup, game by game.

You're a hitman for hire in  Frame City Killer .
Frame City Killer (Namco): A third-person action-adventure, the game with the best acronym ever (FCK) takes UE3 to a sci-fi urban future with hovering cars and I, Robot-style technology. This one’s due out later this year.

Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway (Ubisoft): The subject of OXM’s latest cover story, the third Brothers in Arms takes the Unreal Engine 3 someplace it’s never gone before: World War II. Developer Gearbox Software aims to use the engine’s power and facial rendering technology to create a game experience with emotional impact.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent (Ubisoft): The Splinter Cell games have always been built off of Unreal technology, but you’d never know it just from looking at it. The brilliant stealth franchise has always heavily modified Epic’s tech for their own lighting-heavy antics, and they’ll be working with Unreal again for Double Agent.

 Blast through Sin City in  Rainbow Six Vegas .
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas (Ubisoft): Did you like Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter? Of course you did (because almost all of you bought it!). Team Rainbow is getting back to what they know best: a visceral tactical action game. Reborn for Xbox 360, the Unreal Engine 3 is hitting Vegas! Full preview in our June issue!

BioShock (2K Games): Ever played the 1999 PC classic System Shock 2? This role-playing/first-person shooter/adventure hybrid is its spiritual successor, and it’s all about player choice. It also uses Unreal Engine 3 to fuel its 1950s Art Deco visual style. For added artistic flair, it takes place entirely in an underwater city!

 Gears of War is a showcase for Unreal Engine 3.
Gears of War (Microsoft Game Studios): The poster child for the Unreal Engine 3, this smart third-person shooter is Epic’s own baby—the flagship for the engine, if you will.

Mass Effect (Microsoft Game Studios): Renowned developer BioWare owned the original Xbox RPG category with the amazing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003 Game of the Year) and last year’s excellent Jade Empire.

Too Human (Microsoft Game Studios): Long a dream project for developer Silicon Knights, this fast-action third-person romp sports equal amounts of guns and melee weapons. The studio’s last project, Eternal Darkness was considered somewhat dated when it released, graphically speaking. The use of UE3 ensures that such a comment will not be leveled against Too Human for Xbox 360.

If that lineup isn’t impressive enough for you, we can expect even more Unreal-powered goodness is on the way.