Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games, has confirmed that a licensee of their Unreal 3 graphics engine is porting it to the Wii. Rein spoke to gaming website Kikizo:
I just don't see a big market there to bring this big hulking memory intensive engine over to a much smaller system. I mean, I'm sure some of our licensees, just as a commercial exercise, will probably do it.
I know one of our licensee who's giving it a shot; it's their own port, in the same way Ubisoft brought Unreal Engine 2 to the Wii - I mean Splinter Cell and Red Steel - Unreal Engine 2, and there's a few others... but it's just, we won't don't do it ourselves.
Look, there's so many things we can do and are already doing, to improve our engine, on the platforms we're aiming it at, that going back and working on that [for Wii] just doesn't make sense.
Rein said last month that he believes that the Wii is an unattractive platform for engine developers, stating that "the big software dollars right now are being earned on Xbox360" and, in future, on PlayStation3. He went on to say that "unless you are going to sell your engine to Nintendo, you are going for scraps on that platform."
Well, someone seems to be keen on going after those scraps. And bringing any graphics engine to any platform should be possible, as I have recently learnt.
At the Games Convention, I spoke to a developer from Propaganda Games, the studio who is currently using Unreal 3 technology for ´Turok´ (Xbox360, PS3). He said that the engine could easily be accomodated to a system like the Wii. It was simply a question of having the necessary tools at your disposal or having to develop them yourself.
Whether the Wii´s limited output compared to the other two consoles might justify such an effort may be another thing. But we won´t find out until we actually see the game in question. This is, of course, providing that the licensee is successful in porting the engine over.
Here is some notable guest commentary on the subject:
Blood out of a stone
Best of luck to them. But honestly, the Wii? I love the thing, but you can't actually get blood out of a stone. That's just a saying!
The lawsuit frenzy
Rein might have a point, given the Wii's hardware limitations in relation to Epic's goal with Unreal Engine 3. Then again, developers don't usually go through the labor-intensive process of porting engines to consoles unless there are either tools that streamline the development process or they're looking to go multiplatform. (If it's the latter, we'd suspect a major studio like Ubisoft or Electronic Arts.)
Option three, of course, is that someone is hoping to fail and get in on some of the lawsuit frenzy.
Red Steel worked out pretty well, right?
Anyone remember when Ubisoft ported Unreal Engine 2 to the Wii for Red Steel? That worked out pretty well, right? Right ... ?
Would UE3 on Wii actually give us any benefits? We'd be more interested in Nintendo farming out the Galaxy tech...
Brothers in Arms for Wii
I think it is a really safe bet to say that Brothers in Arms for the Wii is the title using the Unreal Engine 3. Especially after hearing the question asked in the recent IGN interview.
Getting some real, solid shooters
With Ubisoft using Unreal Engine 2 for flawed million-plus-seller Wii launch title Red Steel, and Red Steel 2 in the works, it seems a foregone conclusion. Color me optimistic (as I often am), but I see this as an important step toward getting some real, solid shooters on the platform.
A winner all around
If I had to put my bets on anyone, it would be Ubisoft. They managed to use the Unreal Engine 2 for Red Steel and the upcoming sequel, Red Steel 2. If anyone manages to squeeze the Unreal Engine 3 into the Wii, you can expect some great looking, rock-solid shooters to come out on the console. If they manage to borrow some control design from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, then we have a winner all around.
A significantly weaker machine
While it all sounds good the Unreal Engine 3 is a powerhouse, infact a friend of mine running
Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.20GHz (2 CPUs)
RADEON X600 Series
finds it hard to run the engine above medium (Tested on Unreal Tournament 3), so how a significantly weaker machine [wii] will run it.....
EDIT The good people over at Gamasutra have also interviewed Rein on the topic. Although he does not mention the mystery licensee, Rein goes into some more detail about why he thinks Wii is an unattractive platform for engine developers.
Thanks to: Cyriel