The East Coast Game Conference often feels like the “Epic Games Conference.” The show is indisputably dominated by local heavyweight Epic Games of Unreal fame, leveraging its home-field advantage to offer paneled insights on the game development process.

In hot pursuit of Bioware's humbling keynote on storytelling and narrative, we attended an Epic Games panel on the topic of Unreal Tournament's symbiotic, community-based development endeavors. The panel was headed-up by Senior Designer Jim Brown, an industry veteran who agreed to an on-camera discussion pertaining to oft-untold level design tactics.

The Epic Games Twitch livestream today announced the development of a new, free Unreal Tournament game that will be crowd-sourcing development from the community; the game will be "not free to play, just free," meaning no microtransactions, no subscriptions, no purchases. "It's just free. That's it," Senior Programmer Steve Polge told the community, an Unreal Tournament 2004 cutout in the background.

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This news comes after Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney previously told us directly that there would be "no new Unreal Tournament game" and that they were moving on as a company. The new UT was hinted at last week, where rumors spun that it'd be based on UT2K4. It is now clear that the new game will be a completely new title using a crowd-sourced development model. I'll be referring to this as "Unreal Tournament 4," for sake of this post, though it is yet unnamed.

UPDATE: The game was just named. It is simply "Unreal Tournament," there will be no suffix on this one.

For those of you who followed our GDC coverage of Epic Games' press conference, you'll recall my question to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney (32:45 in our video): "Will there be a new Unreal Tournament game launched with Unreal Engine 4?"

Sweeney's answer let me down, though: "Oh! An Unreal Tournament game! Uh, no, we are not shipping an Unreal Tournament game. We have a lot of nostalgia for that game, but we are not developing anything in the Unreal game universe at all at the moment." Sweeney then went on to discuss Fortnite.

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Epic’s GDC 2014 press conference saw the demonstration of the engine’s technology in-use, with the primary focus centered on accessibility (even to non-coders), affordability, and flexibility. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney started off by admitting the conference wouldn’t be a “Steve Jobs type of keynote, [we’re] just computer nerds,” before then diving into some of the history and advancements of Unreal Engine. Sweeney noted that he was personally responsible for approximately 80% of the original UE’s codebase, but with UE4 there are now entire teams dedicated to the engine.

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