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New Unreal Tournament will let Epic “succeed by doing the right thing for the community”

Unreal Tournament: a place where the gruff, wide-shouldered men and women of Epic can live on.

The new Unreal Tournament is being developed in a fashion that would’ve seemed completely absurd in 2007, when its last iteration was released. The culmination of years of crowdfunding and community interaction, this nebulous new game will be designed in consultation with its future playerbase, and eventually released for free. Not free-to-play, but free, with all revenue sourced from a mod marketplace.

Epic say they like the model because it’s “fundamentally generous”.

“It allows us to succeed by doing the right thing for the community, and it keeps all of us, at Epic and in the community, on the same page with what we are trying to accomplish,” said senior programmer Steve Polge.

While the model might be fundamentally generous, it can’t be entirely that way – Epic have to take their cut somewhere. Enter the Unreal Tournament mod marketplace, which will be an extension of the Unreal Engine 4 marketplace.

“For the mod community to succeed, we first need to create a successful game that appeals to and sustains a sizable and vibrant community of players,” Polge told VG247.

“We’ll work with our mod developers to support their development needs with the core game platform and we’ll make sure it’s easy for players to discover the mod experiences available in the UT marketplace.”

Map makers can decide whether they want to give away their work for free or for a price. Then, and only then, will Epic take their cut.

“We haven’t figured that out yet, but our goal is to provide a model that is attractive and fair for our content creators,” said Polge.

It sounds more like a revenue model built around Valve’s Steam Workshop than any free-to-play shooter currently in existence, don’t you think?