Currently the Nintendo 3DS is arguably the most anticipated thing in the video game community. The concept of 3D games without glasses combined with the success of the Nintendo DS has almost everyone hyped to get their hands on one. The games look better, have more online functionality, and the titles available at or around launch are some of the most recognized franchises in the industry like Metal Gear and Zelda. While most of the game industry is praising how good the games look, one company, Epic Games, doesn't seem to be impressed.
After receiving praise for the iOS Epic Citadel demo released earlier this year for the iPad and iPhone, many were wondering if Epic was going to produce a game or engine for the upcoming 3DS handheld. Mark Rein, the VP of Epic Games, the makers of the Gears of War series and the Unreal Engine, was asked during a GDC online interview if his company was working on anything for the 3DS:
"No, it's below our [minimum specifications], from what we can tell. We don't have a 3DS, so there's no way for us to verify that but everything we've been led to believe is that it's below our min-spec. You couldn't do a game that looks like [Epic Citadel] on it, for example."
He went on to say that Nintendo has never approached Epic in regards to seeing if the engine is something that can be run on the 3DS hardware:
"Like I said, we really don't know enough about it to make a formal comment, but I think if they considered that our engine would be good on it, they would have probably talked to us about it."
With the current number of games using the Unreal Engine, having a system that doesn't run it is not a bad thing in my opinion. In fact it may even be a positive as most Unreal games tend to look a little too similar at times. This could encourage developers to potentially become more familiar with the hardware by not having a pre-built engine.The 3DS screenshots I have seen already look amazing for handheld games, without the use of something like the Unreal Engine.
So Ranters, what are your thoughts on these words from Mark Rein? Is this just Epic being over-confident that their engine is the way all games should be made? Or should we have an actual concern that the 3DS is less powerful than a year old iPhone?
The Nintendo 3DS is set for release sometime early next year for North America.