Unreal kicked things off all the way back in 1998. The first-person shooter was powered by a game engine known as Unreal Engine. Developed by Epic MegaGames and Digital Extremes, it was programmed by Tim Sweeney, among others, and designed by Cliff Bleszinski.
Twenty-four years later, Sweeney is currently CEO of Epic Games, a company he founded, and is perhaps better known nowadays for a combative social media presence as a proponent for Fortnite, which his company created, and his spats with Apple and Google over their respective app stores. Bleszinski meanwhile has become a famed games designer, known for his work on Gears of War.
But the first Unreal is where much of it began, even if the name is more often associated with the powerful game engines that power much of moder games these days, with the latest iteration Unreal Engine 5 creating a lot of hype, especially since the release of the tech demo The Matrix Awakens. One fan asked: "Why isn't Unreal Engine being used to make an actual Unreal [?]", which went viral.
Nash Muhandes, a game designer, had to go on to clarify his Tweet: "I see arena shooter and Unreal Tournament 4 mentioned in this thread. Would like to clarify that I really meant a new single player Unreal adventure. UE5 would be the perfect engine for those massive alien planets!"
The CEO of Nightdive Studios, which is working on a remake of System Shock, then jumped onto the bandwagon. Stephen Kick tweeted: "After our Quake Remaster @therealcliffyb reached out to @TimSweeneyEpic on our behalf hoping we could give Unreal the same treatment…and I guess if you want that leave a message to let Tim know".
Cliff Bleszinski then replied to Kick's message, with the cryptic: "Not saying anything for legal reasons". While this was mysterious, it could be due to a myriad of reasons. Bleszinski is at work on a memoir of his gaming career, while the game designer is busier with his restaurants and theatre production nowdays.
Whatever the case, a modern remake of the first Unreal would be a tantalising prospect, with all the textural and lighting goodness that Unreal Engine 5 is capable of. Certainly it would be historical to bring back the game that started Unreal, both the game series and the game engine.
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