updated 04:34 pm EDT, Thu May 8, 2014
Source code for next Unreal Tournament will be viewable on GitHub throughout development
Epic Games is developing the next edition of Unreal Tournament openly, and will be free, the game producer has announced. The development team will be making code and content for the first person shooter freely accessible to interested parties, and plans a "collaboration between Epic, UT fans, and UE4 (Unreal Engine 4) developers."
The company hopes to run streams of its development on Twitch, use forums for development discussion, and UE4 developers will be able to download the content from GitHub. While the eventual game will be available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, Epic warns it will "take many months until the game is playable by gamers. This is real development from scratch."
Unreal Engine 4
While the game will be free for all to play, Epic plans to recoup its development cost by creating a marketplace where "developers, modders, artists, and gamers can give away, buy, and sell mods and content. Earnings from the marketplace will be split between the mod/content developer, and Epic." This is similar to how Valve Software turned the successful Team Fortress 2 into a free game, supported by paid-for user-generated content sold through Steam, with Valve receiving part of each purchase.
The development could also generate funds for Epic in another way. In March, Epic changed the way it sold Unreal Engine 4 to developers, charging a monthly fee of $19 and royalties on gross revenues rather than a larger licensing fee. Since access to the Unreal Tournament development code will require Unreal Engine 4, Epic will earn a monthly fee while development is under way.