[IMGW]http://www.1up.com/media?id=2599128[/IMGW]Part of what makes first-person-shooters on the PC so appealing is the ability for aspiring designers, artists and programmers to develop their own character models, levels, weapons and whatever else their mind can conjure up, often times using the same tools the developers themselves did. That's never been possible on consoles, but Epic Games has indicated in the past this is part of their goal for Unreal Tournament 3 -- first on PlayStation 3 and PC and now, it seems, on Xbox 360, too.
Speaking to Game Informer, Epic's VP Mark Rein discussed why the company had forgone announcing an Xbox 360 version of the game until just recently. "One of our big concerns was the ability to bring mods to the platform, and it's still a bit of an open issue, but we've had some pretty clear indications that we'll be able to do it, and we're pretty excited about that," he says. "That was kind of the one thing, we wanted to make sure we'd be able to bring user-created content to the platform before we made a firm commitment to it."
Previously, Epic previously stated this was already in the cards for the PS3 version (and PC, natch), and appears to have been part of the hold up on confirming an Xbox 360 title, even though we're willing to be it's actually been in development for some time already. The difference between PlayStation Network and Xbox Live is companies can reportedly add content to Sony's service without a series of certifications, a common criticism directed at Microsoft, which delayed the release of demos, game patches and other content.
Back in September, Epic held a Q&A session during the Tokyo Game Show, where Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney outlined the situation pretty clearly: "Unfortunately it's [Xbox Live] more of a closed platform," and says they've even been "quite negative toward user-created content."
Through Microsoft's XNA initiatives, perhaps Epic's found a way to get Microsoft to loosen up a bit, or maybe Epic will package user modifications and offer them on the XBL marketplace. That'd be an easy enough microtransaction, wouldn't it? But that wouldn't be particularly fair for console owners, considering the PC kids wouldn't have to pay a dime.
Plenty of questions in need of answering, and hopefully it'll all become clearer in the coming months. Unreal Tournament 2007 doesn't ship till much later this year.