Update: Incredible-Looking RPG Coming to iPhone (et al) from Epic

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Update: Incredible-Looking RPG Coming to iPhone (et al) from Epic

If you thought that games on the iPhone and iPod Touch had to be silly-looking glorified minigames, Epic Games' new Project Sword may blow your mind.

If you think of iPhone games, you probably think of silly little minigames like Angry Birds - short, bite-sized, and easy to control with a touch-and-drag interface.

Gears of War developer Epic Games thinks otherwise. Moments ago at a special Apple event, Epic president Mike Capps took the stage from Apple boss Steve Jobs to announce a project codenamed Project Sword for the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad.

Powered by the exact same Unreal technology that runs Gears of War (and practically every other game this generation), Project Sword is an action-RPG that allows players to explore a fully 3D world in hopes of taking down the "legendary god-king." Combat is controlled either by "slashing" your finger across the screen, or dragging-and-dropping special attacks (like a boot to the face) for less-twitchy players.

Also, for an iPod/iPhone/iPad game, it looks seriously fantastic. I certainly never thought I'd see graphics like that on a mobile game. Hopefully screens will be out soon.

Accompanying the announcement of Project Sword was the reveal of Apple's Game Center, which is essentially the iOS version of Xbox Live. It's a social network for gaming that should make it easier to play iProduct games with your friends - Capps and Epic creative director Donald Mustard instantly jumped into a head-to-head battle in Project Sword in a matter of seconds.

Game Center will be coming to iOS next week, and Project Sword is scheduled for release this holiday season. In other news, Epic has announced that the Unreal Engine 3 is now available for use on iOS, meaning that other great-looking mobile games won't be far behind.

Update: We got a chance to look around the iOS Unreal Engine 3 tech demo Epic Citadel on the iPad, and it looks great. Take a look at our screenshot gallery above!

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Wow, an iPhone game running of the unreal engine?
I'll check this out.

Taking down the 'legendary god-king'? Story sounds promising.

It does sound like it has a lot of potential though. I'll check it out.

Is this it?

Excellent, although I'm imagining it will cost a lot of money...

Looks good, I hope something like this comes out on android phones though so I can give it a go.

...and... Android?

Yet another reason to want an iphone.

Epic...pardon the pun. Will be looking for this, for sure

First Rage, now this.

It almost makes me want an iphone.

That CAN'T be an Epic game, there are colours other than grey and brown...

I would get an Ipad if I wasn't poor :(

And WebOS? There are much better and quicker platforms out there, I feel so saddened that all these developers forget to look for the other options. It's a shame. :( Unreal engine is already working on the Palm WebOS (Palm Pre smartphones etc.).

Edit: Whilst finding a link to the Unreal Engine demo, I was reminded that the demo was made by Epic games, so maybe they haven't forgotten us after all! :)

http://www.precentral.net/unreal-engine-3-demoed-webos

I'm really looking forward to some Unreal 3 games coming out - we could be looking at pretty much ports of AAA titles here - Dragon Age for iPad, anyone?

If they can run the Unreal Engine 3 on the Iphone, how come they can't make it work on my laptop?!

If it looks as good as Gears of War on the xbox, but on the Iphone, then I want this optimized shit working on my laptop too.

Now if Verizon would ever get the iPhone, that would be helpful.

Wait a minute. Wait a minute!!!!!

Why hasn't anyone else brought this up?

John Funk:
Combat is controlled either by "slashing" your finger across the screen, or dragging-and-dropping special attacks (like a boot to the face) for less-twitchy players.

Can you guys imagine action on par with God of War 3, but your missing out on it cause you keep waving your finger in front of you so don't fail?

Sure it DOES look fantastic, but I wonder how much battery will it need to power this beast of a game on a small little phone.

Slashing across the screen, huh? Nothing personal Epic, but Nintendo already tried that in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and it sucked. It was hard to see what you were doing with a finger/stylus over the screen all the time, and it made combat boring.

Myoukochou:
...and... Android?

We never get any love...

Brotherofwill:
Taking down the 'legendary god-king'? Story sounds promising.

It does sound like it has a lot of potential though. I'll check it out.

Is this it?

Looks impressive, but you wouldn't BELIEVE how fucking sick I am of hearing that song on anything action oriented on YouTube. Seriously it should be banned...

Let's wait and see.

I will enjoy playing that for the 10 minutes the battery will last while it's running.

The more I hear from Epic Games, the brighter my smile is. Keep it up!

the only problem with this is that the controls will be sub par. still a very amazing demo.

It's not that Android couldn't run such apps, the issue (and this has been somewhat fixed with 2.2) is that there is a hard limit set on application size for Android Apps. I think it is about 8MB, where games like Rage and this Sword game are going to be much larger than that.

Android 2.2 allows saving applications to the SDCard, with that enabled, hopefully we will see Android Market allow developers to create larger apps.

From a hardware performance standpoint, the iPhone doesn't have anything that there isn't either a match for or exceeded by in the Android phone market.

Wow. I want it!

Pity that the iPhone's interface is so appallingly bad for anything but glorified minigames. I'd rather see this on a more flexible mobile OS, like Android, which I think is a substantially better bet for the future of mobile communication devices.

This looks great, but on anything smaller then the iPad, your thumbs will be blocking most of the screen...

Makes me sad because my phone is only used for calls and texting.

No love for the Android? Aww.

Myoukochou:
...and... Android?

Oops. Ninja'd.

I don't even know what to say about that. That is awesome. The fourth shot... reflection on the floor... awesome.

Spinwhiz:
Now if Verizon would ever get the iPhone, that would be helpful.

You got that right. My Blackberry vs. the iPhone... =(

Monshroud:
It's not that Android couldn't run such apps, the issue (and this has been somewhat fixed with 2.2) is that there is a hard limit set on application size for Android Apps. I think it is about 8MB, where games like Rage and this Sword game are going to be much larger than that.

Android 2.2 allows saving applications to the SDCard, with that enabled, hopefully we will see Android Market allow developers to create larger apps.

From a hardware performance standpoint, the iPhone doesn't have anything that there isn't either a match for or exceeded by in the Android phone market.

I recently downloaded the beta of Fennecc (mobile browser from Mozilla) which I believe was around 29MB. Admittedly this wasn't from Android Market but still. Looking at my phone now Google Earth that I did get from the market was 15MB. This is on 2.2 so I don't know if it has been completely removed or not.

Even if it hasn't there is a possibility that the basic engine could be downloaded as a normal app and then when you start it up it could download the data needed for the actual game. There is still hope! :)

I don't think of this as a gaming device at all. The problem is control. It seems like it wants to be a PSP with even worse controls - none at all.

When I invent my time machine, I'm going back to the 80s and this is coming with me. Just so I can show off.

RAKtheUndead:
Pity that the iPhone's interface is so appallingly bad for anything but glorified minigames. I'd rather see this on a more flexible mobile OS, like Android, which I think is a substantially better bet for the future of mobile communication devices.

Somehow, as soon as I saw "iPhone" and "RPG" in the same sentence, I knew you would show up, RAK. XD By the way, thank you for your excellent iPhone review. A very insightful read, especially for someone like me who knows little about smartphones.

Anyway, I question how smart this project really is. Not necessarilly beacuse of the control scheme (although it does seem rather awkward), but beacuse I don't think Epic is going to be able to recuperate the costs of development by selling it for 10$ (which is the maximum price "allowed" on the iPhone app store). Sure, the low price ensures more people than usual will buy it, but keep in mind that the market for RPG titles isn't very large and it's not the type of game people usually buy for the iPhone.

This thing will use up so much battery your Iphone will give up at the loading screen.

I need to see how this will work out. That's pretty impressive and I couldn't believe it when I first got CliffyB's Tweet earlier today. Shame I don't have an iPhone...

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