Interviews// Mark Rein, Epic Games VP

Posted 4 Jul 2008 17:17 by
Mark Rein
Mark Rein
I am in Gateshead on the outdoor decking of the Baltic Flour Mill's bar, next to the Tyne. It's raining. This, perhaps, is not the best introduction to the delights of the far North East for Epic Games' vice president, Mark Rein, who has come all the way over from the developer's headquarters in North Carolina. Nor, for that matter, is the fact that he's talking to me. But... such is his lot in life at this particular moment in time and he seems to be enjoying himself anyway.

Both Rein and Epic need little introduction, so I'll simply say this: Gears of War (sequel on the way), Unreal Tournament (third instalment descending on Xbox 360), Unreal Engine, mods. That should serve as enough of a reminder to get things under way.

Well, not for Mark, perhaps. After he's finished saying how cute my camera is (I could see it getting nervous), we got going.

Unreal Tournament III
Unreal Tournament III
SPOnG: So, how are you finding the GameHorizon conference?

Mark Rein: It's great, so far.

SPOnG: Has anything particularly jumped out at you?

Mark Rein: I was very impressed with the demos of Endwar and APB. Two games that use outstanding engine technology. (Unreal Engine 3, if he didn't make that glaringly obvious).

SPOnG: Did you ever expect to see the Unreal Engine turn up in an RTS?

Unreal Tournament III
Unreal Tournament III
Mark Rein: You know, I think it's inevitable that it'll end up in every kind of game at some point in time, either professionally or through mod makers, because it's very flexible technology and it can do a lot and I think the idea that it's just a first-person shooter engine is just plain wrong. It's a misunderstanding of what an engine does.

SPOnG: What's the strangest thing you've seen the engine used in?

Mark Rein: Nothing's really strange. I mean, there's this cool snowboarding mod on PlayStation 3 that's kind of neat. I thought that was pretty impressive, you know. A little different than what we do. But, again, not a surprise, given that we have the hover board in UT3. I don't think too much surprises me any more.

I want and encourage people to make puzzle games, make casual games, do different kinds of things (with) our technology. This is why we host the mod contest. It's to encourage people to try different things.

SPOnG: There was that dance game using your engine...

Unreal Tournament III
Unreal Tournament III
Mark Rein: Oh yeah! That's a group in Korea. Looks fantastic! We showed it at our booth at GDC, looks great! We had a movie of it, but he actually came and showed it to me running (on his laptop, no less!), it was extremely impressive. MStar, it's called.

You know, those guys were started by the same guys who started Realtime Worlds. They were kind of joined together, then they split them up to do different kinds of games.
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