Epic's acclaimed PC first-person shooter, Unreal Tournament, will be conquering its second next-generation platform this March when it comes to the Dreamcast. Infogrames, the game's publisher, handed the job of converting Unreal Tournament from the PC to the Dreamcast to fairly unknown San Francisco-based developer Secret Level. We sat down with the developer's VP of production Pete Clark and VP of software development Josh Adams to get the skinny on the conversion process.
Secret Level's biggest goal in converting Unreal Tournament from the PC to the Dreamcast is to keep the integrity of the PC game on a console platform. According to Clark, the primary focus of Secret Level is to bring the experience of the PC game to console users. "More than anything, we want to capture the feel of the PC version to provide console gamers the same great experience," said Clark. "Prior to the release of the next-gen systems, it wasn't possible to make this type of game happen. So now that we can, consolers will finally get a taste of what PC gamers have been thriving on for a while." And while PS2 owners can pick up a version of Unreal Tournament on Sony's next-generation system, the Dreamcast version promises to outshine the other versions of the game with a slew of new maps, enhanced graphics, and online play. "UT for the DC is really easy to set up and play quickly. Plus, you're getting a few more goodies like new maps, a new mode of play, and online play, which you won't find on the PS2 version," Clark added. In fact, he prefers the Dreamcast version to the original PC version. "The Dreamcast game is more social when compared with the PC version. [In the Dreamcast version], you get a chance to sit on the couch with your three buddies for a game of deathmatch, talk some smack, and have a good time. You can't really do that [in the PC version] unless you have a bunch of PCs in the same room."
The Dreamcast version's online mode will easily outclass both the PS2 version of the game and other Dreamcast first-person shooters. Unreal Tournament will be run on several SegaNet servers and will allow up to eight players at a time on a server. According to Adams, the online mode will be extremely easy to use. "The server selection process has been incredibly simplified, and we've made the interface a lot more user-friendly for gamers who might not have played online before," said Adams. And while Dreamcast users won't be able to set up their own servers, Clark has promised that SegaNet plans on running plenty of games with a variety of maps and mutators. Additionally, the online mode of the Dreamcast version of Unreal Tournament will be Dreamcast exclusive - Dreamcast players won't be able to play on PC servers, and PC players won't be able to join SegaNet servers. Clark felt there would been an unfair advantage to PC players, and letting them join SegaNet games and destroy DC players would make playing online less fun.