The PC gaming classic Unreal Tournament is to make a return as a free-to-play title.
Epic Games, the developer of the fast-paced multiplayer arena shooter series, announced that ‘Unreal Tournament’ would be developed using the brand new Unreal Engine 4 and released for free on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Epic added that the game, the first in the franchise since 2007’s Unreal Tournament 3, would be developed in collaboration with fans, and would feature the modding support that past UT games became renowned for.
"For years, we’ve wanted to reboot Unreal Tournament, but we knew we had to do it in concert with developers and the mod community, and in an environment that sets them up with the proper tools to make it happen," senior programmer and project lead at Epic Steve Polge told Polygon.
"Given the recent launch of UE4, we think this is the right time to move forward."
"Unreal Tournament still has a lot of passionate fans," Polge added, when asked whether the series, the debut of which was in 1999, could still interest shooter fans today.
"There’s a real need in today’s PC FPS community for a modern competitive shooter that brings back the kind of pure, fast action, skill-based gameplay for which the series is known."
Polge said that although the new game wouldn’t feature micro-transactions, a marketplace allowing modders to sell their user-created content would eventually be added.
The news comes as Develop has revealed the biggest-grossing free-to-play titles worldwide, with worldwide revenue forecasted to hit $9.3 billion (£5.49bn).
Primarily a hit in Eastern countries, free-to-play games are steadily expanding in popularity throughout the West too, with League of Legends and World of Tanks – which achieved $818 million (£483m) and $475 million (£281m) revenue respectively during 2013 – two of the biggest names.
Dungeon Fighter Online was found to be the world’s biggest PC free-to-play title, with over $1 billion (£0.59bn) generated in revenue by the beat ‘em up game in 2013.