After the so-so response to Unreal Tournament 3 (revisiting Facing Worlds was nice!), it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Epic Games isn't in a hurry to return to the Unreal universe, but CEO Mike Capps made that clear in an interview with Forbes today.
"Unreal and Unreal Tournament continue to have a huge influence on the studio here, even though we’re not currently working on an Unreal IP project," said Capps.
It's been more than a decade since the first Unreal game hit the market on May 22, 1998. You think J.J. Abrams has a tendency to overuse lens flare? You never played Unreal, then. That was back when Epic Games was actually called Epic MegaGames and Cliff Bleszinski was quickly working his way up the design ranks at the company. He was actually co-lead on Unreal, as well as a level designer.
Unreal II: The Awakening wasn't released until 2003 and was not a direct continuation of the original game. Heck, it wasn't developed by Epic, with Bleszinski and company acting as project producers.
By then, Unreal had spun off into Unreal Tournament in 2000, which continues to define the series. Unreal Tournament 3 had trouble finding an audience on both PC and consoles, but it was notable for allowing mod makers to export their PC creations easily to the PlayStation 3 audience. Microsoft didn't allow that feature on the Xbox 360 version, which arrived months later.