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Can UT console mods ever work?

Opinion: What do Epic's plans mean for the mod scene?

Is the PC taking another bullet to the chest as a feature that was unique to the platform is now spreading to console?

Epic Games vice president Mark Rein dropped an interesting little bombshell the other day concerning Unreal Tournament 3 and modifications, game reworks - and often labours of love - developed by third-parties and bedroom coders that have kept PC titles alive for years after release.

In an interview with Team Xbox, the ever ebullient developer revealed that third-party UT modifications are not only now possible on console, but that Epic is going to take mods formerly only available on PC versions of Unreal Tournament "and bring them over to PlayStation 3, and help their developers polish them up."

The plan won't be unique to PS3 either, Rein saying on Xbox 360 in connection with UT mods that "we'll be able to do something like that there as well". Mods are the lifeblood of this game, and part of the reason we delayed announcing the 360 is because UT without mods is half a UT.

"The big thing we're excited about bringing to console are mods", he revealed.

It's a unclear at this stage whether mod developers would eventually be able to release console projects direct to download - it's more likely they would have to be passed through Epic first, in the case of a UT mod - but where Epic is treading, others are sure to follow.

There are many developers and games we could pick out the hat as examples, but let's take Valve Software and Half-Life 2, which has a huge, huge PC mod community surrounding it. And we'd be surprised if the developer wasn't looking at some way to get modifications on to Xbox 360 and PS3 to support its sequel.

But should the mod scene launch in earnest on console, would it really have any ramifications for the same on PC?

We can only speculate, but one thing that could well tip the balance is cold, hard cash. While mods for PC games have traditionally been free downloads, potentially third-party coders could suddenly be presented with the opportunity of selling their wares on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. We can't believe the lure would prove anything but irresistible.

It's an interesting development for consoles certainly but on the PC side of the coin it raises concerns for a videogame element that has always been exclusive to the platform.

Would mod developers make the switch? Doomsayers may even declare it's a new nail in the coffin of PC gaming, however it's far too early to even guess which way the wind may blow. Post your thoughts below.

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