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Epic's Mark Rein: 'Triple-A gaming is what we're about - we need platforms to empower that'

Gears of War dev on Unreal Engine 4 and the future of gaming...

Epic Games' Mark Rein is one of our all-time favourite interviewees.

Friendly yet outspoken, the popular VP never leaves the room without delivering a fantastic soundbite, yet the best thing about securing face time with the Unreal spokesperson is his infectious passion for all things technology.

This is a man who loves working on the bleeding edge of gaming - and he gets you excited for what's around the corner.

In our latest interview at GDC in San Francisco, Rein discussed the newest features of Unreal Engine 3 - including console-quality Flash games - and teased the exciting next-gen technology the studio's hiding behind closed doors...

Zoom

Going by your showings at GDC, it seems like the immediate future is pretty exciting for the games industry - and Epic...

I walk around with a permanent smile! That's part of what I do... I work with companies like Apple, Adobe, Intel, Microsoft and Nvidia. I've always done this but now that we have guys in each territory that can do the licensing stuff that I used to do, I get even more time to see even more of the future and what's coming from these great technology companies.

And it's exciting times five. Everything... the stuff they're doing on Windows is awesome. The stuff Apple is doing - awesome. You saw [from our Samaritan demo] Nvidia is kicking arse... there's just so much good stuff going on in the technology business and as you say it's just a great place to be. I love our intersection of where we are and how we can make great games and great content, and also make great technology to help other people make great games and content, highlight them, showcase them and help everybody do better. It's a lot of fun.

Can you give us a brief rundown of what you're talking about at GDC?

A lot of Unreal Engine 3 - that's the main reason we're here, to show all the different platforms that UE3 runs on and promote them, work with our partners and show developers all the different opportunities. As I said in my talk it's about the small, medium and the large. Small being iOS and Android, medium being Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, smaller Steam games and then large being the big, granddaddy PC and console titles.

And maybe we'll see a bit of 'extra large' this year... we can't really go into detail about that but we're also showing a few people under NDA Unreal Engine 4 - a little sneak peek if you will.

That's pretty much what we're doing. With Flash we're showing all the different kinds of experiences you can have with Unreal and... it just works. You saw Mortal Kombat on PS Vita - oh my god is that exciting, and on console Borderlands, Devil May Cry and all these fantastic things are all coming.

Zoom

Epic's conquered PC, console and now iOS... what's next?

Well now we're also doing the web - but that's PC. I don't know? Let's see what's next to come from the minds of the world's smartest hardware manufacturers and we'll try to be great on that too.

You mentioned PS Vita and Wii U in your GDC presentation - those could be next on the list?

Yes. Absolutely.

And specifically on the Wii U, you've been true to your word when you previously said Epic would work on Nintendo platforms as soon as it made good enough hardware...

I think I said "like water on fish"! And then I went to the Nintendo press conference and they showed a little clip of Aliens: Colonial Marines made in our engine, running on the Wii U, and someone goes, 'what do you think now?' And I said, 'water, meet fish!'

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