Unreal Tournament composers willing, invited to join reboot project

Sunday, 11th May 2014 23:01 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Unreal Tournament’s original composers have indicated their willingness to come back on board the lauded arena shooter, and Epic sounds more than happy to have them back.


Michiel van den Bos was one of the two main composers on the original Unreal Tournament. In a thread on the Unreal forums, he introduced himself and suggested joining in the recently announced crowdsourced Unreal Tournament reboot.

“I’m writing here because I was getting messages and e-mails telling me I should, due to the announcement of the new UT. I was wondering if there is any interest in me getting involved and I’m sure I can get Alex to join in too,” he wrote.

Colleague Alexander Brandon chimed in to confirm the post is “not a hoax”.

The thread was greeted with joy by fans, who wrote glowing reports of their memories of UT’s soundtrack.

Senior programmer Steven Polge replied, apparently in full agreement.

“Of course we would be thrilled to have you and Alex involved in this project! The music you guys made always invokes tremendous nostalgia for me – I’m always instantly transported back to playing UT,” he wrote.

Thanks, Polygon.



  1. Daodan

    That is amazing! UT’s soundtrack was incredible and I still listen to it regularly. This whole project is definitely interesting and it might turn out to be really awesome.

    #1 8 months ago
  2. Daodan

    Apparently Kevin Riepl, the guy that composed a lot of UT2k3 and 2k4′s music, has also expressed his interest. This is gonna be good.

    #2 8 months ago
  3. Erthazus

    We have something big here.

    2k4 music is still the best.

    #3 8 months ago
  4. TheWulf

    Could be something a bit special, then. Though I’ve learned to stow my enthusiasm when it comes to contemporary efforts, considering how many companies are trying to appeal to the trashiest elements of humanity, but still. If they can live up to the sheer, unashamed fun of UT ’99 and UT 2k4, then I’d be on board.

    The reason UT III didn’t do so well is almost completely because they tried to appeal to the more open-minded old guard, but also tone it down enough so that it appears (on the surface) to be mundane enough for the trash. As such, it isn’t a bad game when you dig beneath the surface, but the effort to try and appeal to modern-day Neanderthals by adding familiarity to it really tainted it, and it became a less appealing prospect to the old guard when UT ’99 and UT 2k4 could still be played on modern systems.

    That’s the problem I have with Sunset Overdrive and why I think it’s doomed to failure. The trash-herd is going to kick up hype about how great it is, but then they’ll play it and it’ll unnerve them, put them off, and they’ll take it back. And those inclined to novelty won’t bother with it, either, since there are already better things on offer. It’s an age old story. You can’t cast your net out to catch everyone, the movie industry learned this decades ago. You’re either making a film to appeal to the knuckle-dragging masses, in which case it has to be as stupid, hand-holdy, right wing, and as filled with metaphors as possible in order for them to understand it and find it familiarly appealing, or you choose another demographic.

    I keep citing Pan’s Labyrinth, but that really wasn’t for the trash herd, was it? My point stands that the film industry has learned this lesson, but there’s this desperation amongst the videogames industry to strike a balance. The creative people are getting sick of making grey-brown military shooters for the knuckle-draggers and they’re leaving developers in droves to create their own studios, ready to either go it alone, try crowd-funding, or work out of their own pocket to create something they truly love. Yet when big business tries to appeal to smaller groups, they feel they’re not making enough money.

    So there’s this vicious circle.

    a.) Big business tries to cast the net wide to catch all demographics.
    b.) All demographics are alienated because it’s not for them, it’s not really for anyone.
    c.) Big business targets the knuckle-dragging majority with some dumb action adventure with a ‘badass’ Aryan hero, and makes money.
    d.) They keep doing that, since it made money.
    e.) The creative people get sick of working on that schlocky trash, they have integrity, so they leave.
    f.) Big business allows for some experimental game types in order to keep their creatives on the payroll.
    g.) That doesn’t make enough money for the greedy execs.
    h.) This brings us back to a.

    This has been how it is for a while, now. It’s just an endlessly perpetuating cycle. Which makes me wonder whether UT 4 is going to be a or f. I’m hoping for f, but… time will tell. It might be f, in which case it’s going to be a bit special, but it could also be a, which means it’s going to be UT 4 all over again.

    What are you up to, Epic?

    You need to tell us. I’d rather know sooner rather than later how I should feel about this.

    #4 8 months ago
  5. TheWulf

    If anyone’s curious as to the solution, which the big businesses haven’t been smart enough to figure out yet? Double Fine has it down pat, honestly. Instead of constantly developing blockbusters or small indie games, you set aside a medium-sized development team with the goal of creating a Playstation2 era game, aimed at a particular demographic. Don’t put too much money into it, and you’ll make enough off of the targeted demographic in order to actually be profitable. If you’re a big publisher, you can have multiple small teams doing this.

    So you can have smaller games being produced alongside the blockbusters. So you have your Call of Duties and whatnot, but you also have games with less staff and less of a budget being targeted at very specific demographics. For example, where Insomniac went wrong with Sunset Overdrive is they’ve tried to turn it into a summer blockbuster game. WRONG! They should have instead focused on making a smaller game which was more novel, I suggested a Ratchet & Clank game, or a spin-off about Captain Qwark, something like that. Something really zany and keeping true to the best of 3D platformers.

    There’s an underserved audience for them at the moment that wouldn’t want their next entry in that genre to be a bad Sonic game featuring a characterless human, filled with generic bad guys. One of the things that struck me about Sunset Overdrive is that they’re dialling the genericness up to 11 just to appeal to the trash herd, so we’ve heard nothing about the main character (the assumption is that he’s just an everyday guy), and the zombies are just… zombies.

    If they make it too strange, though — and they will — they lose their primary audience. The herd won’t be interested. So it’ll be a failure. I’m predicting Sunset Overdrive to be a failure right now. It’s just not got anything worthwhile to it.

    This is the pit trap I’m worried Epic will fall into with UT 4.

    Would it be so bad for them to make smaller games, with smaller budgets, and less fidelity? I wouldn’t mind playing a modern game with PS2-ish era graphics, honestly. I really wouldn’t give a damn about that. I’d just like to be able to play the games I’d like to play. And that’s how film works — you have your summer blockbusters for the knuckle-draggers, then you have your more intellectual and clever films, made with a somewhat more limited budget.

    What big business in the games industry has yet to realise is that these smaller budget titles would sell, if properly targeted at the right demographics. So, I just have the question of whether Epic knows this, and that’s what they’re doing, or whether this is just another misguided ‘appeal to everyone’ effort.

    Because, no, sorry, you can’t appeal to everyone. That’s impossible. You can appeal to a big group of people by going to the trash, the herd, those with next to no personality, eccentricity, or quantifiable individuality, those who just fetishise over their brands, their real world things, their boring little lives and so on. Yeah, you can make games that appeal to them, but your creative people will get bored of that eventually.

    So, yeah.

    I’m just waiting for them to figure it out.

    How long will it take them?

    Another 10 years?


    Within my lifetime, even?

    We’ll see.

    Maybe we’re on the precipice and they’re beginning to figure that out, now. Who knows?

    #5 8 months ago
  6. DoubleM

    @TheWulf Dude, stop writing essays on this site.

    #6 7 months ago

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