Epic Games is turning off Unreal Tournament, but there’s a silver lining
Epic Games announced the closure of several “out-of-date” online servers, but keen-eyed Steam users have spotted a silver lining.
Epic Games has announced the closure of over a dozen online game services as the company moves to support its online offerings only with its unified friends system, voice chat features, parental controls, and parental verification features. The closure was announced today on Epic Games’ official website.
With the announcement, Epic Games has effectively ended online support for the entirety of the Unreal Tournament series, save Unreal Tournament 3, which Epic has “plans to bring back online features via Epic Online Services in the future.” However, this means Unreal Gold, Unreal II: The Awakening, Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year Edition, Unreal Tournament 2003, and Unreal Tournament 2004 will cease their online operation, leaving only small private servers running the game.
About Unreal Tournament
Unreal Tournament is widely regarded as one of the most beloved arena shooters of the early 2000s. Along with Quake 3 Arena, UT paved the way for modern shooters such as Halo and Overwatch, pioneering the Capture the Flag formats.
Its sequels, 2003 and 2004, were part of an attempt to create a yearly franchise akin to Madden NFL or FIFA. But, despite a strong start in ’03 and the addition of vehicle combat in ’04 (to compete with the intensely popular Halo), the series fell out of favor. 2007 was the last time the game received an entry.
UT and its sequels are still available to play online on Epic Games until January 24, but local play will remain accessible. The list of affected games, including several Rock Band titles, can be found here.
Hope for the future?
With the removal of the series comes a silver lining, though. Keen-eyed Steam users spotted that a new version of Unreal Tournament 3 had been revealed on the platform. Unreal Tournament 3 X is seemingly fully appealing to the boomer shooter audience with its proclamation of “No microtransactions and no strings attached. This is the fully-featured, award-winning first-person shooter you fell in love with… completely free.”
At the time of writing, the Steam page stated, “This title is currently unavailable and will be available in the future. Stay tuned!” and “Notice: Unreal Tournament 3 X is no longer available on the Steam store.” The latter is likely because this version of UT3 uses the same Steam App ID (13210) as the original UT3 released on the platform in 2009.
So, for now, get in as much UT as possible, and hope this newer version will launch in time for Epic’s closure of the service. See you on Facing Worlds!