Our pal at Game Trailers, Geoff Keighley, will be debuting the demo of the next-gen Unreal Engine 4 graphics tech some time during E3 on Spike, but in the week before E3 he's breaking some Nintendo fan's hearts. He Tweeted last night that the Wii U, Nintendo's console that's close to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in terms of horsepower, will run the Unreal Engine 3 and appeared to dismiss the chance of it running the PS4/Xbox720-caliber Unreal Engine 4 tech.
Something Epic's Mike Capps said at the Game Developer's Conference.
The news tumbled out of Twitter today, and it's sourced in such a way that, hey, maybe things have changed? I reached out to a spokesperson at Unreal development house Epic Games. They tell me: "Unreal Engine 3 supports Wii U, of course. Mike didn't say that UE4 doesn't support Wii U; rather, he was saying that if developers want to make a Wii U game, we have UE3 for that. Beyond PC, we haven't confirmed UE4's supported platforms."
On the message board NeoGAF, Keighley offered this clarification: "Crazy thread! This isn't new news guys. When I interviewed Mike Capps at GDC for GTTV, I asked him on camera about whether UE4 was targeted for Wii-U, and he said that no, UE3 is more in line with Wii-U(or something like that). That's all I was referencing in the @ reply."
It would not be shocking for Nintendo's next console to not be able to run a major graphics engine that will likely power the visuals of many of the next generation of video games. The Wii did pretty well without being able to run Epic's Unreal Engine 3, but in the process missed the many, many games that used that tech, from Epic's Xbox-exclusive Gears of War to PS3/360 games such as Mass Effect and Batman: Arkham Asylum.
We'll see much more of the Wii U started next Tuesday during Nintendo's E3 press briefing. And if graphics matter a ton to potential fans of the Wii U, remember, the machine did run this last year — and needs to pump graphics to the screen in the controller as well as the one on your TV.