The new Unreal Tournament has been in development for a little while. But marketing a fast-paced, PC-only arena shooter in 2016 is a tough proposition. Gamers' tastes have changed. And Epic hasn't quite worked out the perfect way to sell UT yet.
But that's starting to change.
If you haven't played the latest Unreal Tournament, you should definitely do so: it's free-to-play, supremely well optimised and works pretty flawlessly offline, which is a big plus for playing at LANs.
More importantly, it's got a new map. Underland, to be precise. The key here is that Underland is one of the fully finished maps, with no placeholder or work-in-progress assets. It's a thing of beauty.
And even more crucially — Epic found the perfect way to advertise it.
Epic has been producing highlight videos and frag reels for the new UT for a while now. But this is one of the first ones that actually communicates what it's like being in that moment when you're pulling off something amazing.
Not all of the frags are worth showing. The solo kills with miniguns, link guns and pistols are pretty pointless. But the music is spot on. It makes me want to fire up an instagib session over lunchtime with bots. It's perfect.
It's how the new Unreal Tournament should have been advertised from the start: as gorgeous gaming poetry. Because that's what it's like to nail someone in the face five miles high with a rocket, or to perfectly blow someone's eyeball off with a sniper rifle as they fall into the abyss. It's a special moment.
Finally, Epic gets it.