Jan 29, 2013
Epic Games has released something potentially interesting on Android, a tech demo called Epic Citadel, which is also available for Kindle Fire. This allows players to explore a fantasy city in the setting of Infinity Blade, Epic and Chair Entertainment’s hit action-RPG series (that has inspired Android titles such as Horn and Juggernaut: Revenge of Sovering). Players can freely roam around using virtual joysticks to move and look, can take a guided tour, or enter a benchmarking mode that shows how the game’s framerate performs in various scenarios, with performance options available to be tweaked from the settings menu of the app.
Now, Epic Citadel certainly looks impressive, and people involved with the technology claim that it’s pushing new boundaries on Android. Tony Tamasi, SVP Content and Technology at Nvidia says “Epic Citadel features beautiful, high-performance graphics that are characteristic of mobile Unreal Engine games. Throughout the app’s development for Android, we worked closely with Epic Games to ensure that the visuals can be experienced on NVIDIA Tegra-based devices in all of their glory.”
The thing is this: Unreal Engine 3 has already been running on Android. Wild Blood, Dark Meadow: The Pact and Horn all use it. But much like how Epic Citadel presaged the release of Infinity Blade on iOS, could this be the first step to making the game come out on Android? It’s possible that exclusivity deals have ended, or the team has finally seen fit to push the game on Android, even though it’s been over a year since Infinity Blade II released.
However, the press release may indicate another reason for this release: support for Intel x86 processors that run Android – in layman’s terms, Android devices that use the same processor architecture that powers the overwhelming majority of Windows and Linux PCs, as well as modern Mac OS X systems. Mukesh Goel, Intel’s Director of Ecosystem Enabling, Mobile Communications Group, "Intel is very pleased to see Epic’s award-winning Unreal Engine 3 technology shipping on Android with full native support for x86. We’re especially excited by the tremendous performance being realized in ‘Epic Citadel’ on the Atom Z2460 platform.” In short, this tech demo release could just be a good omen for gamers across Android devices, that Epic wants to make Unreal Engine a real possibility for Android releases.
Right now for Android developers, the only way to get Android support is to use the full Unreal Engine 3, which can be costly to license. The low-cost UDK is not yet available on Android, and this could be the first step. So for gamers, more games that use this engine could be on the way. But considering the fact that Infinity Blade was mentioned by name by Epic in their press release, it’s hard not to consider the possibility that Android gamers won’t soon get to take on the God King for themselves, particularly since all this work likely wouldn’t have gone into just making a tech demo.