Back in 2009, I reported that Epic Games would not be releasing its successor to the heavily used Unreal Engine 3 until a loose timeframe of “2012 to 2018″, supposedly to let technology catch up and evolve to a point where a new engine is necessary. Now, according to an interview with Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney by IGN, it looks like that time is going to be “probably around 2014″. Yes, it’s still a few years away, but now that many computers have more than the 2 cores available when the 3rd version released, Epic is looking at ways to use up to 20 processing cores efficiently. This process results in long research and rewrite hours, something Sweeney claims is currently taking up 60% of his time.
Now don’t go updating your PCs just yet (unless you’re prepping for Skyrim or the upcoming 2.0 patch for The Witcher 2), as Epic Games will not release the engine until both the technology and the industry is ready. That 2014 “maybe” could turn into a 2018 “probably” in no time flat. The technology in the upcoming Wii U might be impressive, but I doubt these improvements will warrant more than an update to the 3rd engine.