The Wii U / Unreal Engine 4 Saga Continues [UPDATED]

With each new iteration of the Unreal Engine, the wow factor increases for our industry.  Today, we were gifted with an eye-melting new trailer showing us the power of Unreal 4.

Spiffy, no? However, we also get some disheartening news today. Via Kotaku:

I figured I\’d ask straight-out, so during the Q&A with Rein, I did. \”Will UE4 run on the Wii U?\”

\”Hahaha no.\” Rein said, with expert comedic timing. The room erupted with laughter. As the laughs died down, Rein continued: \”I mean, sorry, it’s not really a correct answer. We\’re not… we have Unreal Engine 3 for the Wii U. Right? And Unreal Engine 3 is powering all kinds of amazing games, still lots of games are being made with Unreal Engine 3. We announced today about a new Unreal Engine 3 license. Unreal Engine 3 doesn\’t disappear because of Unreal Engine 4. But our goal for Unreal Engine 4 console-wise is next-gen consoles. That’s really what our energies are focused on. If you want to make a Wii U game, we have Unreal Engine 3, and it’s powering some of the best games on the Wii U already.

\”Nothing controversial, guys,\” he jokingly chided.

Except that may indeed be controversial.  About four months ago, Rein told Videogamer something a bit different:

\”I\’ll state that I don\’t think it’s our intention to bring Unreal Engine 4 to Wii U, but Unreal Engine 4 is going to be supremely scalable.

\”We\’ll run on mobile phones and on a wide variety of things, so if a customer decides they want to port an Unreal Engine 4 game to Wii U, they could. But Unreal Engine 3 is a really good fit for that platform.\”

So, if you\’re keeping score at home, UE4 is \”supremely scalable\” (as of December 2012) and will even have a version that works on smart phones.  But, for some reason, not the Wii U (as of March 2013).  Of course, as quoted by Kotaku, Rein tried to immediately backtrack a bit and qualify.  All the same, it seems a touch odd, doesn\’t it?

UPDATE – In a rare act of actual gaming journalism, IGN managed to ask a follow-up question on this topic, and wound up with a more nuanced answer, leading them to the following conclusion:

So while UE4 proper won\’t make its way onto Wii U, Rein explains that developers are capable of porting software powered by the engine.

That is much more in line with Rein’s previous response on the issue (and also with his hedging in the original Kotaku piece, in which he stated that his \”no\” was actually \”not really a correct answer\”).  IGN couldn\’t quite manage to get the headline correct on their article, but kudos to them on providing a bit more context.  It looks like we\’re right back to where we started in December: Epic won\’t be making UE4 games for Wii U, but developers who license UE4 should (in theory) be able to be port their software to the system.

UPDATE II – Some further clarification, straight from the horse’s mouth.

A mysterious Nintendo Enthusiast writer. Probably StarScream.