In an interview with Gamespot, Fabrice Cuny of Ubisoft answered questions on one of the publisher’s launch titles for the 3DS, Splinter Cell 3D and among the usual banter came the shock revelation that despite earlier reports, the 3DS is capable of running the Unreal Engine 3.
Mark Rein from Epic Games, makers of Unreal, came out a while back and said Nintendo’s new handheld just isn’t powerful enough for the engine sparking a frenzy of trash talk from gamers who were stunned at how a brand new system could be weaker than two year old mobile phones. For whatever reason, Ubisoft have managed to get the epitome of game engines working with Cuny downplaying reports that the 3DS is equivalent to a Wii in terms of processing power: “The 3DS is powerful, and we are able to run the Unreal engine on this console, which is pretty impressive for a handheld machine, and the 3D doesn’t affect the performance (thanks to my amazing programmers). The architecture is different compared to a Wii or some other platforms that we had to work with here at Ubisoft Montreal.”
From what I’ve seen of the 3DS, the platform is capable of some wonderful things. It’s unfair to judge a system’s overall power on its launch title but even games like Super Street Fighter 3D looks impressive and it can only get better from here. Just how well the Unreal Engine does run and if the textures and polygonal count suffer when ported down to the 3DS is unclear but Cuny sounded reassuringly pleased with the performance. The engine itself has been used for all manner of games some more clever at hiding the fact then others. It’s not just cover-based shooters but platformers and fighters who are powered by Unreal so the fact Ubisoft claim they can get it working and working well is good news indeed. Whether they decide to share just how their coders got it working however is a different story altogether.