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Unreal Championship is the third entry in the Unreal series, and the first launched for the Microsoft Xbox console. It was co-developed by Epic Games and Digital Extremes, and released on September 24, 2002. It was released only six days prior to the release of Unreal Tournament 2003, the fourth entry in the series.


"Over a century has passed since Liandri Corporation first began the tournaments, and while the tradition lives on, much has changed in the world around it...

Seventy years ago an invasion fleet appeared in Human space, wiping out virtually all resistance before it could begin. Humanity, a race that had taken pride in its freedom, suddenly found itself bound by the shackles of an ancient race vastly superior in numbers and technology.

The empire quickly established a foothold among the worlds of its latest acquirement, using propaganda and brute force where necessary. Those who swore allegiance to the Emperor found that life wasn't so different under the new rule, and for some it even improved. But for those who would not kneel before their new rulers, death awaited them on the prison planets scattered across the sectors.

The Emperor and his counsel, at first repulsed by the idea of the tournaments, soon began to see the advantage of providing the populace with a form of entertainment that both enraptured the viewers and reminded them where disobedience would lead them.

Arena worlds were picked from the harshest of the prison planets, and the training began. People who had watched the Liandri Tournaments with savage glee found themselves on the arena floors fighting for their lives again and again, as the alien technology ripped them back from the brink of death until their minds finally collapsed under the strain.

Examples were made of the more vocal dissidents, each broken and remade in the image of the darkest nightmares, to show the scorn the Emperor felt for the weaklings who opposed him. Not all the participants took part unwillingly. A race of beings previously unknown slaughtered the new combatants with reckless abandon, taking pride in the ease at which they butchered the new meat. For all they cheered during each battle, every time another Human died, the spirit of the men and women who watched grew weaker.

Now that the tournaments have become a fixture of the Empire's power, the aristocracy has begun to take part as well, in carefully orchestrated battles that pose no real danger to their lives. Unlike their prisoners, these Highborn can not use the resurrection technology so readily available, without losing their status as ones tainted by madness. To kill a Highborn is to kill him forever.

The only hope for mankind is that a champion will rise from the ashes of their civilization and succeed against all odds to hold the Emperor's life in their hands. That champions name was Nefarious. He was the greatest Unreal champion to ever grace the arena. After winning and earning his place in tournament history at the expense of his comrades lives and proving that he was the most fiercest and brutal competitor, he and those falling by his hand were saluted and a truly fitting reward was offered to the Unreal champion. The reward was that of immortality. He refused and in turn asked for his freedom. In doing so, his name and record was erased from history and Nefarious is said to have been executed for his insolence. Others have claimed that his wish for freedom was granted and he left the fame and power only to head towards the border edge of the galaxy to the desolate planet of Pandora to be left alone. Whatever his fate may be, he will be remembered as the greatest Unreal champion to have ever competed."
Unreal Championship manual


The game is essentially a console version game of the PC-based Unreal Tournament 2003, developed specifically to take advantage of Xbox Live, Microsoft's online gaming service. In 2003 Unreal Championship was added to Microsoft's "Platinum Hits" line of Xbox games. It was followed in 2005 by Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict, also for Xbox.

Development history[]

Unreal Championship began its life as a product of Digital Extremes. It was announced in May 17, 2001, roughly a year and a half after UT was released.[1]

Electronic Entertainment Expo Booth #824



Unreal Championship Set to Dominate The First-Person Action Genre In The Console Market

LOS ANGELES, CA – May 17, 2001 – Infogrames, Inc. (Nasdaq: IFGM) a leading global publisher of interactive entertainment software, unveiled Unreal Championship at E3 today. A first-person action game built from the ground up by Digital Extremes, part of the team responsible for Unreal and Unreal Tournament, is coming exclusively to the Xboxä video game system from Microsoft in Spring 2002.

“With the astonishing graphics and technical capabilities of Xbox, coupled with ‘bot’-blasting explosive gameplay and tons of brand new features, Unreal Championship will be the definitive action game for Microsoft’s new video game system.” said Laddie Ervin, director of marketing at Infogrames, Inc.’s Los Angeles label. “The console market is ready for a leader in this genre on next generation systems and Unreal Championship is poised to take that spot.”

"Having co-developed Unreal and Unreal Tournament with Digital Extremes, we feel they are the perfect partner to continue delivering the excellence required in a next generation Unreal product,” remarked Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games. “James Schmalz and his team are building a top notch Xbox game from the ground up."

Developed by Digital Extremes, Unreal Championship uses the latest Unreal technology by Epic Games in building a brilliant single player experience combined with an unparalleled multi-player component. Additional features include all new characters and weapons; land, air and team-based vehicles; exotic levels and environments as well as new game modes and some old favorites.
“Our past experience with Unreal and Unreal Tournament has provided us with an excellent foundation to create a killer console product based in the Unreal universe,” said James Schmalz, lead designer at Digital Extremes. “With Unreal Championship for Xbox we are raising the bar on first-person action games; and the latest Unreal technology on Xbox is allowing us to do that on all fronts.”

With the addition of terrain technology to the Unreal engine, this title will feature over 30 brand new exotic indoor and outdoor locales. By combining the capabilities of Xbox and the Unreal engine, environments will feature such jaw-dropping effects as volumetrically lit—wind affected smoke, particle effects allowing sparks to bounce off individual branches on a tree, and fog that actually moves when solid objects pass through it.

Other exciting new features include brand new highly individualized characters with high polygon counts and high-resolution textures. In addition, characters will have specific animations and individual background profiles.

The game will also feature Internet play with up to 32 players online simultaneously, up to 4-player spilt-screen, and system link play. Unreal Championship for Xbox will be available in most retail stores in Spring 2002.

About Digital Extremes
Digital Extremes, based in London, Ontario Canada and established in 1993, is a developer of cutting-edge PC and video games. The company is best known as the co-developer, with Epic Games based in Raleigh, NC, of the award-winning PC 3D action games Unreal and Unreal Tournament as well as a series of successful computer pinball games that began with the extremely popular Epic Pinball. For more information, visit www.digitalextremes.com.

About Xbox
Xbox (http://www.xbox.com/) is Microsoft’s future-generation video game system that delivers new and unforeseen game play experiences. With more than three times the graphics performance of the newest generation of game systems, Xbox unleashes game designers’ creativity to produce games that are challenging, exhilarating, surprising, and fun.

About Infogrames
Infogrames, Inc. (Nasdaq: IFGM) is a leading publisher and distributor of video games for consoles (Sony, Sega, Nintendo, and Microsoft), personal computers and Macintosh systems. The company’s award-winning franchises include Alone In The Dark, Driver, Deer Hunter, Test Drive, and Unreal. Infogrames, Inc.’s Humongous Entertainment division is a leader in children’s entertainment software and its Macintosh publishing label, Macsoft, is the number one publisher of Macintosh entertainment software. Based in New York, NY, Infogrames, Inc. is a majority-owned subsidiary of France-based Infogrames Entertainment SA (Euronext 5257) and serves as the headquarters for the company’s operations in North America.
Founded in 1983, Infogrames Entertainment SA is a global publisher and distributor of video games for all platforms, as well as interactive digital television, mobile smart devices (WAP, HDML) and in-flight entertainment systems. With Infogrames Entertainment SA’s recent acquisition of Hasbro Interactive, the company now boasts a line of software based on well-known licenses such as Monopoly, Jeopardy, Tonka, and Atari. For more information, visit Infogrames’ US Web site at www.us.infogrames.com."
Press Release

According to Dave Ewing, the game took about a year and a half of development. James Schmalz adds that nearly 23 developers were working full-time on the game, and Steve Sinclair says that the biggest hurdle the dev team had was the support for Xbox Live.[2]

As is usual on game development, many ideas and features were cut or didn't pass the planning phase such as crossplay with the PC version (which was dropped because there were too many things to bear in mind to make this a possibility) and user-made custom content (which got cut due to a lot of "cross-platform issues"). UC was also intended to be a more massive game with up to 64 players on one enormous map and would feature drivable vehicles, as the beta version of BR-IceFields can attest, which were eventually cut because they created a lot of issues such as memory constraints and problems with map sizes that would take the focus from the real work that needed to be done on the game. Vehicles eventually found their way onto Unreal Tournament 2004, though.[2][3][4]

As for the stuff that didn't made in from the beginning, the Ripper got taken out because it was a very 'spammy' weapon, and kills were racked up mostly due to randomness, and the Arena mutator used to checklist certain guns, but it had weird interaction with other mutators, so it got simplified. Autododge was disabled was because too many people were doing it by accident during the testing phase, since it's pretty sensitive. Also, some PC maps in 2003 got taken out of Championship because their layout didn't translate well to console play, whereas other maps were too big memory-wise to be included in UC; on the other hand, the ten console-exclusive maps were designed with console play in mind. Finally, the Shock Rifle was also nerfed in hopes to prevent the overspecialization in one weapon.[2]

Release dates[]

  • November 12, 2002 - Original Xbox Release
  • August ??, 2003 - Re-released under the Platinum Hits Xbox branding.

Post-release content[]

Unreal Championship is the first console game ever to receive a downloadable patch. This caused a lot of controversy over the viability of post-release game patches for console games. Some of the exploits fixed by this patch are stats, balancing of teams and getting outside of the boundaries of the maps, as well as some exploits involving the T.A.G. Rifle. It also tackles some problems with frame rate in some maps and implements real-time voice control.[5] According to James Schmalz, work on this patch began roughly 3-4 weeks after the game shipped, and the decision to ship it came after reviewing the forums and hearing the feedback from fans about exploits that started to pop up. He also ensured that the patch would be backwards-compatible (i.e. people who don't want to download the update would still be able to join the game's servers). The update also contained performance boosts by tuning off certain graphical options.[6]

Also released for the game as a free downloadable is a Bonus Pack composed of four maps: CTF-OtarosRun, DM-Aqua_Mortis, DM-Inferno and DM-LeviathanB.

Game content[]


Main article: Unreal Championship Single player

The game features a single-player ladder similar to those of 2003 and 2004, where the player drafts a team and rise up in the Tournament ladder until the final matches. It also features six botmatch/multiplayer gametypes: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, Double Domination, Survival and Bombing Run. While CTF, BR and DDOM use their own set of maps, DM, TDM and Survival use the Deathmatch set of maps.

Bombing Run maps for Unreal Championship
Capture the Flag maps for Unreal Championship
Bonus Pack maps: 
Deathmatch maps for Unreal Championship
Bonus Pack maps: 
Double Domination maps for Unreal Championship


The game featured the same six races of Unreal Tournament 2003 with the same array of characters. Some of them were renamed and their bios changed, though.


The regular arsenal of Unreal Tournament 2003 can also be found here, with the exception of the Redeemer.

Ball Launcher Translocator Shield Gun Assault Rifle Bio Rifle Shock Rifle Link Gun Minigun Flak Cannon Rocket Launcher Lightning Gun T.A.G. Rifle


Health Vial Health Pack Big Keg O' Health Shield Pack Super Shield Pack Adrenaline Double Damage



Main article: Music#Unreal Championship

The game's music was written by Starsky Partridge.[7]

Title & Author(s) Duration Used in
"Level 1" by Starsky Partridge 07:02 BR-EyeOfJahan, DM-Asbestos
"Level 2" by Starsky Partridge 05:47 Menu music, CTF-LavaGiant2
"Level 3" by Starsky Partridge 03:14 BR-Endagra, DM-Compressed, DM-SG1, DM-SG2, DM-SG3
"Level 4" by Starsky Partridge 04:36 CTF-Chrome, DM-Aqua_Mortis
"Level 5" by Starsky Partridge 05:48 BR-Kalendra, DM-Flux2
"Level 6" by Starsky Partridge 05:31 CTF-Smote, DM-LeviathanB, DOM-SepukkuGorge
"Level 7" by Starsky Partridge 04:48 DM-Insidious, DOM-Deserted
"Level 8" by Starsky Partridge 03:35 BR-Adrift, DM-Antalus
"Level 9" by Starsky Partridge 04:21 BR-Disclosure, DM-Molten
"Level 10" by Starsky Partridge 04:49 DM-Inferno, DOM-ScorchedEarth
"Level 11" by Starsky Partridge 03:35 BR-Anubis, CTF-OtarosRun, DM-Osiris2
"Level 12" by Starsky Partridge 04:58 CTF-Maul, DM-Curse3
"Level 13" by Starsky Partridge 04:48 CTF-Orbital2, DM-Vidona
"Level 14" by Starsky Partridge 04:24 CTF-LostFaith, DOM-Suntemple
"Level 15" by Starsky Partridge 03:40 CTF-Citadel, DOM-Frigid, Ending cutscene/video
"Level 16" by Starsky Partridge 04:15 CTF-Geothermal, DM-Gael
"Menu Music" by Starsky Partridge 03:39
"Victory" by Starsky Partridge 00:29 End of match (Victory)


The game was not well received since it didn't offer many features that were promised, even though the game's box cover mentioned those features as available out of the box, or through future downloads. This disappointed many buyers.


Credits of Unreal Championship
Digital Extremes
Programming Adriano Bertucci, Jeff Jam, Glen Mirior, Tony Pilger, Steve Sinclair, Justin Smith
Character Models & Animations James Edwards, Steve Jones
Art & Models Mike Bastien, Geoff Crookes, Pancho Eekels, Dave Ewing, Bastiaan Frank, Mike Leatham, Scott McGregor, Tony Pilger, Everton Richards, Dan Sarkar, James Schmalz, Cassidy Scott, Matt Tremblay, Mario Vazquez
PR Director Meridith Brown
Level Design Mike Bastien, Pancho Eekels, Dave Ewing, Bastiaan Frank, Scott McGregor, James Schmalz, Cassidy Scott
Sound & Music Starsky Partridge
Writer & Localization Mike Wagner
Voice Actors Shannon Ewing, Nancy Risi, Troy Woods
Additional Concept Art & Miscellaneous Works
Additional textures Christian Bradley
Models & Art Evelyn Eekels
Concept art & character models Bryan Griffith
Art direction, character art, additional art Martin Murphy
Epic Games
Producer Cliff Bleszinski
Programming Michael Corneau, Erik de Neve, James Golding, Ryan C. Gordon, Christoph A. Loewe, Warren Marshall, Steven Polge, Jack Porter, Andrew Sceidecker, Tim Sweeney, Daniel Vogel, Joe Wilcox
Art & Level Design Cliff Bleszinski, Shane Caudle, Cedric Fiorentino, Steve Garofalo, Warren Marshall, John Mueller, Chris Perna, Lee Perry, Joe Wilcox, Alan Willard
Animation John Root, Chad Schoonover
Biz Mark Rein, Jay Wilbur
Office Manager Anne Dube
Music Kevin Riepl
Audio Frank Bry, Lani Minella, Audio Godz, Jamey Scott
Infogrames N.A.
Studio Senior Vice President Jean-Philippe Agati
Vice President of Product Development Steve Ackrich
Producer Tim Hess
Executive Producer Matt Powers
Senior Artist Shawn Monroe
Vice President of Marketing Steve Allison
Director of Marketing Jean Raymond
Brand Manager Richard Iggo
Public Relations
PR Manager Matt Frary
PR Specialist Wiebke Vallentin
Director of Editorial and Documentation Services Liz Mackney
Manual Design and Layout Chris Dawley
Marketing Services
Senior Art Director David Gaines
Director of Marketing Communications Kristine Keever
Senior Web Producer Kyle Peschel
Web Designer Micah Jackson
Online Marketing Manager Sara Borthwick
VP Legal and Business Affairs Steve Madsen
Engineering Services
Senior Manager Engineering Services Luis Rivas
Engineering Specialist Ken Edwards
QA Group
Director of Publishing Support Services Michael Gilmartin
Director of Quality Assurance Michael Craighold
Quality Assurance Testing Manager Donny Clay
Quality Assurance Lead Tester Helen Hinchcliffe
Quality Assurance Testers Marshall Clevesy, Michael Maggard, Gerard Gust, Franco Junio, Daniyel Garcia, Eugenio Lai, Michael Shamsid Deen, Arthur Long, Howell Selburn, Joe Edwards, Stefan M. Nelson, Brian Cali, Scott Barnes, Noah Perlite, Juan Sanchez
Strategic Relations Sr. Manager Joy Schneer
Logo & Package Design
BD Fox & Friends, Brett 'Yes, Tina' Wooldridge, Tina 'Mother knows best' Tanen, Big Sesh Studios
Technology Group Gus Apostol, Steven Brandl, Sam Charchian, George Chrysanthakopoulos, Brent E. Curtis, Michael Dougherty, Tracey Frankcom, Aaron Giddings, John Harding, Brad Lansford, Joe Melin, Michael Mounier, Chris Prince, Sandra Rumsey, Scott Selfon, John Smith, Ben Steenbock, Gary Svenson, Dustin Wood, Mikey Wetzel, Xbox Advanced
Infogrames Europe
Head of ICQ Jean-Marcel Nicolai
Re-Publishing Rebecka Pernered, Raphaelle Jonnery
Software Functionality Testing Olivier Robin, Stéphane Pradier
Engineering Services Manager Philippe Louvet
Pre-mastering co-ordinator Stéphane Enteric
Localisation Support Group Sylviane Pivot-Chossat, Maud Faivier, Diane Delaye, Karine Vallet, Heather Riddoch, Bruno Pivano
Localisation Testing Babel Media Ltd.
Translation KBP, Synthesis
Certification and Planning Support Group Rebecka Pernered, Caroline Fauchille, Sophie Wilbaux, Jérôme Di Tullio
Copywriter Vincent Hattenberger
Legal Adviser Aline Novel
Group Manufactirung
Manager Jake Tombs
Senior Manufactirung
Coordinator Pauline Nam
Media Studio Eric Baesa, Neil Baltzer
Design Agency A Creative Experience
European Web Manager Renaud Marin
Marketing Vice President Larry Sparks
Marketing Director Frank Heissat
Marketing Manager Cindy Church
Product Manager Mathieu Brossette
European Head of Communication Matt Broughton
Head of Communication Lynn Daniel


  • At some point, someone discovered that a player could lock onto another player and still remain locked onto that player while turning around or switching weapons. When the player did that and shot three rockets at another player in open areas, the physics of the rockets would malfunction and make the rockets move faster. If a player tried to dodge them, they would almost do an S-curve, swing back around, and hit the player right in the face. Many online players referred to this technique as "Rocket Whoring". It got this name because it could be exploited on servers with auto-aim disabled when using characters whose weapon affinity was the Rocket Launcher. The most typical character was "Memphis," which combined with the Anuban class' air control boost, make the rocket glitch somewhat easier to dodge. There is an assortment of maneuvers a player can do to avoid being hit, but they are difficult and therefore annoying. When Digital Extremes halted development on the game, the spamminess of the rocket glitch came to be considered one of the biggest reasons that the game's online community failed shortly after the patch was released.


External links and references[]

  1. "Unreal Championship Press Release". Infogrames (May 17, 2001). Archived from the original on June 23, 2001. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Various (January 29, 2003). "Chat with the Developers of Unreal Championship". Xbox.com. Archived from the original on January 9, 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  3. "Digital Extremes Interview - Page 2". PlanetUnreal (November 12, 2002). Archived from the original on July 6, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  4. Callaham, John (September 24, 2002). "Unreal Championship Interview". HomeLAN Fed. Archived from the original on October 17, 2002. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  5. Eekels, Juan Pancho (January 10, 2003). "Update in the works *big post*". Infogrames Forums. Archived from the original on April 13, 2003. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  6. Prophet (January 15, 2003). "Unreal Championship Update Details". GameSpy Daily. Archived from the original on March 1, 2003. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  7. "Starsky Partridge Game Credits". MobyGames. Retrieved April 17, 2019.

See also[]

Unreal (series)
Unreal series: UnrealReturn to Na PaliUnreal II
Tournament series: Unreal TournamentUT2003UT2004UT3UT4
Championship series: Unreal Championship - Unreal Championship 2
Books: Unreal: Hard Crash - Unreal: Prophet's Power - Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal