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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- November 12, 2002 - Original Xbox Release
- August ??, 2003 - Re-released under the Platinum Hits Xbox branding.
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. 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.
- 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.
- Main article: Music#Unreal Championship
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|
|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|
|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|
|Audio||Frank Bry, Lani Minella, Audio Godz, Jamey Scott|
|Studio Senior Vice President||Jean-Philippe Agati|
|Vice President of Product Development||Steve Ackrich|
|Executive Producer||Matt Powers|
|Senior Artist||Shawn Monroe|
|Vice President of Marketing||Steve Allison|
|Director of Marketing||Jean Raymond|
|Brand Manager||Richard Iggo|
|PR Manager||Matt Frary|
|PR Specialist||Wiebke Vallentin|
|Director of Editorial and Documentation Services||Liz Mackney|
|Manual Design and Layout||Chris Dawley|
|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|
|Senior Manager Engineering Services||Luis Rivas|
|Engineering Specialist||Ken Edwards|
|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|
|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.|
|Certification and Planning Support Group||Rebecka Pernered, Caroline Fauchille, Sophie Wilbaux, Jérôme Di Tullio|
|Legal Adviser||Aline Novel|
|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.
- "Unreal Championship Press Release". Infogrames (May 17, 2001). Archived from the original on June 23, 2001. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
- 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.
- "Digital Extremes Interview - Page 2". PlanetUnreal (November 12, 2002). Archived from the original on July 6, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
- Callaham, John (September 24, 2002). "Unreal Championship Interview". HomeLAN Fed. Archived from the original on October 17, 2002. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
- 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.
- Prophet (January 15, 2003). "Unreal Championship Update Details". GameSpy Daily. Archived from the original on March 1, 2003. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- "Starsky Partridge Game Credits". MobyGames. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
- Unreal Championship @ Wikipedia
|Unreal series: Unreal • Return to Na Pali • Unreal II|
|Tournament series: Unreal Tournament • UT2003 • UT2004 • UT3 • UT4|
|Championship series: Unreal Championship - Unreal Championship 2|
|Books: Unreal: Hard Crash - Unreal: Prophet's Power - Escape to Na Pali: A Journey to the Unreal|