Unreal Tournament 2003 is the fourth entry in the Unreal series. It was developed by Epic Games and Digital Extremes, and was released to stores on September 30, 2002.

Synopsis Edit

In 2291, consensual murder is legalized, opening the way for a previously underground event. Smaller mining companies have been running smaller matches to channel aggression, but now the Liandri Mining Corporation established a professional league, which quickly proves to be an extremely lucrative way of public entertainment. Liandri entered into the Tournament, as it is officially called, sponsoring their own team, the Corrupt. The Corrupt's leader, Xan Kriegor, quickly achieved champion status and held it for two years. In 2293, a human named Malcolm dethroned him and became champion himself. A huge media figure, Malcolm is hailed as the biggest star in human history and is worshiped as a god. His success nets great rewards for his sponsoring corporation, attracting the attention of jealous rivals both in the arenas of the Tournament and in the corridors of power a galaxy away. Liandri attempted to win back the champion title with Xan MK2 but failed (unknown to the other contestants, each member of the Corrupt is purely robotic, including Xan).

Now it is 2302. The Tournament is undergoing a massive overhaul. The aging Sniper Rifle (a relic of centuries past) is removed from the Tournament as is "Assault" - a team-based event that forms a part of the competition. Many fans of the Tournament complain at these changes, with some combatants refusing to participate in the new format. Malcolm, shortly after his victory, hired two of his former opponents (Brock and Lauren, members of the former Iron Guard team) as teammates in his reformed Thunder Crash team. But the Axon Research Corporation, another of the four great corporations, entered the Tournament as well, sponsoring the geneboosted Juggernaut team, led by the brutal and savage Gorge.

Overview Edit

The game is a PC sequel to Unreal Tournament (UT99) (as Unreal Championship, the true sequel to UT99, is a console exclusive title.) Featuring Unreal Engine 2, UT2003 brings to the players a different level of experience, sporting an intense graphical and audio overhaul, as well as reworked gameplay featuring cool new additions. The PC players can now engage in a faster and more aggressive combat, while maintaining the basic gameplay mecha from the classics. A brand new roster of characters, on brand new arenas, and two brand new gametypes give the game a breath of fresh air. The game package is also topped with a serving of classic elements, to add to that feeling of nostalgia for the veteran players out there.

Development history Edit

Unreal Tournament 2003 was initially developed as Unreal Tournament 2, and was unofficially announced on December 3, 2001. It was officially announced by Infogrames (now Atari) on January 4, 2002. The game began development as a PC port of the then existing Unreal Championship code for the original Xbox named Unreal Tournament 2.[1] Initially, the game continued development alongside Unreal Championship and the two games were expected to be released around the same time in the summer of 2002. However, after E3 2002, it became clear to Epic and DE that they would be able to complete both UT2003 and Unreal Championship faster if each team was dedicated to one specific game, so Epic took over UT2003 allowing DE to focues on Unreal Championship.[2][3]

Around this time in the summer of 2002, someone working for ATI, who had received a pre-release copy of UT2003 to demo their new hardware, leaked it onto many popular P2P programs. This is sometimes referred to as the "927 beta".

Also around the time Epic took over the development of UT2003, Mark Rein began reporting that the demo would be out in "around two weeks". Every two weeks he would come back and say "it's going to be at least two more weeks". This led to a variety of jokes regarding Mark Rein and "two weeks". When the demo was actually nearing completion in mid-September, 2002, CliffyB set up a webcam that was pointed at a sign on the wall of Epic's office stating that the demo would be done in so much time, eventually coming down to hours. The demo was finally released September 13th, 2002.[4] The truth, according to some Epic employees, is that Epic delayed the release until they were happy with what they had.[3]

PlanetUnreal: "Can you briefly explain why UT2003 shipped nearly half a year later than originally planned? What caused all the delays?"
Tim Sweeney: "That's how much longer it took to get the game to the point where we were really happy with it. :-)"
Cliff Bleszinski: "We're really, really poor at predicting dates. This is something that we're continuing to work on and improve upon. It is important for a publisher to have a solid street date for a game in order to ramp up marketing and press awareness."

Exactly a week later on September 20th, the game went gold to much displeasure from the fans who were expecting Epic to spend more time fixing bugs that were being reported before the game was released on September 30, 2002.[5]

The demo for the game saw massive initial success.[6] Most download records at the time were broken upon it's release.[7]

The demo was released with four maps: DM-Antalus, DM-Asbestos, CTF-Citadel, and BR-Anubis.[8]

There were many small changes made between the demo and the retail version of the game. One of the largest of these changes being modifications to the link gun.

On February 19th, 2003, an updated demo was released. In addition to a number of bug fixes, it included an additional map: CTF-Orbital2.

Release dates Edit

Unreal Tournament 2003 had only one release. It was published by Atari and released to stores on September 30, 2002.

Other Unreal Tournament games have been released in a variety of formats, however UT2003 was skipped over even for the Unreal Anthology since almost all of it's content was also included in UT2004.

Game content Edit

Gamemodes Edit

Main article: Unreal Tournament 2003 Single player

Like Unreal Championship and Unreal Tournament 2004, the game features a Ladder mode where you draft your team and then rise up in the ladder until you become the champion.

Aside from this mode, UT2003 features eight gamemodes: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, Double Domination, Bombing Run, Last Man Standing, Invasion and Mutant. The last three modes are added with the Epic Bonus Pack. With the exception of BR, CTF and DDOM, the rest of the modes use the Deathmatch set of maps.

Bombing Run maps for Unreal Tournament 2003
Capture The Flag maps for Unreal Tournament 2003
Deathmatch maps for Unreal Tournament 2003
Double Domination maps for Unreal Tournament 2003

Characters Edit

Unlike Unreal Championship and Unreal Tournament 2004, this time the teams are mixed, as in, formed with different characters regarding of race. Races present in the game are the same as those in Unreal Championship.

Three new characters are present in 2003: Malcolm, Brock and Lauren.

Weapons Edit

The weapon roster is almost the same as Unreal Championship, the only difference is that it also includes the Redeemer.

Ball Launcher Translocator Shield Gun Assault Rifle Bio Rifle Shock Rifle Link Gun Minigun Flak Cannon Rocket Launcher Lightning Gun Redeemer Ion Painter

Items Edit

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

Soundtrack Edit

Main article: Music#Unreal Tournament 2003

Starsky Partridge (Digital Extremes) and Kevin Riepl (Epic Games) are credited for creating the music of Unreal Tournament 2003.

The UT2003 soundtrack contains grand orchestral scores, hard rock and minimalistic electronic songs. Starsky Partridge was also responsible for the music for Unreal II, and Unreal Championship.

Reception Edit

The game set a record for the number of downloads (1.2 million) when the demo was released, which is a reflection of the popularity of the original UT. In addition, the game engine has been widely licensed for games such as the Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six series, Splinter Cell, and America's Army.

UT2003 has received mostly disappointing reviews, because it did not have the impact that its 1999 predecessor had. One reason was increased competition, with Halo: Combat Evolved, Tribes 2, and Battlefield 1942. These games had raised the bar for the multiplayer first-person shooter gaming by including vehicles and more complex teamplay.

Fans of the series thought the new gameplay features detracted from the fun of the original game and stopped playing. Critiques of the game mostly often included double jumping, dodge jumping, the inclusion of adrenaline, and the overall reduction in damage and effectiveness of all of the weapons aside from hitscan. A few months after the release of the game, a fairly strong, small community rose up around the game and lasted until the release of Unreal Tournament 2004.

Essential Files Edit

Main article: Essential files#Unreal Tournament 2003
Main article: Bonus content#Unreal Tournament 2003

Here you can find a list of official and unofficial, yet essential, files for your game.

Trivia Edit

  • UT2003 contains several Easter eggs (e.g. a hidden vehicle) to hint at future potential for the series. Unreal Tournament 2004, the similar but highly refined sequel with added game types, arrived in 2004 and completely replaced UT2003 on store shelves. UT2004 boxes sold in the United States include a voucher that, along with proof of having bought UT2003, gives a discount for UT2004.
  • Unreal Tournament 2003 was originally named Unreal Tournament 2 but the name was changed by Digital Extremes to give the game more of a sports theme feel.
  • The alternate box art features Cannonball with the Ball from Bombing Run as the highlighted character, alongside Prism and Damarus.
  • A number of copies of the game came with a misprinted manual. Instead of the regular black text, the booklet was printed in orange text and was difficult to read. This prompted Epic to release a PDF version of the game manual.[9]
  • Assault was removed from Unreal Tournament 2003, because it "did not fit into the sports nature of UT'03". This is also the reason of why Bombing Run is replacing it.[10]
  • DM-Gestalt was considered for this game, but ended up being released for Unreal Tournament 2004.[10]
  • BR-DE-ElecFields and CTF-DE-LavaGiant2 were considered for this game, but the team couldn't finish them in time, so these were released instead with the DE Bonus Pack.[10]
  • CTF-Lethargic was also considered for this game, but wasn't released at all.[10]
  • DOM-Ixcorra was another map which didn't made the cut for UT2003 or UT2004. It was described as "a large iron alien structure in a surrounding outdoor setting".[10]
  • Two missing weapons from the game which were mentioned in previews are the "Ion Cannon" (no relationship with the one which appears in AS-RobotFactory) and the "Lobster Gun".[10] Jokingly enough, Juan Pancho 'XceptOne' Eekels said about the latter:[11]
"Yep, we caught this little sucker off the coast of Nova Scotia and thought it was so cool that we made a gun for UT2003 that closely resembled it. But we ended up eating the sea crawler and the actual gun in the game mysteriously dissapeared. Maybe it's still there, who knows."
- Juan Pancho 'XceptOne' Eekels
  • There was a consideration for a Survival mode, and the SP campaign used it.[11]
  • There was consideration for vehicles, something which was only fully implemented in Unreal Tournament 2004.[12]

External links and references Edit

  1. Unreal Tournament 2 Exists!
  2. Epic Takes Over UT2003 Development
  3. 3.0 3.1 PlanetUnreal's interview to Cliff Bleszinski and Tim Sweeney
  4. Demo downloaded by over 1.2 million people in just five days
  5. UT2003 Goes Gold!
  6. BU Running slow after UT2003 demo release
  7. Internet slows to a chug after UT2003 demo release
  8. UT2003 Demo Released
  9. PDF version of the game manual
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 UT2003 Preview @ BU
  11. 11.0 11.1 Pancho Eekels Interview @ BU
  12. James Schmalz Q&A @ BU

See also Edit

Unreal (series)
Unreal series: UnrealReturn to Na PaliUnreal II
Tournament series: Unreal TournamentUT2003UT2004UT3UT4
Championship series: Unreal Championship - Unreal Championship 2