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Feature: Hands-on with Unreal Tournament III's upcoming Titan Pack

By John Gaudiosi

CARY, North Carolina – Epic Games isn't letting something like the bankruptcy filing of publisher Midway Games get in the way of keeping Unreal Tournament III gamers happy. Come March 5, Epic is unleashing the largest free bonus content to its bestselling game franchise for both PC and PlayStation 3 in the form of an 800MB patch. Due to Microsoft Xbox Live download limitations, this vast array of new gameplay maps, game modes and assorted goodies won't be available to Xbox 360 UT3 gamers now, or likely ever.

The Titan Pack bonus content introduces 11 new multiplayer maps for Deathmatch, CTF, Vehicle CTF and Warfare modes, plus eight popular maps from the first UT3 bonus pack and Xbox 360 version (you can check out details on all the new maps in our feature article - ed). In addition, players will experience two new game modes: Greed mode, a "tug of war" style kill points battle, and Betrayal mode, a cutthroat style of play where alliances and teams can shift fluidly throughout a match. The Titan Pack also rewards gamers for performing tasks like collecting all the power-ups in a level. There are 57 awards that can be attained as Steam Achievements for PC and Trophies for PS3.
"This is much bigger than any bonus pack in the past. Just in terms of maps alone, it's got 16 maps that you haven't seen before in PC and PS3 so that's much larger just in terms of maps," said Steve Polge, Epic Games' lead designer and lead programmer on the Unreal Engine 3 series. "Then on top of that we have the new vehicles and the new power-ups and deployables. We have new game types, and new Titan mutators, which is really fun and adds a new fresh strategy to all existing game types."

The Titan mutator is certainly the largest addition to the gameplay. As players accumulate points, a Titan meter fills up and one's avatar becomes a 15-foot-tall monstrosity armed with a powerful rocket launcher and the ability to pound the ground to and clear an entire area. Gamers can become a Behemoth by filling their meter as a Titan and unleash unlimited destruction for a short 30-second burst of time.

"When you're a Titan you're just extremely powerful, but at the same time you're limited because you can no longer do the game objectives," said Polge. "You can no longer pick up skulls in Greed, you can't pick up the flags in CTF, you can't capture nodes in Warfare, and so you are just like this big powerful support guy."

Gamers are sure to become hooked on the new Betrayal mode. The idea behind Betrayal is that players are on these fluid three-man teams that change throughout a game. At any time, players can kill enemies with a red blast by clicking the left mouse button or betray their teammates with a blue blast using the right mouse button.

"There is a team pot that accumulates one point for every enemy you kill," explained Polge. "If you betray one of your teammates, you grab all the points out of that pot, so there's a strategy as to when you should betray your teammates. And at the same time, everyone is looking at each other a little bit cautiously as you get together. A little dagger appears next to your name so players know how many times someone has betrayed a teammate. Once you have betrayed a teammate, you become a rogue for 30 seconds so during that time they have a chance to get payback and get retribution by killing you."

Other new toys to play with on the battlefield include the Stealthbender vehicle, which is essentially a modified Hellbender that can cloak like the Nightshade – although it moves slowly in cloak mode. The new X-Ray Field deployable can be set up like a trap and any enemies who enter the field are susceptible to damage. Bolge said the best strategy is to set this up as a choke point so it's easy to take enemies out – who happen to look like skeletons thanks to new lighting effects. The Slow Field power-up is portable and once deployed, it makes that player very hard to hit. Projectiles slow down as they come around you and it usually takes two guys to take down a player with this device turned on.

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