Android gaming just got a nice little shot in the arm with the release of Epic Citadel, an impressive tech demo based on Unreal Engine 3.
Epic Citadel isn't a full game, but it does show off the 3D graphics prowess of Epic Games's engine by allowing players to roam freely through the demo's medieval environment. More notably, it's the first Android app developed in-house by Epic Games, which suggests that more Android games from Epic could be on the way.
Epic Citadel first appeared on iOS devices in the fall of 2010. A few months later, Epic released Infinity Blade, which quickly became one of the most-popular paid games on the iPhone and iPad.
Epic won't say whether it's planning to release Infinity Blade or its sequel for Android devices. A representative told PCWorld in an email that the Infinity Blade series remains an iOS exclusive.
The company's official line is that it's done a lot of testing on a wide range of Android devices and that all of its work gets rolled back into the Unreal Engine. That work is then shared with game developers who license the engine. In other words, Epic Citadel is just a way to show gamers and developers what's possible.
Still, it's hard not to see a bit of foreshadowing in this quote from Jay Wilbur, vice president of Epic Games: “'Epic Citadel' is our first internally developed product to be released to Android users.” Here's hoping it won't be the last.
Unfortunately, Epic's hesitation to release Android games may not be about technical limitations. Donald Mustard, the founder of Epic Games subsidiary Chair Entertainment, told Mashable in 2011 that Android app piracy was the company's main concern. The good news is that Android 4.1 includes device-specific encryption for paid apps, so there's a chance that Epic may change its views.
If so, the timing would be right. With devices like Ouya, GameStick and Nvidia's Project Shield on the horizon, Android gaming seems to be gathering some momentum. High-quality games from Epic could be just what these upcoming devices need.
This story, "Epic Citadel arrives on Android: More good games to come?" was originally published by TechHive.