Will Epic ever release the completely free version of Unreal Tournament 3 that mysteriously appeared on Steam nearly six months ago? It’s looking less likely — because yesterday, while we were distracted with a shiny new Apple headset, the company purged mentions of the new “Unreal Tournament 3 X” from Valve’s digital distribution platform.
“Hope you’ve been keeping well, but we still don’t have any new information to share here,” Epic Games technology comms manager Brian Sharon tells The Verge.
This was always a highly weird situation because Epic’s listing for the ad-free, DLC-free, cross-platform Unreal Tournament 3 X was never added to Steam as its own distinct game. Instead, Epic seemingly overhauled its listing for the original Unreal Tournament 3 (from 2007!) to reflect the new game’s features instead.
But this week, the same Steam page now looks like it was written in 2007 once again.
In December 2022, Epic wouldn’t even confirm or deny the existence of the game and wouldn’t tell us if there’d been a mistake or a hack or a bug. But it did, however, add a line to that page with what seemed like tacit confirmation: “This title is currently unavailable and will be available in the future. Stay tuned!”
Perplexingly, that line still exists on the Unreal Tournament 3 page today. Does it mean that we should still “stay tuned” for Unreal Tournament 3 X? Or stay tuned for the 2007 game to return, at least?
Epic wouldn’t say.
Perhaps the company’s saving an announcement for this summer’s cavalcade of gaming events and plans to do it all fresh. Perhaps it’s no longer a Steam title but rather an Epic Games Store exclusive. Or perhaps it’s dead.
On December 24th, the game was tested as compatible with the Steam Deck, according to SteamDB records. I was thinking it’d be fun to host it at a Steam Deck LAN party.