Gameloft’s first foray into development on the Unreal Engine was, well, a bit awkward. Back in 2011, the giant of mobile gaming turned plenty of heads when it unveiled a gritty Vietnam-era shooter with a sizzling trailer of the sort you’d expect from a high-end console game: guerrillas in lush jungles, Soviet Mil-24 helicopters soaring over the rugged Afghan desert and, of course, a big Unreal logo slapped across the screen. Considering that the footage was captured from a lowly iPad, that was news all on its own. But the most shocking thing about March of Heroes happened a few months later, when Gameloft cancelled it without giving a reason. Even while keeping hushed, the French developer insisted that it continued to work with the Unreal Engine on announced projects.
A year later, Gameloft is finally ready to throw back the curtain on what it’s been up to — or peel back the corner a little, at least. Taking to its Facebook page, Gameloft posted an ominous teaser image of a brooding warrior over a blood-soaked field. Considering that Gameloft takes a lot of heat for stealing the ideas of others – Uncharted 2 (may have) inspired Shadow Guardian, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (may have) inspired Modern Combat, Halo (may have) inspired Nova, etc. — it’s a little too easy to imediately compare Gameloft’s new project to God of War. Depending on who you ask, of course, Gameloft already ripped off Sony Santa Montica’s stellar series with Hero of Sparta.
But in any case, it’s impossible to judge a game by a single bit of concept art. Copycats or not, Gameloft understands the importance of production values and can push mobile platforms further than almost anyone. Considering how long they’ve kept this game under wraps, it’s only fair for the company’s critics to reserve judgment.
Some gamers may still be intrigued by the Unreal name alone. Epic Games’ proprietary engine — the powerful toolset behind iPad games like Infinity Blade, Batman Arkham City Lockdown and Dark Meadow — is still getting its toes wet on iOS and Android. Those games are beautiful if not brilliant, and it’d be crazy not to check out what a giant like Gameloft does with the same technology.
Gameloft’s Facebook page claims that a secret clue is hidden in the artwork. Those messages might be well-hidden, but one conclusion is a safe bet: players will be able to pay real-world money for that nifty-looking sword.