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'Water, meet fish': Epic Games' Mark Rein on Wii U, PS Vita, and E3 2011


Despite our wishy washy feelings about this year's big show, the E Triple, Epic Games VP and co-founder Mark Rein was quite positive on last week's proceedings. In an interview yesterday with Joystiq, Rein beamed about this year's show, saying, "I thought E3 was really good -- I thought the industry looked good. The quality of games on display was extremely high." He even had positive things to say about the growing divide between "triple-A" and "indie" development, explaining that, even though "it's definitely a boom or bust mentality now" with regards to the big publishing houses, "there was definitely more boom than bust" in his eyes.

But for him, the big news of the show was the same as everyone else: Nintendo's new console, the Wii U, and Sony's PlayStation Vita reveal. "The Vita blew me away," Rein told us. "I was shocked at how badly I wanted to take one of those home with me." He was similarly thrilled by Nintendo's Wii successor, though he wouldn't speak to any specifics regarding Unreal Engine 3 on the new console.

"I can tell you that I got to see it at E3 and it was what I expected of course. We were very excited to play some of their demos, see how good the feel of the hardware was -- it's a very impressive system and I think it's gonna do quite well," he told us. When asked about the possibility of UE3 on Wii U, as indicated by two UE3-based games in Nintendo's own sizzle reel, Rein referred us to our conversation at GDC.

He summarized it by saying, "'If Nintendo made a system that could run our engine, we'd be on it like water on fish.' And so when someone asked me what I thought about the Wii U, I said, 'Water, meet fish.'" Seems pretty direct if you ask us!

While we had Rein on the phone, we pushed him on his company's big mobile game, Infinity Blade, and whether UE3 being on Android would make a port possible. "Right now you can't really ship a game the size of Infinity Blade on Android," he explained. Apparently Google only allows games that are 50MB or smaller, keeping bigger titles like Infinity Blade from making the cut. Though some workarounds exist, Rein doesn't believe these to be "final or workable" solutions for game devs on Droid devices, and expects Google to change its policy within the coming months.

He also took a moment to express his disbelief that folks were comparing Sony's new handheld, the PlayStation Vita, to iOS devices. "I don't think we've seen a device like that before," he stated. "The PSP was never that kind of a device." Rein continued, decrying comparisons between the Vita and iOS devices as illogical. "People are worried about where Vita lives in the world of iPod Touch and iPhone, but it's a completely different device," he noted. "It's hard until the device is in the market and people know how users are gonna respond, but I came away really lusting for one."

Rein of course wouldn't confirm whether or not Epic Games is actually working on its own game(s) for the PlayStation Vita, but admitted "I'd love to see us do some games for it," before letting us down gently: "I'm just one voice here!"

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