Epic Games founder Tim Sweeny told Gamasutra that Unreal Engine 4, their next-gen Game Engine is being designed for platforms that "haven't even been announced yet".
"At some point we'll make public announcements and ramp up to the point where developers are shipping games, but it's very early right now. We're aiming very high, and the intended platforms this is aimed at haven't even been announced."
At first glance, the statement seems like a simple statement that Unreal 4 will be a powerful engine, designed for next-gen platforms. Here's the thing: One next-gen console already has been announced. Was Sweeny simply being hyperbolic, or did he just imply that Unreal 4 isn't being designed to work on Wii U?
For those of you who aren't aware, Unreal Engine 3 is one of the most commonly used game engines around for the PS3 and Xbox 360: Many of today's best looking HD games have been designed with it. The possibility that the Wii U might not be able to run the next-gen version of that engine might have serious implications for the platform.
Rumors about the Wii U's finalized tech specs have been all over the scale, but recently reports from developers have increasingly indicated to the console have graphical capabilities on par with the PS3 and Xbox 360. Based on Sweeny's statements, that would mean that running Unreal 4-based games on the Wii U could be... problematic.
Of course, this is all based on the anatomy of a statement: we could just be mincing words here. It's going to be a little while before we start actually seeing Unreal Engine 4 applied to games in development, so only time will tell. In the meantime, we expect to get the final word on the Wii U at E3 next month.