Journey with me, if you will, back to April of 2011. It's a long way back, so allow me to refresh your memory: Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney sat down for a little chit-chat with Gizmodo, where they discussed mobile platforms. Naturally the discussion ended up at "are you ever going to bring games to Android?," where the resulting answer was basically "no." We were sad, but got over it eventually.
Fast-forward to today, and the first Epic title has landed in Google Play. Sorry to disappoint, it's not Infinity Blade – but it's close. It's Epic Citadel. For those who may have never wandered over to the other side of the mobile OS scene, Epic Citadel is the precursor to Infinity Blade, and was made as a tech demo to show off what the Unreal 3 engine can do on a mobile device. Basically, you get to walk around and explore a very, very pretty world. It's neat.
But there's really a bigger story here than that. This is an important first step for Android. Perhaps Epic is testing the waters to see how well something like Epic Citadel performs across various devices. Or maybe it will allow them to gain perspective on what it's like to support an app that is playable across literally thousands of different form factors, resolutions, and the like. Hell, it could be a combination of all. And that's fantastic, because maybe they'll realize that Android's not so bad after all, carriers be damned.
With that said, it's still slightly embarrassing that we're covering this today – nearly three years after the "game" was first released for iOS. As I've already said, Epic Citadel was released in order to show what the Unreal 3 engine can do on mobile devices... three years ago. Three. So it's not nearly as impressive as it was back then. Don't get me wrong – I'm happy to see Epic had a change of heart, I just wish I would've happened sooner.
Fortunately, I don't think this is about Android users right now. I would like to think that the developers at Epic did this for themselves, for all the reasons that I mentioned earlier. In that, I enjoy the prospect of what this means for Android: more games from a seasoned, well-respected game studio. Just to be clear, though, it's highly unlikely Infinity Blade will ever come to Android, so don't hold your breath for a port. However, moving forward, there's a good chance we'll see more and more cross-platform games come out of Epic's camp – all thanks to this one silly little demo.
More info: Epic Blog