Epic Games president Mike Capps has revealed that the company has been working on the new version of its market leading middleware technology for seven years, with plans for Unreal Engine 4 to be ready for the next generation of console hardware.
Speaking at a panel during the Tokyo Game Show, Capps said that if there's third title in its incredibly successful Gears of War series, it will be for new consoles, not due on the market for at least another four years.
"We're very concerned that the next generation will be massively parallel and most engines won't be able to adapt for that," said Capps, reports our sister site Eurogamer.net.
"If there were a next Gears of War, that will be for the next console generation, whenever that is. If someone knows, please tell me! That's about four or five years away, I think."
Capps also revealed the company is opening an office in Tokyo, with the team primarily focused on sales and support for the Unreal Engine business, although development in the region isn't out of the question further down the line.
Capps said that exclusive Xbox 360 title Gears of War 2 cost less to make than the original game, with Epic using more staff but taking less time.
"We've managed to keep our expenses down significantly," he said. "We hear about 25 million dollar game budgets and that sort of thing... Epic's not like this."
It's not just costs that Epic likes to keep low, preferring to work with smaller teams of between 50 and 60 staff rather than the 400 or so often associated with big budget titles like Assassin's Creed.
"It's a great game and it's very big," he said, "But we try to keep focused on a smaller game with lots of quality."
Capps went on to observe that producing its own engine gives both Epic and other companies an advantage. "Every game developer wishes they had time to invest in better tools... We invest a lot in making our content teams more effective, and we can do that because we're making hundreds of other teams effective too."