Epic Games launched Unreal Engine 3, the current version of its game graphics engine, back in the fall of 2006 with the release of the first Gears of War game. Since then Unreal Engine 3 has been used for hundreds of games, from major releases like Batman: Arkham City and the Mass Effect series to smaller games such as Dungeon Defenders and the iOS Infinity Blade series.
Epic has made feature improvements to Unreal Engine 3 over the years and in 2009 it launch the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), a free version of Unreal Engine 3 for small and independent game developers to make games to be released either for free or for commercial use via paying Epic a percentage of the game's revenues.
Now it finally looks like we will get to see the next big jump in the Unreal Engine technology very soon. Speaking to G4TV.com, Epic Games vice president Mark Rein stated that Unreal Engine 4 will finally be shown to the public sometime in 2012. He added, "People are going to be shocked later this year when they see Unreal Engine 4 and how much more profound an effect it will have."
While Epic may offer a public demo for Unreal Engine 4 sometime in 2012, it may be over a year or more before an actual game using the graphics engine is released.