Gamasutra reports that the next version of Epic Games' hugely successful Unreal Engine could debut as early as 2012 alongside the next console generation.

"We've got Unreal [Engine] 4 in production right now... it's going to be in the next console generation - our rough guess is 2012 [to] 2018," said Capps at Gamefest in Seattle.

Back in March, Epic's Tim Sweeney revealed that Unreal Engine 4 would "exclusively target the next console generation, Microsoft's successor for the Xbox 360, Sony's successor for the PlayStation 3 - and if Nintendo ships a machine with similar hardware specs, then that also. PCs will follow after that".

Epic's Unreal Engine 3 is widely used in current generation video game development and forms the backbone of many titles such as Gears of War 2, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 and Brothers In Arms Hell's Highway.