By the time the team had demonstrated the game to Gates, Unreal didn't have a chance of becoming a Microsoft product. That honor had already been bestowed on GT Interactive, who signed a multimillion dollar deal for the game in mid-1996. Based on Epic's huge investment in Unreal - self-funding it for over a year and a half - signing a publishing deal was a necessary step toward finishing the game. "At some point we probably would have run out of money to develop Unreal had we not signed a deal," says Rein. "It was a huge project - our biggest ever in terms of time, money, and human resources."
Just how did GTI get the rights to Unreal? In mid-1996, Jim Perkins, then president of software publisher FormGen, visited Rein at his house outside of Toronto, Ontario, and saw Unreal.
At GT Interactive, chairman and CEO Ron Chaimowitz first saw Unreal back in 1996. "Based on the engine and Epic's vision, I believed it had triple A potential," he explains. "The graphics, expertise of the team, and the promise to have an editor by which anyone could easily design their own levels appealed to GT." So the deal was struck for Unreal, even though the game had just barely begun hard-core development. As Chaimowitz said - the vision was there, but now that vision had to be made into a reality.