If you’re any sort of console gamer, then you’ve likely seen so many games created with the Unreal Engine that you’ve lost count. The most famous franchise to utilize Unreal is the Gears of War series, but there are innumerable others who also take advantage of the easy-to-use engine. Now a whole new world is taking shape for Unreal, as Epic Games has announced that they can now run the Unreal Engine 3 inside Flash.

The engine works in tandem with the upcoming Adobe Flash 11.2, and allows users to play games with detailed 3D graphics directly from online portals, Facebook, etc. There’s no need to download the games at all, which is a major culture shift for hardcore, visually-intense games.

“It works for games of all sizes, small, medium, or large,” said Epic Games VP Mark Rein. “This is the year when we reach every platform. Yes, these could have been Facebook games. For us, this is important because everybody is in our wheelhouse now.”

The only catch in all this is that since Flash 11.2 can tap into a computer’s graphics card to run games, there may be some instances where Unreal games don’t run perfectly on older or lower-end machines. We’re not yet sure exactly what the tech specs are going to look like, but our guess is a six year old computer still can’t run Crysis 2 even if it’s via browser and not a download. As best we can tell, you’ll still need a fairly robust rig with a decent graphics card, but now all the various files associated with a new game won’t be cluttering up your hard drive.

Even with that caveat this is really exciting news, and we’re looking forward to a whole new wave of Facebook games featuring meaty space marines and lots of gore. Or adorable animals that are now rendered in full 3D. Whatever, we can go either way.

[via VentureBeat]