Doing It for the Art: For a multiplayer-based game, it's so full of little details... Each individual ladder isn't just a bunch of matches done randomly. It takes every character through their own journey to achieve their objective, be it searching for a great warrior for your cause, just winning the Tournament, getting revenge on your rival... And the Rites themselves take distance from the rest of the Tournament/Championship saga (sans Unreal Tournament III perhaps) as THE single-player mode.
This game started as Unreal Tournament 2005, due to Atari wanting an Unreal Tournament game with FIFA-esque regularity, in order to emphasize the "sport" part of the franchise. Then, the title changed and it became an Xbox exclusive game.
Also, this game was going to be the first game using Epicís Unreal Engine 3, but it was changed early in the dev cycle to use the Unreal Engine 2X and be an Xbox exclusive.
Xan Kriegor was going to be playable, with a feet-less concept. This feature alone cut him out of the game, as the devteam didn't found a solution to the concept also clashing with the gameplay.
According to another developer, a vehicle-based gametype was created, with even specialized maps, but they clashed with the core mechanics of the game, so it didn't made the cut for the game.