The game was developed in great part by the latter dev house, alongside Unreal II: The Awakening (which was being developed by Legend Entertainment) and Unreal Tournament 2003 (which was developed mostly by Epic Games, with a little help from DE). Chronologically, it was released between these two games, releasing in November 2002 (following 2003's release that September and being followed by Unreal II in February 2003); in fact, it's frequently assumed either 2003 is a PC port of Championship or Championship is an Xbox port of 2003, despite the noticeably different story between the two and each having exclusive content.
Championship takes place in an alternate universe where, over a century after the Tournament's founding, humanity was enslaved by an alien race called the Overseers. Initially, they dismissed the Tournament as irrelevant, but once they saw the benefits that could be derived from it, they reinstated the Tournament as a form of punishment for the most vocal and violent resistors, with promises of a reward for whoever manages to win.
The game comes with six multiplayer modes:
- Deathmatch pits a bunch of players against each other until there's one winner: the player with the highest amount of frags.
- Team Deathmatch is the team-based version of Deathmatch. Unlike the original UT, at maximum only two teams are competing.
- Capture the Flag pits two teams, each with their own base and flag, and the objective is to capture the enemy flag while preventing your team's flag from being captured.
- Bombing Run is the game's version of Association Football: two teams, each with a base and a goal on it. There's also a ball which the teams must bring to the enemy base, scoring points for shooting the ball through the goal or jumping through it themselves.
- Double Domination is a limited version of UT's Domination. It has two teams competing for the control of two areas of the map, both teams scoring points every few seconds depending on how many of the control points they own.
- Survival is a duel gamemode with a waiting line. Akin to arcade waiting lines, two players battle it out, with the winner staying in the arena and the loser going back to the line while another takes their place.
Due to the low reception of the three games, this game's storyline was discontinued and the next Championship game was built from the ground up and tailored for the console.
Followed chronologically by Unreal II: The Awakening.
The match is about to begin... 3... 2... 1... Play!note
- Adaptation Name Change: 2003 maps BR-IceFields, BR-BiFrost and DM-Oceanic are called BR-Kalendra, BR-Endagra and DM-Vidona.
- Alternate Universe: The game takes place in a setting where an Alien Invasion took Earth by surprise and enslaved everyone.
- Ancient Egypt: The Anubans and the Anubis Moon, home of the arenas BR-Anubis, BR-EyeOfJahan, DOM-Deserted and DOM-SunTemple. The Planets section reveals that a colony of Egyptians were abducted and sent to a moon, where they managed to prosper and evolve, while the Egyptian empire on Earth went into ruins. Thanks to the species being different from each other, they have a great air control.
- Ascended Fanfic: Many official mutators and some gametypes are inspired from several user-made content, thanks to the ease of modding of Unreal Tournament. For example:
- The Bombing Run gametype, inspired by the Fragball gametype mod.
- The camera feed option for the Translocator, inspired by the Translocam mutator for the first game.
- Ascended Glitch:
- The Lift Jump. After the first Tournament game, many maps feature areas with movable platforms where you're required to do this in order to gain an advantage, such as a shortcut to another area or an entrance to a secret area with an otherwise unobtainable item. It's still used in later installments.
- Team boosting, also from the first UT, was made into an option for Instagib matches.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: After you draft a team before exiting the preliminaries, the final match is a massive free-for-all against your new teammates, for you to prove yourself worthy to lead them.
- A-Team Firing: Low-level bots behave like this. Don't try it, or you'll get murdered.
- Convection, Schmonvection: DM-Inferno and DOM-ScorchedEarth. Watch out when touching said lava, but standing directly to the side of it grants no damage.
- Beam Spam: The Shock Rifle, either the normal or Instagib version.
- BFG: The T.A.G. Rifle is a variation, as the weapon per se doesn't inflict damage, but calls a satellital strike in an open map.
- Blatant Item Placement: Ammo near weapons. Weapons in unlikely places. Powerful weapons, typically rocket launchers, in pretty much unrisky zones.
- Blood Sport: Continuing the basic premise of Unreal Tournament, the eponymous Liandri Grand Tournament has warriors from all kinds of factions and walks of life fighting for their lives either on their own or as a team.
- Bond One-Liner: Taunts in general.
- Breaking Old Trends:
- This game, alongside Unreal Tournament 2003, extended the player's moveset by adding Wall Jump, dodge-jump, Double Jump, combo-jumps (i.e. Wall-Dodge-Jump) and polishing the Lift Jump (with certain maps having shortcuts or rewards for those who managed to pull them at the right spot). Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict would extend even more these movesets with chimney jumps and the third-person exclusive Jump Attack.
- Both this game and 2003 modified the Rocket Launcher vastly from Tournament, first by incorporating the "Instant Rockets" option that was all around UT into the weapon as its primary fire, then by reducing the amount of charged rockets (Secondary Fire only) fired from the weapon from 6 to 3. This would be the standard for the rest of the series.
- Charged Attack: All of them of the Hold variety:
- The Shield Gun's primary fire deals extra damage and push.
- The Assault Rifle's grenades can be thrown further.
- The BioRifle's secondary fire launches a bigger glob.
- The Rocket Launcher's secondary fire launches up to 3 rockets in either an horizontal line or as a spiral.
- The T.A.G. Rifle requires this for the satellite in an open field.
- Competitive Multiplayer: Well, it is a continuation of a game series that really popularized competitive FPS multiplayer!
- Crapsack World: Due to the After the End setting, the entirety of the game.
- Deadly Rotary Fan: In the center of DM-Insidious.
- Death from Above: The T.A.G. Rifle calls a Kill Sat.
- Double Entendre: There are a few, such as when someone gets killed from an explosion from his own rocket launcher, "X fired his rocket prematurely".
- Double Jump: Players can jump at the height of the first jump for an extra boost. The Quad Jump mutator allows them to do so two more times.
- Downer Ending: The game ends with your character getting locked up in one of the containment tubes in one of the arenas, constantly frozen in place and unable to do anything except watch people kill each other and get shot by errant fire. The final match is also kind of depressing: You're forced to kill your own teammates.
- Downloadable Content: A Bonus Pack which included the maps CTF-OtarosRun, DM-Aqua_Mortis, DM-Inferno and DM-Leviathan2.
- Easily Conquered World: The Overseer invasion of the Earth.
- Emergency Weapon: The Shield Gun is the fallback weapon when even the Assault Rifle has no ammo.
- The Empire: The Overseer Empire.
- Energy Weapon: The Lightning Gun is games' primary Sniper Rifle. The stationary energy turrets found in the Onslaught maps have Slow Laser as its primary fire. And of course there's the Instagib mode where everyone spawns with a OHKO Super Shock Rifle.
- Flawless Victory:
- Finish a match without getting fragged or with your team with perfect score, and the announcer will say this.
- On the receiving end, there's "Humiliating Defeat", which is also the case if an Invasion match ends with zero beaten waves.
- Gatling Good: The minigun.
- Ghibli Hills: Arborea (house of CTF-LostFaith, DM-Antalus and DOM-SeppukuGorge among other maps, and the home planet of the Gen Mo'Kai, including the Fire Storm team) is an entire planet made up of this sort of scenery.(DOM-SeppukuGorge's description) "Ah, nature. The earthy browns and lush greens of the jungle. The quiet hum of animal and insect life going about its business. The piercing battle cry of a gene boosted harpy bounding across the forest floor in her power armor."
- Green Rocks: Blue glowing crystals (tarydium) that pretty much everyone uses as a power source. Similar to Real Life nuclear power, in that it produces dangerous waste material when used for such a purpose. Unlike nuclear power, said waste is then used as ammo for the Bio Rifle.
- Guns Akimbo: Players can wield two Assault Rifles, provided they encounter another either by a fallen enemy or as a pickup in a map.
- Have a Nice Death: "X was X'd by X." "X cratered", often seen in maps where you can fall into space... or lava.
- Hazardous Water: The water of DM-Aqua_Mortis is a shark-infested water.
- High-Altitude Battle: CTF-Citadel takes place in a nightmarish world atop three mountains.
- Human Resources: In the description for the map CTF-Geothermal:"Thanks to the Tournament we've been able to add protein bales to our list of exports. Don't worry though, it's no one you know."
- Idiosyncratic Combo Levels:"Double Kill!"
- Implausible Fencing Powers: The Shield Gun can deflect energy weapons like shock cores and link pulses.
- Invisible Wall: You'll find these pretty much in any open level that doesn't go for Border Patrol. BR-Adrift, BR-EyeOfJahan and DOM-Deserted, for example.
- Kill Sat: The T.A.G. Rifle is used to call one in the open maps which have the satellite.
- Kill Streak:X is on a killing spree.
X is on a rampage!
X is dominating!
X is UNSTOPPABLE!!
X is GODLIKE!!
- Lethal Lava Land: DM-Inferno and DOM-ScorchedEarth.
- Lightning Gun: The Link Gun. The Lightning Gun is a variation in that it's an electrical gun, but it behaves more like a Sniper Rifle.
- Limit Break: The Adrenaline system. By collecting Adrenaline pills scattered through the maps, completing objectives (scoring in Bombing Run, capturing flags in Capture The Flag or Double Domination points) or outright fragging, you fill the Adrenaline meter. Once it reaches 100 and the Announcer exclaims "Adrenaline Full", you need to introduce a sequence in order to gain an advantage, which can be either a boost on damage, rate of fire or speed, or health regeneration. This lasts until the meter is down to 0, though you can still do the required stuff to make this mode last a second more. Also, Adrenaline drains faster if you carry a flag or the ball.
- Marked Bullet: Flak shells have a smile face painted on the front.
- More Dakka: The minigun's primary fire.
- No Ontological Inertia: Subverted. Some weapons fire their charged shots when you release the trigger, or when you die.
- Nostalgia Level:
- Unreal: DM-Curse3 is an almost direct recreations of DmCurse which in turn got recreated as DM-Curse][ for UT, while DM-Gael is a sequel to DmMorbias, which also got recreated in UT as DM-Morbias][. To some extent, DM-Insidious is a Spiritual Successor of sorts to DmDeathFan.
- Unreal Tournament: CTF-Orbital2 is the sequel to CTF-Orbital and DM-Flux2 is inspired by (though not the same as) UT PS2/DC map DM-Flux.
- One-Hit Kill: No matter how much health, armor, or shield you have, get shot by a fully charged Bio goop, a well-placed Shock Combo with Double Damage, or the Kill Sat and you're done. As in the last game, there's also the optional Instagib Shock Rifle that kills everything it shoots in one hit.
- Quad Damage: The Damage Amplifier. Doubles the effect if it's used with the Berserk adrenaline combo.
- Ragdoll Physics: A mutator allows you to make this more apparent by slowing corpses down, floating through the air to be pushed around by weapons fire as their killer pleases.
- Scenery Porn: The games have many gorgeously looking maps which take advantage of many of the Unreal Engine 2's features, even accounting for the Xbox's graphical limitations.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Humanity never got a chance to repel the Overseer invasion.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: By the end of the game, the Empire stands still.
- Single-Biome Planet:
(DM-Aqua_Mortis description) "The Allerian ice shark is a fearsome predator capable of devouring a man in seconds. If it could carry a weapon, there's no doubt the Overseers would have found a way to put him in the tournaments as well. Not surprisingly, it has still managed to rack up a respectable number of kills. Impromptu games of water polo are highly discouraged."
- About the only thing you'll be able to see in the Allerian Penal Colony (DM-Vidona, DM-Aqua_Mortis) are technological concrete buildings... and sharks:
- Arborea, home of the Gen Mo'kai, is another one of these. Every single map stated to be set on the planet is a dense jungle of some variety.
- Standard FPS Guns: Largely averted. Most of the weaponry has a different feel to it, and one of UT's selling points is that its weapons invariably have some function attached to the alt-fire button. How weapons differ:
- The Shield Gun is the melee weapon, replacing the Impact Hammer. Unlike other FPS where melee usually consists of a punching or stabbing motion, this item uses a Charged Attack as it's primary fire. It also has the namesake shield, which can deflect energy projectiles and lasers.
- The Assault Rifle replaces the Enforcers. The Alt-fire is a grenade launcher. Also can be dual-wielded.
- The Bio-Rifle remains unchanged. The primary fire shoots slime goops which can adhere to a wall. The secondary fire is a Charged Attack.
- The Shock Rifle remains unchanged. The primary fire is a laser, while the secondary fire is an Energy Ball; as in the previous game, the secondary fire can be shot with primary to release a massive explosion that's all but guaranteed death to anyone caught within it.
- The Link Gun replaces the Pulse Gun as the game's assault rifle analogue. Primary fire remains the same, but its altfire beam can supercharge an ally's Link Gun efforts. The "Link Gun Medic" mutator also adds a healing property in team-based games.
- The Minigun has both of it's attacks switched. This is, both attacks are those of a typical Chaingun, but the primary fire is more accurate while less ranged, while the second has more range but is less accurate.
- The Flak Cannon remains unchanged. The primary fire shoots shards which bounce on walls and lasts a few seconds, while the secondary is a projectile which explodes upon impact.
- The Rocket Launcher can fire one (primary) or up to three (secondary, which is a Charged Attack) rockets in a horizontal line, a tight corkscrew, or locked on to an enemy player in any of the previous modes if you give the gun a second to acquire them.
- The Lightning Gun is a sniper rifle which uses lightning instead of bullets. The primary fire shoots a lightning thunderbolt, while the secondary fire uses a Zoom function.
- The T.A.G. Rifle, a laser which designates the strike zone for a Kill Sat. Primary fire produces the laser, altfire zooms for precision targeting.
- Strategic Asset Capture Mechanic: The Double Domination gamemode works similar to Unreal Tournament's Domination gamemode in that two teams battle to control specific locations in a map, except that this time there are only two points, Alpha and Bravo, which both teams battle to control and hold for a determined amount of seconds (usually 10). Once a team successfully captures and holds both points, that team earns a point, and a new round starts.
- Teleporter Accident/Teleportation Sickness: The In-Universe explanation for the charge limits on the Translocator (namely, a slowly-recharging number of times you can teleport to the disc after placing it)."The technology has saved countless lives, but not without cost. Rapid deresolution and reconstitution of the subject organism can have several unwelcome effects, including increases in aggression and paranoia, as well as increased probabilities of respiratory and cardiac arrest. Artifacts of synaptic disruption accumulate in the biological snapshot of the individual, leading to Teleportation Related Dementia (TReDs), an incurable disease that has stricken some of our greatest champions."
- There Is No Kill like Overkill: The T.A.G. Rifle.
- The Unfought: The manual mentions that, after several seasons, the members of the Overseer aristocracy decided to jump into the Tournament in order to face the strongest fighters at the tail end. It also mentions that, because their anatomy is incompatible with the respawning technology used in the Tournaments, killing one in a Tournament equals to killing them forever. Which, of course, is the very reason why you don't fight them at the end of the Ladder.
- Wall Jump: Players can jump to a wall and dodge away from them in order to reach new places. Can be combined with the dodge-jump or dpuble-jump to get horizontal or vertical extra boosts. The Quad Jump mutator also allows players to quad wall jump.
- "You have WON the match!"