Square Enix has signed a deal with Epic Games allowing the Japanese company to develop multiple titles on Epic's Unreal Engine 3. Square's yet to go into details about which titles will use the engine, and whether it'll be employing it for newer ventures or existing properties. Epic Games Japan's Taka Kawasaki said the company was excited to see what Square Enix did with its tech, saying the deal “reflects the Japanese development community’s trust in our technical prowess.”
Square Enix is known for building its games mainly on proprietary code, with Final Fantasy XIII and XIV both running on variants of the company's Crystal Tools engine. That technology, intended to ease the strain of developing for multiple current-gen platforms, ended up adding to FFXIII's development time, and had to be customized for both FFXIII and FFXIV. It's easy to see, then, why Square Enix might want to move to a more ubiquitous technology.
Above: 2009's The Last Remnant, Square Enix's previous foray into Unreal Engine 3
“It is a pleasure to provide Square Enix with an exceptional game engine that will help them bring thrilling new experiences to legions of fans all over the world,” said Kawasaki today.
Calling the first Square Enix title developed with Unreal Engine 3 “a cornerstone for our worldwide strategy,” company president Yoichi Wada stated that “in a world of new technology, we need to expand our portfolio” with new, globally-appealing franchises. That was in 2009, when the company first tried out Unreal Engine 3 development on fresh IP The Last Remnant. The results were mixed, with our 5/10 score fairly typical of the game's reception.
But then, 2009 was literally years ago, and Last Remnant's flaws were hardly the fault of Epic's tech, so here's looking forward to more news on the pairing. “Final Fantasy on Mass Effect technology” has a nice ring to it, after all.