In surprising news released over the wires late on Friday, major publisher Electronic Arts has announced it has licensed Epic's Unreal Engine 3 for "several next-generation titles that are currently under development."
The brief announcement states that EA "employs a variety of engines, tools and technologies to best serve the needs of each game and development team", but raises interesting issues regarding the Criterion-authored Renderware engine, purchased by EA in 2004 alongside the Burnout
developer, and its intended global EA rollout.
Electronic Arts execs have been relatively quiet regarding company-wide technical solutions, but at Tokyo Game Show in 2005, EA's Neil Young and John Buchanan commented on EA's engine strategies
, noting that the company was moving toward a 'common technical structure' over all EA internal studios, which was intended to be Renderware in the long-term.
Young also mentioned at his 2005 TGS talk that the version of Renderware being used at Electronic Arts Los Angeles at the time is what was internally called Renderware 4.5 - essentially, Renderware 4 plus an unspecified EA code-base. However, it seems that some as yet unnamed Electronic Arts teams have opted to switch to Unreal Engine 3 for their projects, with the blessing of EA's management.
Paul Lee, president of EA Studios, commented of the announcement: "At EA, we give our development teams the tools they need to make great games. We license cutting edge tools like the Unreal Engine 3 and combine them with our own systems to create state-of-the-art development technology."
No further details have been given on the specific EA titles to use Unreal Engine 3, which is also licensed by publishers and developers including Microsoft Game Studios, Atari, Real Time Worlds, Namco, Midway, Silicon Knights, VU Games, THQ, and Sony Online, and powers Epic's own flagship Xbox 360 title Gears Of War