In a surprise announcement, officials from Japanese publisher and developer Square Enix have revealed that the company has licensed the Unreal Engine 3 middleware technology to use in forthcoming next generation games.
The company has previously stressed its proprietary White Engine, which it had implied would be used for the company's key next generation titles. Real-time demonstrations of the White Engine's use in the forthcoming Final Fantasy XIII
for the PlayStation 3 have already been received favorably, with most commentators agreeing that it features some of the best graphics yet seen on the format.
In a press statement, Square Enix claimed that, in order to ensure both quality and development efficiency in the next generation, the publisher is "now building a combined technology platform to use throughout the company, utilizing proprietary technologies as well as third-party solutions such as Unreal Engine 3".
"The complexity of next-generation game systems featuring HD graphics and multi-core parallel processing poses a number of technological challenges to our game development. However, we can expedite our game development process significantly while allowing extra time and resources to be spent on game design and mechanics by establishing an effective technology platform," said Taku Murata, general manager, research and development division at Square Enix. "The technology platform for game development is becoming more important than ever. I'm excited to be partnering with Epic Games in such an important area."
"We're extremely excited to be working with Square Enix," said Jay Wilbur, vice president of Epic Games. "Square Enix is one of the biggest and most influential companies in the worldwide game business, and having them work with Unreal Engine 3 is a major honor for us and something we're very proud to be announcing."
Other major UE3 licensees include Electronic Arts, which signed on
in August 2006, as well as publishers and developers including Microsoft Game Studios, Atari, Real Time Worlds, Namco, Midway, Silicon Knights, VU Games, THQ, and Sony Online.