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Cloud Imperium Games has announced that it will be developing both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 using Amazon’s Lumberyard game engine going forward. The latest build of Star Citizen, 2.6 Alpha, is already running on the new engine.
Star Citizen was first kickstarted back in 2012 and had been running on a heavily modified version of Crytek's CryEngine until switching over to Lumberyard officially earlier this month.
With that change, Star Citizen has become one of the first high-profile games to pick up Amazon's new game engine.
In a forum post following the official announcement, CIG’s CEO and creative director Chris Roberts explained that the move was simply because Amazon’s engine offers more features that make sense for a massive online game like Star Citizen.
On a basic level, the two engines share a lot of similarities so the switch was a relatively painless process that Roberts said took a day or so. After all, Lumberyard was originally built on a version of CryEngine, but the two game engines already have a noticeably different focus.
“Looking at Crytek's roadmap and Amazon's we determined that Amazon was investing in the areas we were most interested in. They are a massive company that is making serious investments into Lumberyard and [Amazon Web Services] to support next generation online gaming,” explained Roberts.
“Crytek doesn't have the resources to compete with this level of investment and have never been focused on the network or online aspects of the engine in the way we or Amazon are. Because of this combined with the fact we weren't taking new builds of CryEngine we decided that Amazon would be the best partner going forward for the future of Star Citizen.”
Though Roberts said there was no "ulterior motive in the timing of the announcement," it is worth noting that Crytek has had its own share of struggles this past month that could be indicative of bigger problems on the horizon.
Reports from earlier in December alleged that the company was, once again, significantly behind on paying its employees. Furthermore, Crytek announced just last week that it would be closing five of its seven studios in what the company's co-founder Avni Yerli described as an essential step to ensure Crytek’s heath and sustainability.