• Luminous Engine is in-house only!


    If you thought that Square Enix's Luminous Engine would revolutionize every gaming studio's work, like unreal did, then you're mistaken. US CEO, Mike Fischer told Shack News, "This is an in-house tool. We're not building this around a licensing model." That's right, the beautiful Tech Demo we all saw, Agni's Philosophy, will be exclusive to Square Enix.

    Seeing as how SE has recently been branching out with all types of different franchises, such as the recent Hitman: Absolution and the soon to be released Tomb Raider, we will see this engine at work on other titles as well. More and more companies are being merged with Square Enix so it could be a possibility to use this to entice others. Fischer went on to say, "It's my hope that this makes teams and creative people around the world excited to work for us because they'll get their hands on some of the best technology in the industry."

    Rumored to be on the Xbox 720 and the PS4, which may be coming out this year, the Luminous engine could make everything drip with beauty and set anew standard among developers. Fairly recently, they showed off a Character creation demo to show the variation of the sliders and affects they could preform with the engine.


    Not only that, but if you take a look at the image at the top here: Can you really tell apart the two realtime photo and in game photo? Shack News asked if they would dabble into the movie genre again with this new demo looking so polished. "Our focus right now is on games. Can it do more? It can definitely do more. But our focus is on games," said Fischer. That's not a no! It could come a long in the future with the technology of the new engine. "There's no Final Fantasy movie in the works that I'm aware of, but the key thing is we're very much a creator-driven company. We want to have the technology to help these creators turn their vision into a reality. And that's why we made this investment."

    Are you excited for this new engine? Would you like them to use it for another movie?
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Luminous Engine is in-house only! started by Freya View original post
    Comments 13 Comments
    1. Wolf Kanno's Avatar
      Wolf Kanno -
      Honestly, I think its a silly move not to sell the license for the engine, it could help SE financially, but its not like they couldn't change their mind later.
    1. Freya's Avatar
      Freya -
      I have to say though, I'm very impressed with this engine. And As I pointed out in the article, think of all the licenses they are acquiring lately. Square-Enix is starting to become a power house of a developer again. Of course they are still far off and the FF series is falling behind BUT if this engine is used on various other games? I'm sold.
    1. chionos's Avatar
      chionos -
      Engine looks great. As a Squarophile, I like that it's going to be exclusive.
    1. Slothy's Avatar
      Slothy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Kanno View Post
      Honestly, I think its a silly move not to sell the license for the engine, it could help SE financially, but its not like they couldn't change their mind later.
      I may be alone in this, but I'm not convinced that choosing not to license it was a bad idea. In fact, I think trying to license it could actually hurt them more than it would help for a few reasons.

      The first obvious one is that it would cost a lot of money to get into the engine licensing business up front, with no guaranteed return. You've got to have things like good engine documentation, and be prepared to support it once people license it. This means not only constantly updating the engine and the related documentation, but actively helping developers do what they want it to do if you're smart about it. Square has no experience with this though, and it really would be starting from scratch in a new business, albeit a business somewhat related to the one they're in.

      But more than that, this certainly looks like it's intended to be a AAA next-gen engine, and there's already a lot to compete with in that market. You've got Epic whose Unreal engine is basically the defacto leader in licensed engines for AAA games. And Epic is really a tech developer and engine license seller first and game developer second if we're going to be honest about it. It's their main business, and they've not only been doing it for years but they've practically cornered the market. But then Square also has to contend with companies like EA with Dice's Frostbite engine now, and other companies like Valve, id, and Naughty Dog, who have typically done their tech in house and also happen to do a very good job of it, making it suit their needs and making things pretty scalable/easy to use so they can use it for multiple titles. There's also the fact that this engine is being developed by Square in Japan, making supporting it for a Western market more difficult. Sure, they could try to license it in Japan as well, but the number of developers on that side of the Pacific working in AAA titles seems to be shrinking even faster than over here. Mind you, this may be a bit of a non-issue if they want some of their western developers to use the engine anyway since they'll need to translate the tools and support it for those companies anyway.

      But really, I just don't see a lot of room in the AAA market space for another engine to be licensed unless it can somehow show that it's dramatically better than what Epic is doing. As it is, there are a lot of developers that are either already comfortable with the Unreal engine and aren't likely to want to change from that without good reason, and others that are working with major publishers that have their own in house engine solutions they can rely on as well.

      For now, I'd say the safer bet is making this engine flexible and making sure the development pipeline is nice and trying to get as many in house teams as possible using it where it makes sense to. Square is a big publisher with a lot of teams and subsidiaries, so if they can actually use this to reduce the need to develop new engines constantly then there are probably some cost savings and efficiencies to be gained here that will be a lot easier to realize than entering the engine licensing business. Hopefully they follow through with that a bit more this time than they did with Crystal Tools. Were it not for two FFXIII sequels I don't think they would have done much with that engine.
    1. Shoeberto's Avatar
      Shoeberto -
      Vivi knows the score, SE would have a really hard time being a licensing business; licensing something like that requires a LOT of front-facing customer service and support. They'd need documentation for all aspects of the engine in multiple languages that would need to be updated regularly, plus needing support staff that would be knowledgeable about the tech and be able to support customers speaking those same languages. It's really not as simple as just selling licenses, it's a big business investment.
    1. Huckleberry Quin's Avatar
      Huckleberry Quin -
      They own enough great IPs that keeping the engine unlicensed would be benefit them more right now.
    1. Red Mage Coffman's Avatar
      Red Mage Coffman -
      It looks so... beautiful.
    1. Bolivar's Avatar
      Bolivar -
      I would've been really surprised if they did. A lot of studios make amazing proprietary engines; almost none of them license it out. We already have three next-gen ready engines (Unreal 4, idTech 5, CryEngine 3) which are out there for licensing and haven't gained traction yet. I don't see the next generation starting this year, so Square has some time to mull over the decision if they really wanted to.
    1. Futan's Avatar
      Futan -
      idTech 5 isn't out for licensing. :x When ZeniMax bought id they decided to keep the engine in-house only. There's been speculation Bethesda(also owned by ZeniMax) might use it for their upcoming games though.
    1. Slothy's Avatar
      Slothy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Futan View Post
      There's been speculation Bethesda(also owned by ZeniMax) might use it for their upcoming games though.
      I don't put much stock in that speculation myself. People were wondering if Skyrim would use it prior to its release but Bethesda made their own engine for that, and I believe even John Carmack said it wasn't really suited for the sort of stuff they typically do. And odds are Bethesda will stick with the Skyrim engine for at least another game if it's already there and better suited for their open world style RPG's. And it would make sense too since Rage and id tech 5 were in production before id were bought out so it was never made with Bethesda in mind.

      Going forward though, I wouldn't be surprised to see id work on a new engine with a future project which can be expanded/scaled to do whatever Bethesda is looking for as well. I'd even say they'd be almost stupid not to given id's tech expertise (Rage launch issues not withstanding) and the fact that John Carmack is a legitimate genius.
    1. Futan's Avatar
      Futan -
      The idea of id Tech 5 being used in Skyrim was nothing but a wet dream by fans. There was no way Bethesda, after essentially rewriting Gamebryo just for Skyrim, was going to say iirc months before the game was to be released "Ya know what? smurf that engine we just spent months, if not years, on and built a near finished product on. Let's convert the entire game to this new engine we acquired. Sure no one in this studio is familiar with the engine, and we'll probably have to recreate some assets for things like MegaTexture but we can do it!"

      Skyrim - Winter 2016

      But yeah, I pretty much agree with you. As much as I'd love to see the next Elder Scrolls or Fallout use it I know it's unlikely.

      I have some other trout I want to post but long posts on mobile are a smurfing PITA so I'll edit or post it later. :x

      EDIT: My senile ass forgot the point I was going to make, but I still remember the ranting portion. The rant was about how while Carmack is a genius when it comes to programming, he really needs(or ZeniMax needs to force him) to step down from game design and stop smurfing with the artistic workflow. And because I can't remember the point I won't bother but give a brief-ish summary. XD

      Basically it was bitching about how the mindless kill spree with no story subgenre is looong dead(I haven't played Rage yet admittedly) and they need to move on. As well as slightly less bitching about how while MegaTexture made sense and solved a legitimate problem at the time, that problem no longer exists in this day and age and they need to remove that pointless learning curve for their artists.
    1. Slothy's Avatar
      Slothy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Futan View Post
      The rant was about how while Carmack is a genius when it comes to programming, he really needs(or ZeniMax needs to force him) to step down from game design and stop smurfing with the artistic workflow. And because I can't remember the point I won't bother but give a brief-ish summary. XD
      I feel like Carmack said at some point that the id sale was letting him get back to just focusing on programming and tech development but I can't seem to find a source anywhere. Not sure how accurate that is now.
    1. Futan's Avatar
      Futan -
      Oh yeah, I remember that. It was in regards to him doing work as both the Owner and the Lead Programmer however.

      Looking for the source made me realize the acquisition was actually much earlier than I thought(2009). Could've sworn it was Spring/Summer '11. But I couldn't find the source either. Doesn't help how long winded he is. XD
  • EoFF on Twitter

  • Square Enix on Twitter