WBIE commits to Unreal Engine 3

Batman, Mortal Kombat developers to use Epic Games' tech exclusively through 2014; proprietary game engine optional for rest of Warner Bros. studios.

Two of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's biggest titles this year--Batman: Arkham City and Mortal Kombat--are built on Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 technology. The publisher is apparently pleased with the results, as today it announced a license agreement with Epic that will see the tech made available for any or all of the publisher's PC, console, and mobile games through 2014.

Arkham City developer Rocksteady will be working on Unreal Engine 3 for three more years.

Under the terms of the deal, Batman developer Rocksteady Studios and Mortal Kombat maker NetherRealm Studios will use Unreal Engine 3 exclusively through 2014. Both studios should be well familiar with Epic's engine by now. Unreal Engine 3 was used by Rocksteady for the Arkham City predecessor Arkham Asylum, while the previous incarnation of NetherRealm Studios used the tech to make Midway's swan song, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.

Although the pace of high-profile Unreal licensee announcements has slowed in recent years, Epic continues to push the engine. Last year, the company announced it would be bringing Unreal to iPhones and Palm Pre handhelds, and it also added support for Nvidia 3D Vision and Valve's Steamworks to the package.

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Discussion

90 comments
Lemos1990
Lemos1990

I like the Unreal engine, it's practical, any machine can handle it, it's not bugged like hell, on the contrary, very well balanced, good overall, so I'm glad they are working with Unreal Engine

megafitch
megafitch

Its a versatile engine, hence why so many people use it, although they really need to tweak those texture pop-in times.

GunGriffin
GunGriffin

Honestly the only people who could be made about it are people like godzillavskong. I mean what are U talking about? Hour of Victory, and Bioshock were on the first run of UE3 and for the most part failed to use it correctly, If U want to look at good games that use UE3 check out Transformers War for Cybertron (GS reveiw was so fare off it's not even funny BTW he drove by all the ammo!), Batman Arkham Asylum, as well as Gears of War 1/2, and BulletStrom, plus Vanquish all used UE3 to it's fullest and then some. The first run of tech for UE3 was not built to run on Xbox360 at the time, and most PC tech was so badly optomized for UE3 that they had to rebuild the shaders, and texture code just to get it to work hence the current generation UE3 titles are still top notch in graphics and detail.

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

While it is a good engine, let's just hope it doesn't get used so immense like it did when the 360 first launched. I remember so many titles having that same gritty look. Even poor titles were pushing the engine, like Hour of Victory. Now I think Batman took advantage of the previous Unreal Engine the best!

Cirdain
Cirdain

When used well it is good. WBIE uses it well :)

magicalclick
magicalclick

Good for them. I for one very impressed with UE3 engine. I have yet to see any other engine that's this flexible, expressive, easy, good graphics, and performant all in a high quality package. Also saying they look same is not quite accurate IMO. Mass Effect has a very distinctive style to it. Mirror's Edge is totally different look and feel. If the developer wants to, they will make unique look to it. It is not a limitation of UE3. The only other engine "package" would actually impress me is the elder scroll series. Their massive quests, cities, terrans, interiors, uniqe looking people, crazy voice on every character, is really really breath taking. The scale of the game is so massive and yet they are able to build it in timely effeicient manner. It is more than pretty graphics. Other engines sure looks nice, like CryEngine and Frostbite, however, they only look good. When you look beyond graphics and looking at tools/content mangement/workflow and etc, these engines pale in comparison.

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

Engines don't bother me, as long as the game is good.

maxneopayne
maxneopayne

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

maxneopayne
maxneopayne

@Marked_by_chaos Agree about MOH being crap ,but the multiplayer rocks because they used the frostbite engine

Shardz7
Shardz7

The UT3 engine doesn't get enough credit these days. It's one of the most flexible and best looking engines out there, not to mention the amazing tools you get in the package. The only thing comparable is what Crytek has to offer, but most target computers will enjoy the framerate that Unreal brings to the table. Good Choice!

Marked_by_chaos
Marked_by_chaos

All very good opinions in the comments below, but for some reason now I cringe when I buy a new game and start it up and after all the developers/publishers icons are shown the Unreal Engine icon shows. I just think, "Awh, so when the game loads all the textures are still going to be half loaded and smeared then a minute later it loads." But that was UE2. Of course as everyone is saying, Batman: AC, MK etc look fantastic on UE3! Though apparently Medal of Honor was made on UE3 and I thought that was just... Crap. But personally the engine I'm excited for is Frostbite 2.0! So keen for Destruction 3.0. Battlefield 3 is going to be a big one.

thegamegod
thegamegod

im not a big fan of the UE,cos everything has a samey feel to it,such as shiney skins and stuff,but if developers find it easy to use,they're gonna use it. (if only all games could be used making the god of war 3 engine)

ericstifer
ericstifer

one of the leaders in licensed game engines...good choice for any developer

shansss123
shansss123

yeah i hate crytek's graphics engine it's so heavy.Unreal all the way.........

conkerton
conkerton

Good call. Cant argue with success with a proven fomula that can be applied in so many areas. I like what I see so far.

alexatkin
alexatkin

So no Batman or Mortal Kombat ports on 3DS then? Bummer. :(

Kulcan
Kulcan

I like Unreal engine 3 because is not so heavy (PC) like CryEngine 3 . Mass Effect , Bioshock , Gears of War , Batman and big etc looks really great.

Smoothy08
Smoothy08

The Unreal 3 engine is brilliant just look at Bulletstorm.

maxneopayne
maxneopayne

@jollybest1 Crysis 2 has been optimized for consoles, so it won't look quite as good as the original in some aspects,however it will run much smoother.That being said wait till the game is actually released for pc because the demo and consoles only use Direct X 9 with some Direct X 10 effects.

maxneopayne
maxneopayne

@stocko2k Splinter Cell conviction is a modified unreal 2 engine not unreal 3.Most of the game runs really well but slows down exponentially during some missions with big outdoor areas like the iraq mission where you rescue sam.It's just cheap Ubisoft trying to pinch pennies.While all those games don't look the same,that has a lot to do with the art direction of the games, they feel very much the same while you play them and you can tell in everyone of them that it is the U3 engine, except Borderlands.The reflective attributes on the characters give it away, especially in low light and dark areas.

maxneopayne
maxneopayne

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

maxneopayne
maxneopayne

It's still a good engine that runs as smooth as butter, on that note my favorite engine right now is frostbite.

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

@stocko2k That's true, but there are similarities in the graphics of most of those games. For example pretty much all UE3 games have character models that are too "shiny", unless it's something like Borderlands which does something completely different with the graphics. Borderlands had the same shiny quality before they made the graphics cell-shaded.

kweeni
kweeni

Arkham City and Mortal Kombat are 2 games I'll definitely buy. :D

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

If a game looks good and plays well I'll get it. Ha. That's my only contribution to this article!

Hig1134
Hig1134

@omho88 @Mark355 Just because the PS3 has a more complex architecture doesn't mean the games don't run as well on PS3. There were a few cases, but that is down to the developer. There are games that don't run as well on 360 too(GTA4 and Darksiders). It's up to the developers. This is not bad news for PS3. Which system has all the exclusives for 2011? PS3. As well as everything else it does that the 360 doesn't do, the PS3 will be fine and will last lomger this gen than 360.

stocko2k
stocko2k

people saying all games look the same on ue3 are kinda short sighted. heres a quick list of ue3 games.... America's Army 3 Batman: Arkham Asylum BioShock Borderlands Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway BlackSite: Area 51 Gears of War Gears of War 2 Unreal Tournament 3 Rainbow Six Vegas Splinter Cell: Conviction Lost Odyssey Mass Effect Mass Effect 2 The Last Remnant Medal of Honor: Airborne Blade and Soul Bulletstorm you cant honestly say they all look the same http://www.blogcdn.com/www.joystiq.com/media/2008/07/last-remnant-nov-20.jpg http://technabob.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/tb-masseffect2.jpg http://downloads.2kgames.com/2kgames/uploads/images/games/borderlands_ss_01-231-cropped.jpg

jollybest1
jollybest1

Crytek engines are slow and buggy (ya good graphics but that's it ), unreal engine is better not because of the graphics but it does the job an more, so many possibilities with the unreal engine....and i did saw crysis 2 played a little the graphics aren't impressive like the first crysis, maybe i am getting to graphic addicted....

DrKill09
DrKill09

I'm usually not a huge fan of the Unreal 3 engine, but more recent games like Batman AA, Bulletstorm, and the new MK look great. Then again, those games use more colors than just brown and gray like earlier Unreal 3 titles. :P

Animatronic64
Animatronic64

Personally, I'm getting slightly sick of seeing the UE3 all over the place. Sure, it's a pretty awesome graphics engine, but doesn't anyone else get sick of seeing it all the time? It almost always has this distinct look that you can't miss, so a lot of games tend to look extremely similar. In Batman's case, however, I can't really imagine it using any other engine.

scorpion_47
scorpion_47

I have never been like "OMGLOLWTF check out these graphics man!.. Dude these are amazing!" okay maybe couple of times.. But still, graphics are a nice add.. its a bit like eye candy.. But its still the gameplay what matters.. When I read a review im like "alright, good gameplay, nice story" not like "graphics, graphics, graphics and graphics.. Did I mention graphics?" And imho, Unreal 3 does good.. It might be old and, lots of games are using it.. But like I said, it works.. It gets the job done.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@Gelugon_baat - a goal of some sort, unlike the vast majority.

mightEone
mightEone

I'm waiting to see what Unreal Engine 4 does

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

I never had a thing for the Unreal Engine. It doesn't always render textures fast enough and the effect is noticeable. But yeah, if the developer wants to make a quick buck, they will go with unreal because it is easy to use. As of now, Crytek 2,3 are definitely the most beautiful looking engines, however I feel that Frostbite 2 will destroy Crytek 3 just by sheer complete destructibility feature alone. ID 5 is probably going to be slightly behind. My favorite engines remain Havoc and Avalanche Engine 2.0

Sk8rlink
Sk8rlink

Hmmmm i like UE3, I'm not very knwoledgeable in programming and stuff,but I find myself liking even more FB 2.0, just because of the crazy physics implemented in it, destruction should be basic nowadays in every game, I mean I can't play BC2 and play another FPS where rockets and grenades blow people up but not a puny wodden box or a thin wall. I also have to agree that most UE3 games have pretty common visuals, thoguh that is completely up to art design, since if you take premade renders and just modify them it will of course be easier to make a game, but it will look very much like the reference render, so lazy= same visual not because of the same engine

littleghostie
littleghostie

And both games look excellent. I'll probably get them on amazon when the price drops.

quinnd6
quinnd6

I feel very conflicted right now, while I do love using my xbox 360 right now I still would like to see some better graphics so I hope they can get the best out of what we have otherwise things are going to be a bit samey.

capthappy8p
capthappy8p

UE3 has got to be one of the most robust and modular engines out there, it is constantly being updated, new features are being added for developers to use. the interface is familiar to anyone who has used UE1 through UE3, and there are alot of people in the game industry who started out using the free editor in epic's games to start modding.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@GodGundamNT1 [URL=http://www.gametrailers.com/video/debut-trailer-samaritan/711467]No, most certainly not[/URL] (yes, that's rendering; in-game stuff once the hardware's up to it). That link is, [URL=http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/03/03/very-real-epic-reveal-next-gen-unreal-tech/]according to Mark Rein[/URL], still UE3 at work (albeit a more advanced version than currently in use). UE3 is limited only by modern console hardware, as they likely don't want to venture off alone with PC. Not to mention that CryEngine3 is actually a step backward from 2, it wasn't made to look better and clearly doesn't, it was made to be workable on consoles (which 2 could never have been made to do). The unreal engine is still on the forefront of visuals, they're just not working toward the same goals.

da_chub
da_chub

which is like saying that this gen is going to last 3 more years. IMO...awesome! Im in no hurry to get another console.

XeonForce
XeonForce

Games like Battlefield, Crysis, and Uncharted all look amazing, and sport their own unique graphics/physics engines that set them apart. Unreal Engine 3 is alright, by why commit yourself to something that is just alright? Variety is the spice of life!

GodGundamNT1
GodGundamNT1

The CryEngine 3 is making Epic Games cry, quite simply they are screwed as they are being called out as weak by CryTek, its only a matter of time now. Also John Carmack is bringing out his Id Tech 5, thats going to have a huge challenge for UE3 but also its going up against the wall that is the CryEngine 3.

Giga_Surfer
Giga_Surfer

@squall_83 Actually i don't think its just the looks, i think that UE3 feels familiar, and I'm serious, Iv played allot of games using this engine, and i can point out any game that uses it whiteout even knowing it, because the game feels familiar and in some aspects it looks familiar. But still, even with that down size i think UE3 is the best one out there, and its only real opponent is the CryEngine 3.

Rigges
Rigges

UT3 is the most used engine out there, the reason developers aren't using Cryengine is because when cryengine 2 came out it didn't support console development and was over powered and under optimized to the point that few people could play a game developed on it (the original needed a 64Bit OS just to run the editor, which wasn't as common back 4 years ago). As with all engines these days, Unreal has a modular design (anyone who understands basic OOP will get that) so components can be plugged in and out and redeveloped. UT3 engine, as seen with anyone working on UDK has jumped leaps and bounds over the past year and a bit, implementing new features like scaleform, swarm agent (for new lighting model) and so on as well as their in-house enhancements. An Engine is no longer ugly because of its age, as long as its being expanded, just like Unreal Engine has been, it can handle very impressive visuals, far better than current gen consoles can handle (See Samaritan and Hawken). Unreal 4 won't come out until next gen consoles come out, Sweeney is working on it but a lot of the concepts for it have already made their way into UT3! In fact many of the boasted features of the Cryengine have also made their way into UT3 AND Cryengine 3 isn't a major upgrade from Cryengine 2, what it IS is a optimized version that can scale down to support consoles in the hope that more consoles pick up their tech.

squall_83
squall_83

For all the people saying that games using UE3 look too similar, It's definitely a matter of art direction. There are plenty of games that use this engine and look different. Take a brand new title, Homefront, for example. I had no idea it even used this engine until I researched it. I don't think anyone would even be able to tell unless they were told it used UE3. If anything I think Homefront looks like it runs on a beefed up Source engine. And there is the point I'm talking about exactly, art direction. The art and environments of Homefront are very reminiscent of Half Life 2.

PC_Otter
PC_Otter

UE's advantage is efficiency, experience, compatibility as well as documentation, though CryEngine 2 is technically more advanced (and by a good deal).

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

I see that they forgot to put a .5 after that 3 there.