BioWare trademarks new game engine

Developer largely mum on its recently trademarked "Eclipse Engine," which it says is part of its "next generation of technology."

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When Atari announced that development had begun on Neverwinter Nights 2, it said BioWare would provide its developer, Obsidian Entertainment, with tools and technology from the first game to help create the sequel.

Today the public has a clue what BioWare's next generation of technology is. The day after the Neverwinter Nights 2 announcement, reports began to surface that BioWare had trademarked a new game engine with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Indeed, on May 28, the Canadian developer registered the name "Bioware Eclipse Engine" under the computer software subsection of the goods and services trademark category.

Since Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel use the Odyssey engine and Neverwinter Nights uses the Aurora engine, it is unclear what game the Eclipse engine will power. One theory is that it is the final name for Jade Empire's "entirely new graphics engine." Another is that it's the "brand-new cutting-edge technology engine" at the heart of BioWare's original fantasy role-playing game Dragon Age. A third hypothesis is that the Eclipse engine will power both games, and a fourth is that it will be part of a new, unnamed title.

For its part, BioWare is being coy as to what the Eclipse engine is--for now. "BioWare is always hard at work on great future gaming technology, and with the BioWare Eclipse engine we're building something which we believe will really make people in the industry sit up and take notice," a company rep told GameSpot. "We have a full team of dedicated people working hard to build our next generation of technology," he continued. "We'll release more information on the BioWare Eclipse engine at a later date."

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