Capcom’s new engine Panta Rhei looks extremely powerful, but apparently it’s also extremely flexible: Senior Manager of Technology Management Masauru Ijuin described what kind of games the company’s new technology can work for in an internal interview published for the Capcom’s investors.
“Panta Rhei” can be adapted to anything. It is designed to be a general-purpose engine, and facilitate the creation of all types of games. Capcom creates games for a variety of genres, so this engine needs to be capable of handling whatever kind of game we want to make. “Panta Rhei” can meet the exact needs of each development team, no matter what type of game it is they’re making. This engine is pretty much “engineered specifically for Capcom games”
Despite the multiplatform nature of the engine, Ijuin-san explained how Deep Down is being used as a test bed for the engine, with the game and the new technology developed basically in parallel.
I view the development team as a kind of sparring partner when it comes to developing an engine. Without a partner, we wouldn’t know what functions need to be put into the engine or what kind of development environment we need to set up. The “Dead Rising” team was our sparring partner when we created “MT Framework”, while this time around with “Panta Rhei” it was the “deep down” team. We communicate closely with the development team members to improve and add functions which meet their demands.
Essentially we’re working with them to create the development engine. We hand the engine over to the “deep down” team to make sure it meets their expectations, get feedback in real time, and quickly address the points that need to be improved. This relationship will continue until we reach the development deadline for “deep down”. I’m pretty sure Pant Rhei will be complete by the time “deep down” is ready for release.
Ijuin-san also mentioned that the development of Pantha Rhei won’t stop with the release of Deep Down, and the engine will keep up the pace with the evolution of the hardware:
“Panta Rhei” will keep pace with technological innovation, including improved hardware performance. As this technology advances, the important question we must ask is how efficient can we be in developing games. Efficiency is not only about cost. It’s about how effectively we can invest in developing entertaining games.
For example, it is technically possible to spread fire across a corridor by using billboards. But by using the new engine and fluids, we can do this much more efficiently. The parallelization of processes is another example. What’s important for us is to send out a message to development teams, telling them we have a new engine which practically eliminates wasted cost, allowing them to keep testing things out until they find what they want, with no need to worry about the cost. That’s the kind of engine we want “Panta Rhei” to become.
Considering how good Deep Down looks so far, and how it’s just the first game developed with Pantha Rhei, it’s hard not to be excited about what kind of titles we’ll see down the line, especially when the engine and the next generation hardware will reach their maturity.
Some say that games on PS4 and Xbox One don’t look “next generation,” but I’d wait a year or two before passing judgement on that.