During a masterclass lecture held at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris, that DualShockers attended, former Square Enix Worldwide Technology Director Julien Merceron explained why Square Enix shifted from using Luminous Engine on several games to only Final Fantasy XV.
Merceron explained that it’s difficult to share an engine without first creating a game on it. Some companies do that, but he wouldn’t. When he creates an engine, a game also has to be developed with that engine. After the engine proves itself in said game, then the technology can be shared, as the developers can finally say that it works.
If the engine hasn’t proved its worth, there’s a constant risk of problems. In fact, with the Fox Engine, the team did not start working on Pro Evolution Soccer before finishing Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Besides limited prototyping and assessment, the decision to use Fox Engine in PES was taken after Ground Zeroes was completed, and the team was sure that the engine could deliver.
The same goes for Luminous. Merceron recommended to Square Enix to release Final Fantasy XV and then see what happens with that, before using Luminous Engine with other games.
While Merceron did not mention it, it’s possible that Square Enix expected Final Fantasy XV to be released earlier, so that the engine could be used on Kingdom Hearts III and more afterwards. Then when development of the latest Final Fantasy started taking more time than anticipated they may have decided to switch to Unreal Engine 4. Of course this is just my speculation, so take it with the customary grain of salt.
The Video Game masterclass event in Paris was organized by Jeux Vidéo Magazine and Cité des Sciences.
[On-Location Reporting and Translation: Morgane Bouvais]