In April, Epic Games will be conducting an Unreal Engine developer conference at their recently-established support office in Tokyo, as part of an effort to expand development support for their middleware, according to a Famitsu report via Gamasutra.
Epic president Tim Sweeney will be joined at the conference by Goichi Suda, CEO of Grasshopper Manufacture, whose upcoming multiplatform project in collaboration with Shinji Mikami and Electronic Arts runs on Unreal Engine 3. Gears of War designer Cliff Blezinski will also have a presence at the conference in video form.
One of the few Japanese games to make use of Unreal Engine 3 is The Last Remnant, published by Square Enix. Square were originally considering licensing UK-based Burnout developer Criterion’s proprietary RenderWare technology, which was used by Rockstar to develop the Playstation 2 Grand Theft Auto games. However, concerns about future support triggered by Electronic Arts’s acquisition of Criterion led them to consider Unreal 3 instead.
At the time, it took months of back-and-forth collaboration between Epic and Square before the game engine was ready for use, following translation into Japanese and learning the ins and outs of the technology at the Square Enix end. However, further problems such as synchronizing the frequent engine updates with their own development process plagued the production of The Last Remnant throughout the project. Perhaps the establishment of a local support office in Japan will help offset such issues with future Unreal 3 licensees in the country.