With the recent release of Final Fantasy VII: Remake I wanted to look back through it’s long development cycle to see why certain technological decisions were made, the particular one being why they chose to use the Unreal Engine over their in-house engine Luminous.
The Unreal Engine is a powerful engine, everyone can agree on that, however for a series the size of Final Fantasy it does ponder the question, why would they choose to give up a percentage of their revenue in just engine licensing fees especially when they have a great engine like Luminous in their studios.
During development the team wanted to port the game over from an earlier build of Unreal Engine to the Luminous Engine. The game was still in early alpha development, raising funds from their stock investors and showing our preview trailers early on. We were treated to a preview but didn’t see much else for a while. The studio was porting the entire game over to the Luminous Engine. However, something didn’t go right, I mean the engine was released in 2012 for their internal studio use and has been internally upgraded since then with all the bells and whistles you can expect in a AAA game engine.
Development had started on their massive titles the MMO Final Fantasy XIV and Final Fantasy XV the massive open world game with many more technical hurdles to overcome. As it turns out, the engine development budget was tight, they need to decide how they would split the resources between their games, focus on the MMO FF: XIV and FF: XV and try and port the FFVII Remake or instead focus on two games and continue development on FFVII Remake using Unreal Engine. In the recent years, we have seen Epic Games has been generous with helping game studios develop games using their engine, I wouldn’t be surprised if they offered funding to continue using Unreal Engine for FFVII Remake, this would be a massive win for Epic Games, a great game for their engines portfolio.
So work continued on the game using Unreal Engine and the other titles like MMO FF: XIV and the open world FF: XV continued inside Luminous. It’s actually great to point out that their studio showed off a tech demo with their staff to show off it's features: