MARCH 17, 2011 • Two of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s internal game studios, Rocksteady and Netherealm, will exclusively use Epic Unreal engine technology through 2014. The deal also gives Warner Bros. the option of using the Unreal engine in any game it publishes.
Impact: Rocksteady’s and Netherealm’s upcoming 2011 releases are Batman: Arkham City and the Mortal Kombat reboot, a 3rd person action and a fighting game, respectively. The former is typical content to be developed in Unreal, while the latter is not. Unreal’s flexibility and wide acceptance makes it suitable for a broad range of games and has a huge pool of designers, programmers, artists and producers in the industry who are strongly familiar with it. No doubt this influenced WBIE’s decision to create an overall deal with Epic Games to leverage internal talent and save on both technology and development costs. Not content to merely strengthen its large footprint in AAA game development, Epic Games has made available a free version of the engine that requires a one-time $99 fee and a 25% royalty on game sales over $50,000, providing small and independent developers AAA technology without requiring AAA technology budgets. This is likely a move in part to counter the increasing use of the Unity engine, a low cost but highly powerful and versatile 3D game engine. Further, both engines support iOS development.