The Gamebryo graphics engine from Emergent Game Technologies is one of the most popular for use in making video and PC games. This week the highest profile game using the Gamebryo engine ships to stores with Bethesda Softwork's RPG Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. FiringSquad got a chance to ask some questions to Emergent's chief operating officer John Austin about Gamebryo and their plans for the future.
FiringSquad: First, was the transition for the company from the previous NDL smooth in the end?
The transition was surprisingly smooth. Emergent and NDL were well positioned to come together, and the integration of our leadership and the product development teams has progressed well. I think you’ll see at GDC just how far we’ve come. We’ll be announcing the first of a range of new products that we think are going to change the way games are made, tested, and operated.
FiringSquad: Game graphics engine and tools continue to be more and more popular for game developers. How does Emergent see the future use of middleware product like your own Gamebryo expanding in the near future?
As long as developers are racing to create more innovative game content, we see the middleware market continuing to grow. It’s as simple as that. Nearly all of today’s most successful studios are using middleware extensively, and we think that’s no accident. They’re totally focused on great content, and they’re a lot less worried about the tools and technology side.
FiringSquad: The Gamebryo engine is being used for a variety of games, including the best selling Civilization IV and Elder Scolls IV: Oblivion. How does Emergent work with game developers like Firaxis and Bethesda Softworks to help them get the most out of the engine?
These are two great examples of how flexible our technology is – Gamebryo can be used on a wide range of titles and so studios can adopt our technology across multiple titles. Our engineers have worked very closely with both Firaxis and Bethesda to make sure their games look great and make the best use of Gamebryo. It’s a rewarding experience for everyone involved—especially when the games are released to the level of acclaim that those titles received. And for us, the feedback we get from our top developers helps drive future features and tools.
FiringSquad: There are quite a number of other middleware engines out there (Unreal, Source, Doom 3, etc). How do you feel the current Gamebryo engine stacks up to the competition?
Gamebryo is one of the best engines on the market. It stacks up quite favorably against each of those engines. For us, the difference has always been ensuring that Gamebryo is the most flexible engine out there. We believe our technology should fit within our customers’ development pipeline, and not the other way around. So we’ve taken great care to keep it from becoming a rigid solution, and we’ve loaded it with a rich set of tools to give our customers the power to really get the most out of our engine. We’ve also built a great reputation for customer support through the years—we believe we have the best support in the business.
Frankly, one obstacle we’ve run into is this perception that Gamebryo is primarily a PC engine. That’s because some of the biggest hits from our customers have been PC games. But I think that perception is starting to change, especially here on the eve of the launch of Bethesda’s Oblivion, which is a major Xbox 360 title.
Finally, we’re on the eve of launching a range of new technologies. I think once people see how Gamebryo fits as part of our new product line, it will really force them to rethink what a game engine can be, and what it can do.