Square Enix’s Taku Murata speaks about Crystal Tools

Remember back last year when we got word about Square-Enix licensing the Unreal Engine 3? Then they announced the “White Engine”, which had its name changed to the “Crystal Tools” engine around GDC time? Since then, we haven’t heard too much about the newly renamed initiative, but thanks to an interview over at Gamasutra with Taku Murata, Crystal Tools’ General Manager, some detailed information about the project has finally come to light. From the interview:

GS: A lot of companies in Japan have mentioned that they feel that the Japanese game market is falling behind in terms of technology, partially because PC development and advances in that sort of technology have been happening mostly in Western markets, and support is in English. This engine, though, seems quite high-end. It’s very unusual within the Japanese industry right now. Do you agree with that?

TM: Until the PS3 was launched, regarding the 360 and PS3, it is true. I agree that maybe Japanese game technology is behind because there were no previous experiences, or a base in that PC market in Japan back then. Since then, things have changed. Now, I think it has come to a point when the PC architecture and technologies have advanced, particularly in terms of the Japanese way of expression, such as, “In this game, we feel very strongly that we are very capable.”

I do think that in terms of the language barrier, yes, it still is a challenge. We do face those challenges in terms of communication, but in terms of technology, I don’t think we’re behind. We probably have conquered that problem…or probably we have gone across that point and advanced.

With the engine confirmed for use in FFXIII as well as Square’s upcoming MMO, we can expect to see some changes coming soon, but what does that mean for the average Final Fantasy fan? Murata describes Crystal Tools as “very Square-like” in one part of the interview, but that isn’t saying much considering we’ve never seen their flair applied in this way before. We’ll have to wait to see what hands-on time with these games feels like before we can actually comment, but it’s interesting news regardless.

If this type of thing floats your boat, you can check out the full interview here.

[Via Gamasutra — Thanks, Jonathan!]

Colette Bennett