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Capcom's new REX engine will address "ballooning" game scales and no, that's probably not a Dino Crisis reference

New tech will also make life easier for overseas developers

A screenshot of classic Capcom survival horror game Time Crisis, with a T-Rex menacing the player character
Image credit: Capcom

Capcom have unveiled the next generation of their in-house RE Engine, which came in alongside Resident Evil 7 in 2017 and has been used by a bunch of projects over the years, from the excellent Devil May Cry 5 to the forthcoming possibly-excellent Dragon's Dogma 2. RE Engine's successor, the REX engine, is a response to three things - 1) RE Engine productions getting bigger in terms of assets, and more diverse in terms of genre, 2) RE Engine games being increasingly made by overseas developers who speak different languages, and 3) unflattering comparisons with various commercial tools, like Unreal Engine and Unity.

All that's according to a new video presentation popped up by Capcom R&D, voiced by an unnamed member of staff. "In the course of operating RE Engine so far, several issues have come to light," it explains. "First, the scale of projects has expanded and diversified. Compared to the first release of Resident Evil 7, the number and the scale of recent projects has ballooned more than five times.

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"This has resulted in slower iteration speeds than in the beginning and the need for more efficient mechanisms to handle larger and larger amounts of assets," the video continues. "The number of titles developed using RE Engine has also diversified and required a high degree of customisation to suit each genre.

"RE Engine is also being used by overseas subcontractors, and the number of foreign nationals among project members is increasing," it goes on. "As a result, we are required to provide better documentation, samples, and tutorials than ever before, and to support multiple languages.

"In addition, the number of mid-career and new graduate hires who have experience with commercial game engines is increasing, and the same level of usability and customization features as commercial engines are now demanded. In order to solve these issues, a new level of engine is required that goes beyond the boundaries of in-house engines."

Rather than rolling out the new REX engine in one go, Capcom plan to gradually weave the core features into the existing RE Engine tech.

I realise this all makes for rather dry reading, but the implications are interesting. Firstly, it sure does sound as though Capcom are gearing up to make REX a commercial game engine, competing directly with Epic and co. Secondly, and no less speculatively, the talk of needing to support more genres is promising inasmuch as it could be grounds for Capcom experimenting a bit beyond their core franchises. Thirdly, IS "REX" A REFERENCE TO DINO CRISIS? No, it probably isn't. It's always unwise to read too much into Capcom naming conventions - RE Engine, for instance, sounds like a reference to Resident Evil, but it's actually shorthand for "Reach for the Moon".

The prospect of a new Dino Crisis weighs heavy on the minds of many videogame enthusiasts - you should see the quote-tweets for the video above. For a time, people were convinced that the not-widely-liked Exoprimal was a spiritual Dino Crisis sequel. "It always started off as a concept to create a new IP," director Takuro Hiraoka told Liam (RPS in peace) in May. "The fact that dinosaurs are in it naturally puts people in mind of another game that has dinosaurs in it. But that's purely the only level of overlap that the two games have."

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