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Why Capcom is scrapping its old game engine for Panta Rhei

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Capcom scrapped its MT Framework engine and built the Panta Rhei engine from scratch in order to tighten development turnaround times for next-gen consoles, according to Capcom senior manager of technology management Masaru Ijuin.

In an interview posted to Capcom's investor relations website, Ijuin said Capcom discovered during the last console cycle that MT Framework — the engine powering games like Dragon's Dogma, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and the Dead Rising series — had some limitations that made it not ideal to work with for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

"Looking ahead to the development of games for next-gen consoles, we felt we needed to completely overhaul the development environment to better cope with the increasingly complex hardware," Ijuin said. "That's pretty much why we started developing this new engine.

"Don't get me wrong. We believe MT Framework is a powerful rendering engine," he added. "But it's clear that heightened game quality leads to a rise in the number of man hours. The amount of work involved in making games for next-gen consoles is eight to ten times greater than what is required for the current generation of consoles."

Some Capcom developers were hesitant about creating a brand new engine, Ijuin said, but while there was the option to upgrade MT, most felt "the easy route often fails to bring about the best results." Bolstering MT may have reduced an hour of development work down to 30 minutes, but according to Ijuin, with Panta Rhei the company sought to whittle it down even further to 10 minutes.

"I think everyone's a little apprehensive about changing the development environment," Ijuin said. "People frequently asked us why we felt the need to replace a smoothly running engine with a new one. We promised to offer them maximum support, and moved ahead with the development of Panta Rhei."

Panta Rhei is currently powering Deep Down, a free-to-play dungeon crawling online fantasy title that will launch exclusively for PlayStation 4.