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After garnering lots of success from Lineage II and Blade & Soul using Epic Games' Unreal Engine, NCSoft is back for more with the Unreal Engine 4 and they're pumping out some next-gen MMOs (even more next-gen than TERA and Blade & Soul), which means we could be seeing Lineage or other NCSoft titles upscaled within Epic's latest engine.

Ray Park, territory manager for Epic Games Korea commented in the press release about the news, saying...
“NCSOFT’s first Unreal Engine mega hit, ‘Lineage II,’ has remained in Korea’s top 10 games for 10 years, and people have been blown away by the leading-edge Unreal Engine 3 visuals of ‘Blade and Soul,’”...“With Unreal Engine 4 in their hands, NCSOFT is set to redefine MMORPG success all over again.”
I'm somewhat excited about this news and yet not. There's a twofold situation here because on one hand the Unreal Engine 4 allows for much better streamlined asset creation and removes a lot of the top-heavy load on artists by enabling lots of procedural effects and lighting. However, the past record of Unreal Engine MMOs hasn't been completely spotless, in fact, some Unreal Engine powered MMOs have had a lot of problems, including APB: Reloaded and Mortal Online. For instance-based MMOs Unreal Engine 3 seemed to work well, but let's hope that the Unreal Engine 4 hooks into network code a lot better, in order to enable large-scale open-world MMOs, without all the hiccups and backend roadblocks.

James Bae, chief product officer of NCSoft shared his thoughts about the licensing deal, saying...
“Unreal Engine 4 is an extremely fascinating game engine in terms of its unprecedented efficiency and performance,”... “We plan to release our best game ever using our Unreal Engine expertise and the new state-of-the-art Unreal Engine 4 tools.”

With non-targeting gameplay mechanics making their presence known in today's generation of MMOs, I'm very excited to see what the next-step is in MMO game development. We'll soon find out in a few years once NCSoft makes full use of the Unreal Engine 4.