In brief: Capcom games will run on a new engine soon. The publisher has informed developers that it plans to refresh its proprietary Reach for the Moon Engine. The six-year-old platform has several shortcomings the company plans to address while adding newer technologies to handle the evolutions in game development that we have seen since 2017.
Capcom R&D revealed to developers that it has begun work on a “next-generation” RE Engine. The company indicated that instead of building a new engine from scratch, it will upgrade the current RE Engine in eight phases while also addressing known issues along the way. The project is codenamed REX, which is short for RE neXt Engine.
For a frame of reference, Capcom began developing the Reach for the Moon (RE) Engine in 2014, one year after the PS4 and Xbox One launched. It was ready by 2017, with Resident Evil 7 being the first game on the new game architecture. Capcom repurposed it for other titles, including Monster Hunter Rise, Devil May Cry 5, Street Fighter 6, and the Resident Evil 4 remake.
However, we’re now three years into a new generation of hardware, and the RE Engine is due for an overhaul. The aging game engine struggles with rendering moving objects at a distance. If you played the Resident Evil 4 remake and had trouble aiming and shooting distant enemies, it wasn’t you. It was RE Engine. It also has trouble handling the larger asset files of today’s 4K games.
Capcom plans to address these failings and add newer technologies to REX, including raytracing, advanced shaders, and more. Developers designed RE Engine in conjunction with RE7. Therefore, it handles enclosed settings in RE7 quite well. Unfortunately, when applied to more open games like Monster Hunter and RE4, it ran into issues with rendering distant objects. To fix this weakness, Capcom says that REX will have a high level of customization to fit better with any title.
It also told developers it would have “better documentation, samples, and tutorials” plus multilingual support so that even “new graduates with commercial game engine experience” can quickly adapt to and learn the engine. However, developers should not expect everything to happen all at once.
REX Engine will include all previous features of RE Engine while adding support for new technologies and handling the growing size of assets more efficiently.
The video is mostly intended for developers but this was an interesting little tidbit at the end. pic.twitter.com/2Fb88i2lMA
– Okami Games (@Okami13_) October 26, 2023
Capcom said it would “raise the RE Engine to the next-generation level” in eight phases, which it listed but did not detail.
While some of the bullet points listed in the presentation are definable in a general sense – REDox likely pertains to documentation, which is why it is the first phase – Capcom didn’t elaborate more than that. It did promise developers information on each stage at future presentations.
It may be quite a while before we see a fully complete REX Engine – or whatever Capcom ends up calling it – because of its staggered development. However, that could be a good thing. If built from scratch, it could be several years before we see any games using it. The phased development should allow upcoming titles to at least benefit from some of the new technologies and bug fixes as they are added.