A new major development has been announced for the Xbox community, as Microsoft buys the Havok game engine. The software is of great renown in the gaming world, as major developers have used it to produce some of the industry’s biggest AAA titles, including Skyrim, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Just Cause and its sequel, Heavy Rain, La Noire, as well as several Call of Duty games.
Havok allows for the development of photorealistic graphics, as well as accurate physics, in particular for real-time collision and the dynamics of rigid bodies, in the gameplay. The engine’s technology allows for games to be designed with realistic features across platforms and consoles.
The software was created by an independent Irish company of the same name and was later acquired by Intel, which licensed its technology to game developers across the world. Some feared that the new Microsoft acquisition means that the use of the engine will eventually be limited to Windows or Xbox-exclusive titles.
However, after buying the rights on October 2, the company released a statement, reassuring its commitment to license availability and support to other developers:
“As we welcome Havok to the Microsoft family, we will continue to work with developers to create great gaming experiences, and continue to license Havok’s development tools to partners.”
Microsoft further stated that this is a much-welcomed addition to its already existing tools available for developers, such as DirectX 12, Visual Studio and Microsoft Azure. The company has also announced intentions to use Havok tools in order to improve available features for their existing platform components.
Nonetheless, the software has been around for 15 years on the game market and it currently has over 600 titles to showcase. It is thus unsurprising that Microsoft would take an interest in it, especially considering that Havok remains the primary choice for developers to power PS4, Xbox One and PC games. With the latter two in mind, some regard this as an attempt from Microsoft to win the console wars.
So far Sony and PS4 developers have not offered an official reaction, although fears continue that future Playstation-exclusive titles, similar to Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls, will be forced to either guarantee Xbox and Windows compatibility or seek a new development engine altogether. Conversely, Xbox fans and the ‘PC race’ rejoice at the news of the acquisition and are even more optimistic for future game releases on the platforms of their choice.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia