“Now go, and bring the legend (of the Fox Engine) back to life (at Bandai Namco)!”
Outside of losing the true Metal Gear Solid voice and experience with the departure of Hideo Kojima from Konami, the second biggest loss out of the whole debacle was losing the Fox Engine. It seems as though, with the loss of its lead architect, Julien Merceron, outside of slight updates for future Pro Evolution Soccer games there is no use for the visually dynamic engine at Konami. Thankfully, the technology will not be lost on gaming; it’s just moved houses.
GamesIndustry has reported that Bandai Namco has hired Julien Merceron to lead, “the development of core technology for contents and production pipelines for various platforms” as the worldwide technology director. Merceron had left Konami a few months before Kojima did, back in September. His role appears to go beyond that of gaming, but at the very least looks to include creating engines and improvements to the development process for several of Bandai Namco’s numerous IP’s.
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“I am very happy to welcome Mr. Merceron as part of Bandai Namco Studios,” CEO Hajime Nakatani said. “The studio will continue to accelerate its efforts worldwide. In line with the evolution of information-communication technology, innovative services through VR/AR/IoT are being created, and we are facing a chance to create a lifestyle and entertainment that has never been imagined. In such revolutionary times, in order to create the best product for the world, we would like to evolve the studio together with Mr. Merceron.”
It makes sense to bring in Merceron to help integrate systems and engines for a rapidly expanding realm of gaming, but the thought of a Fox Engine equivalent for the likes of Dark Souls (or From Software, in general) IP is tantalizing. Outside of Bloodborne, which looks impressive (but performance doesn’t match it), From Software has been lacking in the technological implementation of their products, especially at meeting framerate and visual fidelity demands. Hopefully, Merceron’s role will allow for an eventual, tangible improvement of From’s output in that regard.