Proprietory middleware upgraded and rebranded as part of firm's £40.5m investment in development

Codemasters gets EGO boost

Codemasters has given its in-house middleware Neon a fuel boost as part of a huge investment in its studio operation – with a major upgrade that sees the tech rebranded to EGO, Develop can reveal.

The ambitious Britsoft firm first unveiled its in-house technology in Develop’s October 2006 issue (see previous story here). Since then plans have been afoot to keep developing the Neon engine, as it was then known, impressing the industry and gamers alike with the first game it powered, Colin McRae: DiRT.

New name EGO has been chosen to represent the next step for the engine plus the part it will play in upcoming releases such as Race Driver: GRID and Operation Flashpoint 2.

"Officially naming the EGO Engine takes our middleware from having a project title to becoming a tech brand," said Gavin Cheshire, VP, Codemasters Studios.

"Developing the engine, even through its initial phases, has been lengthy and a major investment for Codemasters. Not every third-party is in a position to devote resources to such an ambitious project and stay competitive. However, at Codemasters, we’ve invested in the technology and the support infrastructure to ensure all titles have an impressive and competitive edge."

On-going development of the EGO Engine formed part of the £40.5m Codemasters invested in game design and technical development in the 12 month fiscal period to June 30 2007 – an increase of over 150 per cent over the previous year.

“We made significant investments in our own cross-platform, multi-genre development solution in anticipation of the next generation console transition, Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens stated.

“Now we are in a position to rev mature middleware technology to get the most from today’s leading game systems. The EGO Engine is already making its mark on the industry with award-winning, multi-million-unit selling titles.”

Codemasters recently opened a new studio in Guildford which will be using the technology as it commences work on a brand new IP for the company.

Bryan Marshall, CTO at Codemasters Studios added: "With the EGO Engine we have technology that is specific to our needs and one that doesn’t force us to compromise.

"Particularly for Operation Flashpoint 2, we simply could not fulfil the ambitions we have for the game with any off-the-shelf middleware; certainly not one that enabled us to develop across the major fifth generation consoles simultaneously with PC, rather than as an afterthought, and no one was doing that."

An exclusive feature in the next issue of Develop – with subscribers from Monday and available to download for free next week – talks to Cheshire, Marshall and Codemasters Guildford boss Adrian Bolton to learn more about how EGO is becoming the heart of the Codemasters Studio operation as it expands in the UK.

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