Kiev-based studio 4A Games has denied accusations that its proprietary engine has plagiarised a rival studio’s own tech.
The accusations were first fingered by the founder of nearby outfit GSC Game World – Sergey Grigorovich – whose studio develops the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series.
Grigorovich is said to have told Russian press that 4A’s engine is in fact copied from a pre-release version of GSC’s own X-ray code.
Adding fuel to the rumours was the timing of a high-profile departure at GSC. A year before the Russian studio released S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Oles Shishkovtsov left the company to become the CTO of 4A Games.
But Shishkovtsov today publicly denied the accusations. He told Digital Foundry that there is no relationship between both engines:
“Back when I was working as lead programmer and technology architect on S.T.A.L.K.E.R., it became apparent that many architectural decisions put into the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. engine were great for the time when it was designed, but they don't scale to the present day,” he said.
Shishkovtsov went on to claim that it would not be feasible to port games to consoles using GSC’s X-Ray code, thus exonerating 4A, as its tech will power the upcoming Xbox 360 FPS Metro 2033.
Said Shishkovtsov: “The major obstacles to the future of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. engine were its inherent inability to be multi-threaded, the weak and error-prone networking model, and simply awful resource and memory management which prohibited any kind of streaming or simply keeping the working set small enough for back then next-gen consoles.
Speaking to Develop last month as part of a wider interview, Metro 2033 exec producer Dean Sharp said that 4A wouldn’t want to work on pre-developed engines.
“I understand from a financial side,” he said, “but if you have the technology to make your own, it doesn’t make any sense to use a pre-developed one.
“Mainly because as a developer you’re forced to work in the way that whoever made the engine worked. Generally that means that some studio made an engine that suits the way that studio works, and then decided to sell it late, which means as a developer you are forced to work in the same way that they are.
“On top of that, from our standpoint, there wasn’t anything out there that could do the kind of things we wanted to do,” he added.