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Square Enix explains The Last Remnant's technical shortcomings

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The Last Remnant represented a major experiment for Square Enix. Not only was it one of the company's first Xbox 360 games, it utilized the Unreal Engine, a first for the Japanese publisher. Unfortunately, the experiment wasn't quite successful, with critics calling it "a technical mess." Thankfully, the company isn't simply ignoring its mistakes, with Square Enix's new chief technology officer explaining how the misuse of the Unreal Engine led to such disappointing results. "One of the traps with middleware (like Unreal) is that some game teams believe that, because they got this middleware, maybe they need less programmers on their team, or maybe they don't need that many skilled programmers," Julien Merceron told Gamasutra.

By relying too much on middleware, teams face precarious situations when issues arise that can't be solved internally. "You don't have anyone that is able to solve the problem on your team," Merceron explained. In the case of The Last Remnant, the "problem" happened to be a wildly inconsistent framerate.

Merceron isn't advising against using middleware, noting "it won't be possible anymore to work without middleware because of time, talent, and cost reasons." Hopefully, under the new guidance of Merceron, Square Enix won't repeat the same mistakes it made with The Last Remnant.

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