Updated: I've had a response from CIG director of communications, David Swofford, to say that the relationship between CIG and Amazon is that of them being a regular licensee of Amazon's technology. The reason for the announcement today was that it was turned on with the release of 2.6. He also confirmed that all the work CIG had done to expand the CryEngine has been transitioned to the new engine.
Original: Cloud Imperium Games announced tonight that is switching game engine to Amazon's Lumberyard. According to the press release that CIG sent at 11.30pm this evening, it has been in talks with Amazon for the past year and the latest patch, 2.6, which was released earlier today is already running on the new engine.
In the press release Chris Roberts is quoted as saying:
“We’ve been working with Amazon for more than a year, as we have been looking for a technology leader to partner with for the long term future of Star Citizen and Squadron 42,” said Chris Roberts, CIG’s CEO and creative director. “Lumberyard provides ground breaking technology features for online games, including deep back-end cloud integration on AWS and its social component with Twitch that enables us to easily and instantly connect to millions of global gamers. Because we share a common technical vision, it has been a very smooth and easy transition to Lumberyard. In fact, we are excited to announce that our upcoming 2.6 Alpha release for Star Citizen is running on Lumberyard and AWS.”
I have emailed questions back to CIG but because the email came through so late, I imagine many of the people at CIG will already be on their Christmas holidays and so I cannot expect a response until the New Year.
Cloud Imperium Games originally licensed Crytek's CryEngine to build Star Citizen in, though, as Roberts and his team told me in interviews earlier this year, they've had to significantly alter the engine to build Star Citizen and Squadron 42. Amazon Lumberyard, too, is an off-shoot of CryEngine, but, like CIG, it has done extensive extension and refactoring of the engine. Moving the game from one engine to the other cannot have been a small amount of work, but, as Roberts' statement says, it is already complete.
According to Amazon's head of business development for Amazon Games, Dan Winters, who is quoted in the press release “Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are incredibly ambitious projects which are only possible with great engine technology paired with the transformative power of the cloud. We love how CIG’s bold vision has already inspired a massive community, and we’re thrilled to see what they create with Lumberyard, AWS, and the Twitch community. We’re excited that they’ve chosen Lumberyard and AWS to provide the performance and scalability they need to bring their games to a massive audience.”
While update 2.6 was released earlier today, its patch notes made no mention of the Lumberyard transition. Players picked up on the switch when they spotted the logo on the splashscreen.
Earlier this week Crytek announced that it would be closing five of its studios. At the time CIG said that this restructuring of Crytek wouldn't have any impact on its development of Star Citizen, this switch to Lumberyard explains why. Hopefully in the new year we will learn more about the partnership between Amazon and CIG, is CIG going to be sharing its technological improvements to the CryEngine framework with Amazon?