[IMGW]http://media.1up.com/media?id=3175321[/IMGW]We realize most studios have forgone the previous notion of developing their own proprietary engines in favor of middleware, eliminating much of the unnecessary pre-production work on already costly next-generation games, but did anyone expect Square Enix would be someone to join this fold? This morning, they announced they've licensed Unreal Engine 3 from Epic Games -- and we're confused.

Square Enix has always been the kind of company who develops their own, internal engines for their games, but suddenly they've turned to an American middleware developer, completely out of nowhere and out of character for the company. Are we being given a glimpse into a chink on Square Enix's Final Fantasy-blazed armor, or are simply looking into this announcement a wee bit too much?

The company hasn't revealed why they've picked up Unreal Engine 3 just yet, but we should know more in the ongoing months, as Square Enix starts to unravel its next-generation plans more publically. Here's a thought: maybe next-gen development has taken longer than usual due to White Engine proving problematic and Unreal Engine 3's here to save it.

Or we could just be making stuff up.

Thanks to 1UP.com for sharing the news with us!