Epic today announced the acquisition of Rad Game Tools, maker of game development tools for many years. They’ve stayed largely behind the scenes, but many gamers will recognize the colorful Bink Video logo, which has appeared in the openings of many a title over the years.
“Our work with Epic goes back decades, and joining forces is a natural next step given our alignment on products, mission, and culture,” Rad Game Tools founder and CEO Jeff Roberts said in the announcement. And it has seemingly only intensified recently.
Close integration with engines and platforms makes for good standards, and good standards get embraced by developers. That’s why Epic has been cozying up to Sony as well as snapping up components to fit into its Unreal engine, positioning it as an all-encompassing development platform for next-generation games.
Rad (styled RAD) has been in games for a long time, as its decidedly old-school website attests. Bink is a video codec for games that focuses on high compression and speedy rendering, both important in the gaming world. Oodle, Telemetry, Granny 3D and Miles Sound System are all development tools beyond what the lay person would understand, but no doubt have many fans.
Epic may be known now as the creator of money-printing machine Fortnite, but the company has been around for decades and probably knows the Rad team well. That may help explain the friendly terms under which the acquisition will take place.
“RAD will continue supporting their game industry, film, and television partners, with their sales and business development team maintaining and selling licenses for their products to companies across industries – including those that do not utilize Unreal Engine,” Epic said in its announcement.
So while Bink and the rest will continue to be available for anyone to use outside Epic’s domain, they will almost certainly be better integrated with the Unreal ecosystem. As game development cost and complexity rises, means of simplification are often taken advantage of. Epic is working hard to make Unreal not just the most graphically powerful engine for development, but also the most unified.
A request for comment and further details on the deal sent to Rad Game Tools was intercepted by Epic and declined.