4A Games has moved to quell rumours that the new engine that powers its debut title, Metro 2033, is derived from the X-Ray tech found in GSC's PC title, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Asked about the connection between the engines during an interview with Digital Foundry, 4A CTO Oles Shishkovtsov said, "There's no relationship. Back when I was working as Lead Programmer and Technology Architect on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. it became clearly apparent that many architectural decisions put into S.T.A.L.K.E.R. engine were great for the time when it was designed, but they just doesn't scale to the present day.

"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."

Shiskovtsov reckons that the original X-Ray code was so tightly defined for PC that porting the engine to console would be a complete waste of time.

"When the philosophies of the engines are so radically different it is nearly impossible to share the code," he said. "The final answer is 'no'. We do not have shared code with X-Ray, nor would it be possible to do so."

Controversy has surrounded the origins of the new 4A engine, as GSC founder Sergey Grigorovich has apparently claimed in the Russian games press that the tech is derived and improved from a pre-release version of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. code. Shishkovtsov and his colleague Aleksandr Maksimchuk left GSC a year before the game eventually launched.

There'll be more technical discussion about the new 4A Engine in this weekend's Digital Foundry feature on Metro 2033.

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Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

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