Epic President Michael Capps said there are no guarantees in an industry rife with acquisitions and talk of acquisitions.
In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, he pointed out that buyouts of middleware companies have made publishers nervous about what to expect with their product development cycles.
Speaking of EA's purchase of Criterion and its Renderware, he said of Midway:
"... Renderware kind of fell out from under them right when they were making their decision for the next-generation of technology. So they had the code and they could have keep going that route, and they were really scared that if they went with [Unreal Engine] that they would have that same problem."
Capps said he made sure the Unreal Engine was documented, with all the source code provided, to put his customers' minds at ease.
"I can't force my guys to keep working on the engine. Someone could start a really cool shop next door and take them all," he admitted.
Capps added that Epic had a similar potential problem of its own when Aegia, responsible for physics-accelerating hardware that never caught on by itself, was bought out by Nvidia.
"It turns out that they got bought by someone who really wants to keep them going and work with us closely, but that is a major dependency for us, so we make sure we've got the source code so we can protect ourselves."
"So we understand how developers think, I guess, because we think that way," he said.