The Unreal Engine 3 that powers Mass Effect 3, Gears of War 3, and other games will soon be deployed in a wide-reaching government license. Epic Games has announced a partnership with "serious game" maker Virtual Heroes to license its Unreal Engine to government agencies from the US and its allies with the "Unreal Government Network." The engine is currently being used to develop a "multiplayer crime scene training simulation" being built by the FBI Academy, as well as medical training programs for platforms like HumanSim, which allows doctors to practice anesthesiology or teamwork in a virtual environment.
The Epic / Virtual Heroes team has also been awarded a $10 million contract with the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop experimental games that help analysts detect cognitive biases in their work. Among other projects, Virtual Heroes has previously worked on America's Army, a military recruiting tool that was built on an older version of the Unreal Engine. Combat or flight simulations have long been a part of military training, but a more widespread use of popular game engines could open up new ways to mimic real-life situations. It's also possible that the needs of government agencies could spur future technical breakthroughs in the Unreal Engine.