"Epic and licensee Silicon Knights (Too Human) have continued their engine-related court battle, with controversy over Epic being permitted to examine Silicon Knights' codebase, and Silicon Knights revealing it originally paid $750,000 to license Unreal Engine 3."
Engine licensing, and middleware in general, is getting expensive and it's not a magic bullet in terms of development work. You're gonna have to learn the engine and tools well enough to use them, at a minimum, and you'll have to understand how various hooks work (which will take months) in order to significant improve or put your own code in place in the general case.
Does anyone recall what the Q3A engine debuted at when it was released? I thought it was a $400k flat license fee, but there were other license plans including ones against sales.