A couple of days ago we were treated with a very high quality video from Square Enix showcasing what their next gen games could look like. It was very purdy. Not to be outdone, Epic has unleashed their vision of the future with this Unreal Engine 4 “Elemental” trailer.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dD9CPqSKjTU&list=UUBobmJyzsJ6Ll7UbfhI4iwQ&w=620]

The trailer begins in a cold, desolate, ancient throne room, the camera dollying through old stone pillars up to the throne itself where a dormant, horned being sits, seemingly not alive. A cold wind blows open the front doors to the room, and this greatly angers the sitting being, igniting fire in his eyes. As he begins to stand, lava starts flowing down through cut pathways in the stone, creating ornate patterns on the ground. The being rips himself from the stone throne, pulls up a hammer from the ground, and walks through the door. Outside, the volcano behind the throne room erupts angrily, poised to cover the surrounding, snow-covered lands in flame. The being strikes a pose, ignites his hammer in lava fire, and crashes it to the ground.

Being a real time demo of what’s to come, the visuals on display here are quite beautiful, although this trailer is basically the cutscene from the beginning of a few World of Warcraft expansions thematically. I can appreciate all of the intricacies of the happenings going on: with floating embers, tons of crashing rocks, beautiful depth of field, etc. (the technical wizbangs). Unfortunately, the content story-wise of this trailer is certainly not as impressive as what Square Enix had on display with their showing of a more human atmosphere.

Still, the point of these trailers is not to get caught up in the the story, necessarily, but to get a taste of the fidelity of games to come. And on that front, the next few years will be very interesting indeed.

More information can be found at Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 site, where it discusses the new developers tools to help aid the creation of super pretty games, and as witnessed by this (much more impressive that the trailer) video:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MOvfn1p92_8&w=620]