Next-gen engine from Square Enix shows what future games could look like, tech demo video inside

By Luke Plunkett on June 7, 2012, 12:41 AM

Unreal 4 better watch its back. Square Enix pulled off what may be E3's biggest surprise when they unveiled an incredible real-time demo of their new Luminous Studio engine. Using a Final Fantasy motif as a showcase, Square Enix describes the engine as being for "next generation quality games".

The next generation of consoles may not be at this year's E3, but their graphics certainly are. Everything you see in this video - dubbed Agni's Philosophy - and screens is supposedly running in "real-time". Or, to quote Square, this is a "FINAL FANTASY REALTIME TECH DEMO". Given this is an engine advertisement, don't expect launch games to look just like this, but still. A glimpse at the potential of future consoles is better than no glimpse at anything from the future from this show, right?

Square Enix has been known for eye-popping visuals in their Final Fantasy titles and this new tech makes it seem that like that legacy will keep going strong into future generations.

Republished with permission. Luke Plunkett is a contributing editor at Kotaku.




User Comments: 42

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bugejakurt said:

Well.. I think there is nothing so special about this tech demo running real-time, except some hair movements and some facial expressions.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

If we can expect games to look a little less detailed than this in the near future I don't think we have made much of a jump from last gen stuff to be honest. From the PS2 to the PS3 for example was a huge difference in graphical detail, this doesn't seem to be that much of a jump? Its an improvement for sure but not quite as much as I was hoping for considering the hardware has become 2x-3x more powerful.

Guest said:

Ehhh... Looks nice, but so what if it's going to be in yet another linear game, where you go from one cutscene to another. A price for nice engine will be 20 minutes of unskippable commercials and intros. Show me at least one innovation in the gameplay or I go Minecraft ;)

Zecias said:

If we can expect games to look a little less detailed than this in the near future I don't think we have made much of a jump from last gen stuff to be honest. From the PS2 to the PS3 for example was a huge difference in graphical detail, this doesn't seem to be that much of a jump? Its an improvement for sure but not quite as much as I was hoping for considering the hardware has become 2x-3x more powerful.

When I compare this with the current console graphics, they look like they are miles apart. To me, it looks better than the PC games of the last generation. Everything looks pretty good expect for the textures. It seems strange to me because textures aren't that demanding on most graphics cards.

SilverCider said:

Zecias, textures may not present a difficulty in rendering them but they require massive amounts of memory (be it GPU or System). Doubling up on texture size, in terms of memory, does not necessarily equate to doubling the perceived texture quality.

I think there is a significant leap in the overall graphics here over the current console gen, and even a noticeable leap over the current pc generation.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Graphics look pretty impressive considering they are supposed to be rendered in real-time. CGI movies from a few years ago looked like this, so it's definitely a step ahead of current titles.

Guest said:

Stop spending so much time on visuals and voice acting and start investing more in gameplay and character/story development.

Guest said:

Well.. I think there is nothing so special about this tech demo running real-time, except some hair movements and some facial expressions.

I agree.

Guest said:

From the way consoles are going we will see this type of graphics on consoles in the next 500 years possibly more but that's only if game developers want to improve the graphics which is highly unlikely but maybe dice can do this for PCs in 50 years time.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Graphics look pretty impressive considering they are supposed to be rendered in real-time. CGI movies from a few years ago looked like this, so it's definitely a step ahead of current titles.

I agree, but at the same time, it doesn't look as impressive as other engines. Unreal 4 comes to mind, but that's too easy. I saw the E3 demos for Watch Dogs and Start Wars 1313, and quite frankly, they already look like this FF demo.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Not sure why you guys weren't impressed - I think it looks better than current PC games. The scale on this tech demo is beyond anything I've seen yet, although the flesh could have looked better when it was gathering on the dragon. Now I just have to figure out how I'm gonna stand up after watching this without my co-workers thinking I was looking at porn.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I tend to agree with people who are saying it doesn't look miles apart from what the current gen has to offer. To be honest, who the hell cares if it's 'real time' or not? I don't. All I want is a good game, not a demonstration in how a game can look.

In my opinion, the PS3 hasn't been fully pushed yet. There's still potential there for me. Kinda like how Final Fantasy XII squeezed what it did from the PS2 just before the PS3 came along. When the PS3's swansong comes along, these "Real-time" graphics/animations are going to look even less of a step up in my opinion.

Vid looked good though, I'll admit.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Looks good, but I've started to care less and less about graphics over the past few years. Gran Turismo 5, Final Fantasy XIII, Rage, and several other titles have boasted nice visuals but never enough to make up for their gameplay shortcomings. A nice paint job only goes so far when there's a rubber band under the hood.

Guest said:

über graphics don't make up for bad gameplay, Enix should know this by now...

Zeromus said:

So they developed a new engine or is this an evolved Crystal Engine?

I hope they consider PC titles along side next-gen to help leverage that detail. I saw a lot of western names in the credits, so there has to be some open mindedness someone on thier dev team.

fimbles fimbles said:

Textures, shading, lighting is all very mainstream.

The physics of the hair, fur, sparks ect was impressive though.

Guest said:

Wait, this is stupid. It is only a game movie animation. We have this now in most games. I was expecting actual game play to be like this. It is never the case.

Puiu Puiu said:

Wait, this is stupid. It is only a game movie animation. We have this now in most games. I was expecting actual game play to be like this. It is never the case.

Real-Time means that it wasn't a movie but in-game visuals, albeit scripted.

This looks like a pre-beta version of the engine or something close to beta, but they still have time to improve it a lot, considering that we didn't even know that they were working on a new engine. Unlike Unreal 4 which it is know for being under development for a very long time this is still fresh.

I like how the next gen is looking so far when we so many extraordinary engines being made. Now if only we actually had some next-gen script writers and next-gen gameplay mechanics

Guest said:

It has already been said that they won't be using current hardware for the next gen systems, it cost them too much money. So these graphics are unlikely to be seen on next gen consoles, more likely on my my dual GTX 690's in Quad SLI. :p

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I could be mistaken, only catching a glimpse here at work, but it looks like they've put clothing on their models. That's something that I've wanted to see in a game engine for a long time. I'm a little tired of the plastic action figure models with painted on clothing that doesn't bend well and intersects with itself at certain angles. And I would love to see a game engine actually render fabric over a model. It looks more realistic and taps into the physics engines for good use.

Like you all are saying, good graphics doesn't mean good game. But at least the end results are attractive and if the engine is leased and powers a good game, we win.

DanUK DanUK said:

What the hell is everyone bitching about? For in game graphics this looks incredible.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Stop spending so much time on visuals and voice acting and start investing more in gameplay and character/story development.

For what it's worth, HORRIBLE voice acting has made me stopped playing a game before, I will agree that overall gameplay and the lack of character/story development (or not even having a story in some cases) has really been keeping me from enjoying a number of games I've played lately.

Night Hacker Night Hacker said:

Personally, I would rather see lower tech, larger environments with more to do in them, than running through some halls and valleys with limited options and lots of glitter to oooh and aaaw me.

Jibberish18 said:

Honestly I was going to call BS before even watching the video because in the past companies would show you a CGI movie and try and predict that was what they would like like. Of course it never panned out that way. Now that I did watch the movie I can say that the graphics look very doable and indicative of what they might look like. I'm hoping they look better because A) They don't look all that great honestly and not MILES apart from what consoles can do today with some clever development (Look at real game-play for "Watch Dogs" for example and B) the hardware that's going to go into next gen consoles is probably already technically outdated.

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

every six months they make leaps in video tech, so who knows in a couple of years they may look that good.

Make the games use all 12 and 16 or more cores, and use the 64 gig of ram, and utilize the GPU's as well, cuda, phy and direct compute etc etc..

Utilizing the cpu's and gpu's and the whole machine, that would be really cool then..

Until then I willl wait... wait.. wait..

making the game models are the fun part, then getting them into the game engine and seeing the HD 3D Model as it should be that would be cool yep yep

now back to BattleMech Modeling og Mech Warriors 100 ton+ machines

mike

treetops treetops said:

There will be huge hardware increases in next generation consoles, its been 6-7 years it would be ridiculous to think they wont be light years apart.

I thought this was a cinematic before I read the posts and I only watched it at 480.

Guest said:

Man, they should focus on what you can do with the environment, not on how good it looks.

Also, what happened to the AI? developers figured it is easier to throw a basic multiplayer instead of complex and chellenging computer controlled opponents/NPCs, right?

I'm losing interest in new game releases with every passing month. Creativity is pretty much dead.

Guest said:

ha ha I stopped reading when I saw Final Fantasy.

Stupido Stupido said:

Make the games use all 12 and 16 or more cores, and use the 64 gig of ram, and utilize the GPU's as well, cuda, phy and direct compute etc etc..

Utilizing the cpu's and gpu's and the whole machine, that would be really cool then..

True... I hope OpenCL will help to see this happening, sooner rather then later...

now back to BattleMech Modeling og Mech Warriors 100 ton+ machines

mike

indeed, now back to Simulink/Simscape modeling of the ground drive system on a 12 ton+ combine harvester...

Guest said:

Lame premise for a game, guns vs. magic. Graphically it doesn't look that good. The scenes that were not zoomed in on faces were stuttery. The environment, despite obviously being based on Rio Dejanero, seemed very generic and blurry . The ambient music gave me the urge to stick a hot poker in my ear. The company should change its name to square-generic.

Guest said:

They should switch to producing FPS cause that's what 80% of new titles that come out are. RPG's are unfortunately a dying breed.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Could look like?

Will look like.

Question is, when will PC hardware meet the requirements.

I love all the newbie comments about the hardware aspect.

They do know this exact thing has been happening since the Voodoo cards right?...going on 15-20 years now.

I remember playing Aliens Vs Predator (90's version on my PC) and saying 'one day graphics will look like these cutscenes'. Here we are in another loop! Enjoy the ride!

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I used to say the same thing - remember how big a deal it was with the city zoom intro on FFVII ? We can do that in real time now.

Guest said:

I'd much rather Square make a fun playable game than focusing so much on graphics. 1 in 3 of their games are boring and cheesy. Mostly they make long boring movies that let you walk around a little bit here and there. They need to apply the kind of structure that FF4 or FF6 so successfully employed to these graphical leaps otherwise it's all for not. FF13 was a joke, it barely qualifies as a game. It was more like a "twist-a-plot" book only cornier.

Guest said:

Looks pretty nice. Much better than the Unreal Engine 4 demo that was a bit unimpressive. Too bad SE said they aren't licensing out the engine.

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

Well consoles shouldnt even be mentioned with next gen graphics. PC's need to be the focus and where games need to be developed from start to finish then ported to console kiddies. Not the other way around. Consoles are holding everything up to make games look like this. The next gen consoles will already be outdated when they come out, I upgrade my PC every year just to spite crap kiddie consoles.

Guest said:

Really hard to tell a difference between this and the actual generation graphics. Besides, Square-Enix nowadays has the fame of making really bad games with good graphics and that's all, graphics are a secondary thing in every videogame.

Guest said:

Its clear many don't understand the scale of what they are viewing, this is not a pre rendered cut scene. Using this engine, this is more or less what a game will look like, imagine you control the female or one of the gunmen, that's what this engine offers, and there is nothing available currently that can match what you saw in that vid, not even close.

Sure, graphics do not a game make, content and game play are important but this is a huge leap in graphical fidelity.

Guest said:

Wow, look at the all critics and noobs. There isn't a single console or PC game that looks half as good today, not even Witcher 2. Of course, most people think BF3 is good looking but it looks like utter garbage with crappy textures and uninspired models and level of detail. Take away the lighting model from BF3 and it looks worse than the original Crysis.

This demo on the other hand is leaps and bounds ahead of anything we currently have in graphics.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

If we can expect games to look a little less detailed than this in the near future I don't think we have made much of a jump from last gen stuff to be honest.

What you're mostly impressed by on the PS3 are seamless transitions to cinematics that are not rendered in real-time. This looks pretty damn good even compared to those pre-rendered PS3 scenes.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

If we can expect games to look a little less detailed than this in the near future I don't think we have made much of a jump from last gen stuff to be honest.

What you're mostly impressed by on the PS3 are seamless transitions to cinematics that are not rendered in real-time. This looks pretty damn good even compared to those pre-rendered PS3 scenes.

I've never owned a PS3, I don't even know what your talking about XD

I had an Xbox a while back (when Halo 3 came out) but sold it, I only have a PS2 and a serious Gaming Rig.

Still though, Don't get me wrong it still looks promising and everything but considering we are expecting games to look slightly lower in the graphical department than this demo shows I just don't think thats much of a leap forwards, even the launch titles on the Xbox looked better by a long way than anything on the orginal Xbox/PS2 at the time.

That and it probably doesn't help I can run anything on my PC at full graphics, games today still have alot of the details the difference this demo displays is the clothing, draw distance and environment details but the characters themselves I wouldn't say are much better in detail than what we have today tbh...

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