Epic wasn't the only one unveiling brand new technology at E3. Square-Enix also had a brand new engine on display and at first gamers are treated with what looks like CG footage, but at the end of the demo Square-Enix reveals it's all real-time and running on the latest high-end PC available on the market right now.
I admit that I was visually unimpressed with the Unreal Engine 4 tech demo. It just didn't carry any 'umph' or 'hoorah' to its presentation. Other than the real-time particle effects everything looked like stuff we've already seen before.
Square Enix on the other hand showed off a new Final Fantasy trailer featuring protagonist Agni (in the video they pronounced it like 'agony') and while everything looks like typical CG, the fact that at the end of the video it turns out it was all real-time just completely stomps on anything shown off for the Unreal Engine 4. Check out the real-time demo first to see it in action, courtesy of GameTrailers TV.
Now if you thought that was cool, check out the following walkthrough video, which not only shows that it's an entirely controllable scene -- complete with the press conference director stopping, pausing and rotating the camera so you can clearly see it's running in real-time -- they go the extra step by manipulating things like the facial hair on the old man, the particle skin effects of the summon-monster, which has more than 100,000 active polygonal insect mesh particles moving concurrently, and they even change the color of the old man's beard.
What's more is that this kind of technology is viable right now on today's PCs. They can stabilize CG-quality, real-time graphics on high-end PCs maxing 60fps but averaging about 30fps. That is beyond impressive.
To top it all off, Visual Works originally created the video entirely in CG and Luminous Studios converted it into a real-time interactive sequence. Square does a side-by-side comparison of both the CG and real-time demo and it's amazing but the real-time demo stomps on the CG sequence by not only looking better but having more active entities on-screen at once and sporting better special effects. As I said, this is beyond impressive. Epic better watch out because Square-Enix could easily steal the next-gen thunder with this engine. Check it out below.