3 breathtaking examples of CG in videogames

It's astonishing what you can create with computer graphics these days: check out these inspiring examples from the world of videogames.

Movies get the most attention when it comes to CG. But some of the most exciting developments and best work are taking place in the world of videogames. And here are three great examples: the winner and runners-up respectively of the Best CG videogame category in last year's CG Awards.

This year's awards – which honour both software and the artists that use it – are now open for nominations (details here), so you can nominate your favourites today at thecgawards.com.

In the meantime, here are the videogame CG creations you loved the most last time around...

01. The Last Of Us

Developer Naughty Dog balanced the grimness of survival in a world in which most of humanity has been reduced to fungal-infected zombies with real moments of beauty: both of the storytelling, and of the expansive, often oddly pastoral environments. Recently remastered for PlayStation 4, The Last of Us impressed our judges.

"We had just come off making Uncharted 3, a big bold game with lots of epic moments and in-your-face effects. The Last of Us has a different tone," VFX artists Eben Cook and Iki Ikram told us. "Everything is subtle and more grounded. The challenge was to make effects that supported the environment. Also, just bringing up the overall fidelity was a challenge. We were at the end of a console generation [PlayStation 3], but we wanted the game to look like it was approaching the next one."

"The Last of Us pushes the hardware to very limit, and takes gaming to a whole new peak," agreed Saizen Media CEO and CG Awards judge Davide Bianca. "Naughty Dog rewrites, once again, the rules of video gaming."

02. Ryse: Son of Rome

Crytek's third-person action-adventure may have divided critics over its combat and storytelling, but everyone was unanimous about one thing: it looked great.

An Xbox One launch title, Ryse tested the limits not only of the hardware but of the developer´s workflow, with Crytek switching to a new Maya-based character pipeline, Alembic-derived geometry caching for destruction effects, and physically based rendering – the latter supplemented by advances in indirect lighting, and hair and skin shading. It all helped bring ancient Rome vividly to life: dirt, stubble, warts and all.

03. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

For many, Black Flag put the life back into the flagging Assassin's Creed series. For the latest of its time-hopping stealth-'em-ups, Ubisoft Montreal took to the high seas, blending the crowded urban environments of previous games with stellar rendered ship combat and underwater exploration.

The character design remained as strong as ever – at least, when you could see protagonist´s face beneath his trademark hood – and when the human characters lost their appeal, you could always terrify yourself with those bloody sharks.

The CG Awards 2015

The CG Awards 2015 recognises the work of the entire industry: from software and hardware to artists and technicians. This year's awards are now open for nominations, so you can put forward your candidates right now. Just visit thecgawards.com and nominate in one of the 17 categories.