If you want to know just how far the videogames industry has come in recent years, just look at its trailers, which increasingly rival movie trailers for excitement and high-quality production values. And here are three great examples: the winner and runners-up respectively of the Videogame Promotion category last year's CG Awards.
This year's awards – which honour both software and the artists that use it – are now open for nominations. In the meantime, here are the game promos that voters loved the most last time around...
01. Elder Scrolls Online trilogy
When game developer Bethesda Softworks and creative agency AKQA tasked Blur Studio with bringing the world of the Elder Scrolls Online to life, it was originally to be as a single trailer. But towards the end of the project, it became clear that there was a bigger story to be told.
The single trailer quickly expanded to a trilogy of epic cinematics – The Alliances, The Arrival and The Siege – showing the struggles of the MMORPG's three warring factions as they race to claim the world of Cyrodiil.
Dave Wilson, Blur's director on the project, notes that with the bulk of the heavy lifting done on the first trailer, the studio was able to devote time to refining its simulation work, like destruction and hair, created using 3ds Max plug-ins thinkingParticles, FumeFX and Ornatrix.
The result is a series of trailers on which the scale of the action is perfectly complemented by the detail and realism of the CG, particularly of the digital actors. "Characters can make or break a spot," Dave notes. "We're continually striving to better ourselves in that regard."
02. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 'Killing Monsters'
"Poland's Platige always pulls out the stops when it comes to CD Projekt RED's game-ification of author Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher saga," says 2014 CG Awards judge Cirstyn Bech-Yagher. "This beautiful animation of a typical medieval Eastern European landscape also showcases its switch from 3ds Max and V-Ray to Maya and Arnold for larger-scale projects."
As well as the environments, the trailer is notable for its digital characters, created with reference to scans of the live actors and hundreds of high-res digital photos.
03. The Last Of Us: 'Truck Ambush'
The setting of The Last of Us may be apocalyptic, but the visuals are heavenly. "Naughty Dog really raised the bar. I loved the graphics," said 2014 CG Awards judge Cirstyn Bech-Yagher of the survival horror game, nominated here for its 'Truck Ambush' cinematic.
It's a view echoed by another judge, Grzegorz Kukus, CG supervisor at Platige Image. "Genius: well prepared both [in terms of] the story and the visuals, and one of the best games in terms of graphic design," he said.
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.