Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Activision's futuristic first-person shooter in which players take on a rogue private military company uses a brand new engine built specifically for PCs and new-gen consoles to handle its cutting-edge lighting, animation and physics.
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Far Cry 4. This pulled back shot of fictional Himalayan region Kyrat is in-game, believe it or not, rendered with an overhauled version of the engine Ubisoft used to design Far Cry 3.
Built from scratch, the Alien: Isolation engine's outstanding deep space visuals all but replicate the set design of Alien film concept artists H.R. Giger and Ron Cobb's work.
The Creative Assembly
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Assassin's Creed Unity. Ubisoft says it "basically remade the whole rendering engine" in its AnvilNext design tool to handle the studio's meticulous recreation of Paris during the French Revolution.
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Child of Light
Inspired by filmmakers like Hayao Miyazaki and artist Yoshitaka Amano, Child of Light's hand-drawn artwork puts the lie to presumptions that graphical richness depends on shader support or polygon counts.
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Built from scratch by ex-Halo studio Bungie, Destiny's game engine was designed to scale across the next decade, says the studio.
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Mario Kart 8
Nintendo's kart-racer for Wii U reminds us that raw horsepower is just a facet of crafting a beautiful game world.
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Infamous Second Son
Sucker Punch's freeform Seattle-based superhero adventure models all sorts of minutia, from the intricate wrinkling of an aged character's face to the way eyelids stick, slightly, before separating when characters blink.
Sucker Punch Productions
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Escher-like at first glance, Ustwo's mind-bending puzzler was also inspired by posters, bonsai plants, arabic calligraphy and filmmaker Tarsem Singh's The Fall.
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Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar's remastered crime spree opus was crafted from an in-house engine first employed in a game that simulated table tennis.
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Forza Horizon 2
Turn 10's Euro-racer actually models light refracted through drops of moisture, the render tech plausibly simulating something as intangible but essential as the earth’s atmosphere.
Microsoft Studios/Turn 10 Studios
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Inkle's anti-colonialist vamp on Jules Verne's famous novel uses crisp art deco imagery inspired by travel posters to unfurl 80 Days' tale of intrepid globetrotters Monsieur Fogg and his valet Passepartout.
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Crystal Dynamics' radical reboot of its popular series about an athletic archaeologist uses a modified version of the engine that powered Tomb Raider: Legend in 2006.
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