I’ve figured out why developers and publishers make game engine trailers. Like the Wizard Of Oz, the game engine is responsible for what’s going on behind the scenes. It is the giant, floating head that demands tribute. In this case, the tribute is four minutes of people talking about Frostbite 3 using terms like “Seamless Reality”. It skips extolling how these grown men spend their days and nights attempting to make explosions more explodey, debris more chunky, and eyes more oculary. Such is the fragile ego of a game engine, if such a tribute is not made then Frostbite 3 would return to its burrow and gnaw off its own feet.
So remember when you watch this trailer for the new engine that’s full of Battlefield 4’s swaying trees, better water, and buildings collapsing, that the ridiculous bits about a character’s eyes are there to keep the engine from hobbling itself. That said, the eyes are kind of pretty. I definitely believed that the guy trapped in the debris was feeling crushed, but I’m also aware that the moment will probably be followed by a man shooting lots and lots of people without consequence, so that moment of sadness isn’t going to have any emotional resonance whatsoever. When your story-telling manages to reconcile that, I’ll start to care about the look of fear in a character’s eyes.
Battlefield 4 is out on November 1st.