Next-generation hardware won't know what hit it. Check out this gorgeous footage of Square Enix's Luminous Engine, all real-time.
Square Enix demonstrated the new technology at an after-hours E3 2012 event. GameInformer reports that chief technology officer Yoshihisa Hashimoto wowed the audience by showing the Agni's Philosophy tech demo below, then tweaking some of the components such as hair colour, and running it again, to prove it was not pre-rendered.
Go ahead and turn that up to 1080p before you start it; give your eyeballs a treat.
According to Siliconera, the demo is Final Fantasy themed, but not part of, indicative of, or planned as a specific game.
Luminous is planned as a next-gen tech to close the gap between real-time gameplay graphics and pre-rendered cinematics, which is impressive enough, but Square Enix also expects it to be scalable, capable of running on low-powered mobile devices as well as high-end consoles and PCs.
We've heard some pretty amazeballs things about Luminous in the past; it can allegedly automatically adjust character animations to cope with changes to equipment weight or musculature parameters, and to cross uneven terrain.