Ubisoft's New Snowdrop Engine Previewed


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Last summer's E3 was filled with great-looking next-generation console games and plenty of promises surrounding huge leaps in both graphics and gameplay. Whether these games will live up to their promise remains to be seen, but for the gaming industry E3 2013 was a badly needed injection of excitement and possibility.

Perhaps no other game demonstrated the ambition of developers more than Ubisoft's The Division. The game was revealed at Ubisoft's E3 press conference and immediately cemented its place among the most anticipated next-gen games.

The game's first teaser trailer previewed a game where players can team up to take on different objectives in an apocalyptic open-world while also being helped by players using mobile devices. Though the technical aspects were undoubtedly impressive, the preview's visuals were the real story of the Ubisoft announcement.

The Division is being developed on Ubisoft's next-gen engine, named Snowdrop. The publisher promises that both graphical and design upgrades will be coming to its games courtesy the new engine.

Ubisoft today previewed the Snowdrop engine with a new developer video. In the preview Ubisoft Technical Director Anders Holmquist shows off visuals that are more detailed than anything the publisher has released in the past. The video also shows off what looks like new footage of The Division, showcasing the ruined urban wasteland that impressed gamers at last year's E3.

"We wanted to create an engine that was capable of creating truly next-generation triple-A games," said Holmquist. "But we also saw that as games were getting bigger, so were the projects worked on them. And we wanted to better, not bigger. And we also wanted to be smart and not rely on brute force."

Though actual games might not end up looking quite as good as the renders previewed in the video, it's clear that Ubisoft's games are about to get a lot more detailed. The publisher should look out, though, for hyping its technology too much: gamers can be unforgiving of broken promises.