One of the highlights coming out of E3 was the premiere of Unreal Engine 4 and a precious few games that admitted to using it to run next-gen graphics. As far as I know, only one of the Final Fantasy games directly stated that their graphics were designed with next-gen capacity in mind. Everyone else pretended that their game was made for "high-end PCs."

I saw some of the trailers made with the new Unreal Engine. They were impressive. You know how games usually have really cool introductory sequences with pre-rendered CGI graphics that look completely amazing? Next-gen graphics look like that, but they're not pre-rendered. That means the entire game looks photorealistic instead of just the nifty video at the opening title screen.

On the surface, this seems like a good thing. Who would have thought that they'd see genuine photorealism in video games this soon? Chalk it up to a childhood spent gaming on an ancient Game Boy Color, but when I think of video game graphics I think of classic 8-bit sprites in Super Mario Bros. The idea of games looking exactly like real life is pretty darn mind-blowing. I can't wait to complain to see some of my favorite franchises rendered in loving next-gen graphics.

There is something that worries me a little, though. How gory is the next generation going to get? Think about it. You might think you have a strong stomach for violence (after 60+ hours of Grand Theft Auto IV, I certainly do), but how much gore can you take when it looks exactly like a real person?

GTA VI will probably get banned everywhere

This might seem like a silly thing to worry about, but it is something that bothers me. Video game violence doesn't unsettle me at all. Gunning down pedestrians in GTA IV or hacking apart aliens in Dead Space is no big deal precisely because I know that it is a video game and the violence isn't real. You're not killing people, you're killing pixels. (For more musings on this topic, read ***this. It's one of the better blogs I ever wrote).

A game's graphics help remind you that it is a game and not real life. It's hard to imagine that you are killing real people in GTA when they have a grey-colored blob for a face. What worries me is that as next-gen graphics get sharper, that line between video games and reality might become a bit more... blurry.

And then there's the decency factor. Quite frankly, I don't know if I even want to see photorealistic video game violence. Can you imagine a version of Dead Space with perfect graphics? It would make a lot of gamers queasy.

Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe the next generation of game consoles won't have photorealistic graphics. Maybe violence depicted in perfect graphics won't bother me any more than violence in current-gen graphics does. If I had to make a guess, I'd bet that everyone (myself included) will get used to seeing blood and gore in perfect HD.

To be honest... I don't know if that's a good thing.