Scribblenauts is among the most innovative and charming games released in the last several years. When word got out that developer 5th Cell’s next project would be a third-person shooter, fans were understandably skeptical — after all, aren’t there enough of those already?

After more than a year of media silence, Hybrid has finally resurfaced, and while questions about the game remain, a new trailer has us eager to learn moreWhat a difference a year can make! Although the Hybrid announcement trailer from way back in October of 2010 didn’t look bad, it just can’t hold a candle to what 5th Cell is showing now. In fact, the game’s aesthetics have been completely overhauled, and the developer promises that when Hybrid releases on Xbox Live Arcade, it will arrive with a “completely redesigned look featuring new characters, more detailed and varied environments, and polished interface, all running at 60FPS at 720p.”

With a visual design that features echoes of Portal 2 and SEGA’s arcade classic Virtual On, plus gameplay that appears to take full advantage of three-dimensional space, Hybrid could really be something special. Take a look at the game’s brand new trailer below.

Hybrid’s war between the Paladins and the Variants is never ending, literally. The game is set in a persistent online world, and the goal is nothing less than planetary conquest. The developers at 5th Cell are keen to stress that “every battle matters,” as does base-building. The World Map, shown in the trailer above and the gallery below, keeps track of which faction is ahead at any given time.

As with most third-person shooters, cover is paramount in Hybrid. In fact, the game’s control scheme is explicitly designed around moving from one safe locale to another, with 5th Cell promising the ability to “fly directly from cover to cover with the push of a button.” Players who prefer to stick to wide open spaces will have that option, with “free control of the hero’s horizontal and vertical movement, speed, specific landing location, and the ability to engage in combat.”

There is no shortage of team-based shooters from which to choose, but Hybrid has a real chance of standing apart from the crowd. The sheer inventiveness of Scribblenauts suggests that Hybrid may offer a deeper, more subtle take on the genre than many of its competitors. Today’s trailer, on the other hand, just plain looks cool.

Ranters, are you looking forward to Hybrid?

Hybrid will release Summer 2012 on Xbox Live Arcade.

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