As each video game generation comes and goes, players find themselves increasingly immersed into the digital environments they spend hours exploring, battling or racing in. As video games continue to mark its territory as a mainstream staple in pop culture, and as major franchises sell millions of copies on an annual basis, success comes with it expectations.

Players want the best-looking game possible, and although visuals are far from representing the most important facet of a quality gaming experience, it’s more often than not a key selling point, and easily the most marketable. We saw it for a year with the Frostbite 2 engine running Battlefield 3 and we’re seeing it now with things like the ambitious Star Citizen space sim coming down the line and the Unreal Engine 4. We aren’t that far away from legitimate photorealism.

Just take a look at the gameplay trailer up top, featuring two players cooperatively playing the Toronto map in Playground Games’ Forza Horizon. We’re kidding of course, but this neat bit of marketing using live-action cars and environments is a sign of the future. Xbox Canada crafted this viral and it’s not just a great video game commercial, but one of the coolest car commercials we’ve seen in ages. Compare now to the Forza Horizon launch trailer. Head to page 2 for details on the Forza Horizon season pass and all of the upcoming DLC.

Forza Horizon and Need For Speed Most Wanted in Live-Action

Forza Horizon isn’t the only racer to keep your eyes on this fall, as just one week after it hits retail, Electronic Arts and Criterion Games release Need For Speed: Most Wanted, another game we loved at E3 this summer. Both franchises saw major releases last year with Forza Motorsport 4 and Need For Speed: The Run, respectively, and both see a change in style for this year’s iterations. Check out the NFS live-action trailer:

Now, compare to the Most Wanted Find it, Drive it trailer.

Both of the live-action vids creatively mesh live-action car scenes with in-game footage, all to some catchy music. The NFS video involves more cars, more stunts and a closed track, whereas Forza’s takes place on the actual roads of Toronto, for all bystanders to see. Both are awesome.

As a bonus, there’s one more live-action video we want to share, albeit slightly different than the above two. This one comes from YouTube celeb Freddie Wong who has a working relationship with Electronic Arts, having previously put together a live-action Battlefield 3 TV commercial.

Forza Horizon releases October 23, 2012, exclusively for the Xbox 360. Need for Speed: Most Wanted releases October 30th in North America, November 1st in Europe, on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

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Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

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