The next generation of video game hardware could deliver mind-blowing graphics. And here's an encouraging example of what to expect.

During Activision's GDC panel, technical director Jorge Jimenez gave gamers a peek at what our virtual characters could look like in the near future.

All the screenshots are pretty damn impressive, and the tech demo also looks great; check it out below. Jimenez said that these ultra-realistic characters should lend the stories a greater emotional element, and the images we see here are "the result of years of work." Right now, these have nothing to do with an actual game; they're more about giving you an idea of the future. And that future isn't far off, as the PlayStation 4 is slated to launch this holiday season, with Microsoft's console expected around the same time.

Here's hoping such great technology is indeed used for telling fantastic stories, and not just giving us pretty pictures.