Is that Oblivion in your pocket, or could Epic's iPhone game actually look this good?

Witchcraft. Seriously, just witchcraft. I've been playing games for decades now, and I've got a pretty good grasp of technology and development techniques, yet still the occult is the only explanation I have for what Epic Games and Chair Entertainment are pulling off with the recently unveiled iPhone version of the Unreal Engine 3.

You've probably already readmine and Justin's ebullient geek-out over the Gears of War dev's Epic Citadel tech demo. If you haven't, clickhere. In short, Xbox 360 in your pocket. But now, via an iPhone 4 promo video,the first tiny snatch of footage from the game proper has appeared.

Above: Click the pic to check out the video

It's only a few seconds long, but it's a pretty significant few seconds. Firstly, it shows the first in-game characters we've seen so far (the currently available demo is a beautiful but entirely unpopulated affair). And it shows that they look fantastic. And secondly, it gives a rough impression of how the game is going to work, or at the very least adds credance to my early guesses.

Many, myself included, were worried about how a triple-A action-adventure wouldcontrol with the iPhone's touchscreen limitations. From the screen furniture and camera framingin the footage shown, it looks like the combat elements will take place via a dedicated set of separate game mechanics rather than blending with the twin-stick, first-person navigation we enjoyed in the demo. There are no clues as to whether they will play out in real-time orvia aturn-based system, but either way, I'm now breathing a little easier than I was before.

Despite Epic boss Mark Rein'scomments earlier this week, I still believe that portable gamingrequires a very different design philosophy than that of 'big' console games, so I'm very interested to see how Chair make the overall game work. But it's excited interest, without a doubt. What do you reckon?

David Houghton
Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.