Menacing alien machines descend on Earth, and amid all-out war, a soldier searches a building to find a frightened boy hiding in a vent.
"It's OK," says the soldier.
"Everyone's dying," the boy replies.
The soldier must choose: Help the boy or tell him to flee.
Though it's full of dramatic tension and realistic animation, this isn't a scene from the next Hollywood blockbuster. It's actually from upcoming video game "Mass Effect 3."
Game makers are crafting more sophisticated story lines and creating characters that evolve based on their experiences within a game. It's an attempt to interest new customers and reverse a decline in video game sales as the maturing business fights for people's attention in the face of new devices such as the iPad.