In a recent interview with PC Gamer, Cyberpunk 2077 art director Jakup Knapik revealed that as far as PC support goes, ray-tracing would not be available for owners of AMD graphics cards at launch. Consider the game is set in “Night City”, a futurists wet dream in neon. This feels like a real loss for all but the smug owners of Nvidia cards. Only they will be able to bask in the sumptuous luminance as the developer intended.
Sadly, this curious decision will extend to the proud owners of next-gen consoles too. AMD provides the beating heart of both the Xbox Series X/S and the PS5. This means they too will miss out on the very best the game has to offer. This seems like a real miss, particularly for Sony, who featured ray-tracing as a central tenant when showcasing the graphical capabilities of its much anticipated next offering. Both console and AMD PC owners will have to wait patiently for a patch to enjoy this feature, currently pencilled for release in 2021.
Meanwhile, you can check out how Cyberpunk will benefit from this incredible tech below.
A Crysis for Next Gen Ray-Tracing
Ray-tracing has long been held as the next “generational leap” in graphical fidelity. EuroGamer even compared it to “arrival of Crysis back in 2008, or the debut of id software’s Quake in 1996”. The much touted technology made is debut on PC in 2019’s Battlefield 5 release. And it was universally believed that console owners would have to wait for next-gen before they got a slice of the pie. That was until Crytek boasted its inclusion in the recently released Crysis Remastered.
Admittedly, the inclusion here was empowered by Crytek’s own CryEngine. It centred on software-based ray-tracing, and it certainly comes at the price of frame rate on current gen, pulling experiences down to 30fps and at the expense of other graphical standards, like water-based reflections. But next-gen consoles will provide hardware-based support for ray-tracing, as it is a primary feature of the AMD RDNA 2 GPUs each manufacturer’s systems will be using.
So why then have CDPR taken this baffling decision? Cyberpunk 2077 will undoubtedly be a popular choice for new console owners this year, so why limit the experience? It could be that this is one of the concessions the developer has made in light of unfavourable press surrounding the ever-present delays and the recently divisive crunch. The tin-hatted among us could understandably catch a potential whiff of nefarious under-table dealings between CDPR and Nvidia, perhaps promoting the recent launch of the 3k card range. But that’s wild conjecture on our part.
The final coup de gras comes as Knapik goes on to confirm that despite the limited support, ray-tracing would be available via Nvidia’s Geforce Now’s game streaming service. The ultimate insult then, as the very best that Cyperpunk has to offer will not be accessible on your $500 Xbox, but your work potato. It’s almost poetic, really.
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