Nvidia's RTX finds its way into Cyberpunk 2077 and other titles at E3 2019

As they say, "there are no bad products, just bad prices." So it goes when comparing graphics cards, of course, and one big variable in the value of Nvidia's GeForce RTX series is those cards' namesake feature: RTX. At this time, it's easy to say that RTX support doesn't hold a lot of value for prospective purchasers, but that looks to be changing. At E3, a number of companies announced that their upcoming games would ship with support for Nvidia's ray-tracing technology.

Cyberpunk 2077

Surely the biggest announcement, and probably the most exciting one for a majority of gerbils, comes from CD Projekt Red. That's right—not only will Cyberpunk 2077 have Keanu Reeves in a major role as Johnny Silverhand, but it will also use RTX for reflections and some lighting effects. CDPR's previous games may not have been graphical showcases, but The Witcher III and its Nvidia Gameworks-powered particle, cloth, and hair effects are pretty stunning. Along those lines, Cyberpunk 2077 looks to be appropriately riding the bleeding edge of graphics tech.

Another title I've been eagerly anticipating since it was revealed at E3 last year is Remedy Entertainment's Control. The creators of Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break are making a new third-person shooter title with a stark, geometric visual style that's heavy on high-contrast lighting. RTX seems like a perfect fit for the game, although it seems the tech is primarily being used, once again, for reflections.

Ubisoft unveiled the third game in its Watch Dogs series at E3 just yesterday, hyping everyone with the promise of playing as their grandma. Jokes aside, while it flew under the radar somewhat, Watch Dogs 2 was a visual feast, and we used it for benchmarks for a while. Whatever your feelings about the heavy political message within, Watch Dogs Legion looks even more gorgeous, and some of that graphical polish surely comes from its just-announced support for GeForce RTX. Ubisoft hasn't said specifically what the game will use ray-tracing for, though.

Extant RTX games Previous RTX
game announcements
New RTX game
Assetto Corsa Competizione Atomic Heart Control
Battlefield V Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Cyberpunk 2077
Metro: Exodus Dragon Hound Legend of Sword & Fairy 7
Quake II RTX Enlisted VtM: Bloodlines 2
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Justice (China MMO) Watch Dogs: Legion
Stay in the Light Mechwarrior V Mercenaries Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Other big games you may have heard of that are gaining RTX support include the rebooted Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, gothic immersive sim Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2, tough girls co-op FPS Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and the seventh entry in long-running Taiwanese RPG series The Legend of Sword and Fairy.

It will be interesting to see if any of these games have ray-tracing in any form at all in their console iterations. While Sony was cagey about the topic of real-time RT when talking about the PlayStation 5 (merely stating that the console would "support ray-tracing"), Microsoft explicitly says that its new Project Scarlett machine will have "hardware-accelerated ray-tracing."

Meanwhile, AMD has already confirmed that its upcoming Radeon RX 5700 series GPUs, which share the same RDNA graphics architecture as the two aforementioned upcoming game consoles, would not have any specific hardware acceleration for real-time ray-tracing. AMD CEO Lisa Su said that that feature is planned for the "next generation."

This writer finds himself in eager anticipation of the new games and a strong desire to see them as they were meant to be played, yet lacking the apparently-requisite GeForce RTX graphics card. Most likely, players with Pascal-powered GeForces will be able to enable RTX in these games to wreck our framerate and see what we're otherwise missing out on. Personally, I'm hoping that before these new games are out, Nvidia has some next-generation hardware to sell us with improved performance-per-dollar—especially for RTX.

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