Last year 4A Games promised us that 2019's Metro Exodus would be receiving a free next-gen upgrade, for both Microsoft and PlayStation’s new boxes, as well as the series’ home, PC. Today they’ve revealed just how next-gen it’s going to be.
Look, I could just pretend for you that I know what a “Fully Ray Traced Lighting Pipeline” is, as it’s so exquisitely called in a blog post from the developers today. I could bluff my way through this, explaining that this will mean a complete overhaul of 4A’s “Ray Traced Global Illumination” and “Emissive Lighting”, and of course “an upgraded implementation of our powerful Temporal Reconstruction technology to further boost resolution, visual detail, and performance.” I could.
But honestly, when I hear “ray tracing” I immediately think about those stuttering demo reels you’d get on floppy discs stuck to the front of boring PC magazines in the early ‘90s, where a shiny metal ball would sit next to a blue pyramid, both awkwardly placed on a criss-cross mesh floor, and you’d be instructed to say, “Coo,” as the camera slow rotated around. Although as I read the defiantly capitalized version in 4A’s blog, I now realize I’m more thinking about a noir detective, Ray Tracing. He’s sat behind his exquisitely lit desk, smoking a cigarette with remarkably well-rendered smoke effects, mumbling something about a “moiiider”.
You’d likely prefer it if I more helpfully let you know they say the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions will run at 4K/60FPS with full ray traced lighting throughout, as well as “dramatically reduced loading times” so long as they’re on your machine’s internal SSD. 4K texture packs are being added, controller latency fixes for the Xbox, and haptic feedback on the PS5's DualSense. The Series S will attempt to sputter out at 1080p, but they’re claiming 60FPS and ray tracing here too.
PC players would definitely be annoyed if I failed to report things are going crazy-go-bonkers here, with all the same extras as the consoles, but taken to the next level. Minimum spec will demand a ray tracing capable GPU, and it’ll take advantage of all the new widgets and sprockets on those top-end graphics cards no one has been able to buy in months. Here there will be “Advanced Ray Tracing Reflections” and support for DLSS 2.0 on NVIDIA. This overhaul is to be so significant it apparently can’t even be contained in a patch, and will come out as a whole new product, although remain free to anyone who’s previously bought the game on any of the main PC digital stores.
But I’m still thinking about Ray Tracing PI. His black-and-white office is lit from over twelve different light sources, and he solves crime in 8K.