DOOM Eternal Won’t Support Ray Tracing At Launch

id Software dropped raytracing in favour of increased polish. But id Software has “some interesting ideas” for how to implement it after release.

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DOOM Eternal Won’t Support Ray Tracing At Launch

DOOM Eternal Won’t Support Ray Tracing At Launch

It has been confirmed that DOOM Eternal will not feature hardware-accelerated raytracing on PC, with the studio instead focusing its effort on polishing the game before its official launch. Back at E3 2019, id Software confirmed that they were working with Nvidia’s raytracing hardware, with their studio director Marty Stratton stating that “I think we’ll do it better than anybody [else].” Now, that id Software’s confidence in its raytracing capabilities will not be showcased in DOOM Eternal, with the company pulling the attention of its programmers away from raytracing possibilities and back onto DOOM Eternal.

Speaking in a recent interview with Digital Foundry (which you can view below), DOOM Eternal co-direct Marty Stratton said that though id Software’s tech team has been exploring ideas for ray tracing tech and how they can implement it, it was something that they had to “pull back” on in order to focus on finishing and polishing up the game’s development before its release.

“We actually haven’t talked about that at all,” said Stratton. “And we, quite frankly, haven’t spent a ton of time. The team basically did some initial implementation and exploration of ray tracing about a year ago, but at the same time, we had so much that we wanted to do on the game still. Our tech team are the biggest fans of new tech, so it was a little hard to pull everybody off of that, because it was the shiny new toy. But when we’re talking about getting DOOM Eternal out there and getting it out as close to on time as possible and at the highest polish and quality, we kind of had to pull back on that effort.”

That said, Stratton did say that though work on ray tracing had to be halted earlier, id Software’s tech team is getting back into it again, before teasing that they have some really cool ideas for how to implement it in a way that benefits not just the players, but also the developers.

That said, the news might be disappointing to some DOOM fans, especially those who listened in on Stratton’s interview with Giant Bomb at E3 2019. During that discussion, the producer confirmed that id Tech 7 would support NVIDIA RTX, which implied that ray tracing was coming to DOOM Eternal. Stratton also claimed that id Software would “do it better than everybody.”

He further noted that the team has some really cool ideas for ray tracing that won’t just make for a better experience for players, but also developers in terms of the ease of implementing the tech.

However, given that ray tracing is something the devs have only just started looking at again and there are seemingly plans for an ambitious implementation beyond the norm of shadows and reflections – it’s a fair bet we could be waiting quite a long time before ray tracing comes to Doom Eternal.

That will, of course, come as a disappointment to fans of the technology, and those who have already purchased a GeForce RTX card and are hoping to see those RT cores put to good use. On the other hand, many folks are pleased that id Software hasn’t prioritized ray tracing and has instead concentrated on the core visuals, as it were, which of course everyone will benefit from – not just RTX owners.

And hopefully when it arrives in Doom Eternal, ray tracing will be worth the wait (and will likely be more widely supported too – remember that AMD’s next high-end graphics card is purportedly built on RDNA2 with hardware acceleration for ray tracing, and we know it will definitely arrive in 2020).

DOOM Eternal is due to release on March 20th, 2020.

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