RTX is Reviving Your Favourite Games
Just look at this picture of Portal. Just… look at it. Finally – an official way of bringing these games into the modern era, and it’s shocking how well it works.
And even more exciting, this will be part of a free tool which modders will be able to use to make other previously unmoddable games look just as good. I’m skeptical of just how well that will work – the proof is in the pudding – but for now it’s nice marketing idea, and it means we get this very pretty mod/DLC for Portal.
Graphics aren’t everything – I said just that with the Last of Us Remaster. But there are lots of older games that could do with a spruce up. And if they’re available for free, if they can be quickly and painlessly upgraded, and if they’re open to everybody, there’s absolutely no downside in these improvements. They will bring someone in who wouldn’t otherwise have played.
Reviving the Classics
So even as only a visual update, there could be bigger implications for these games. Another title shown off using RTX this week was Morrowind. This is a pre-Oblivion Elder Scrolls game, and so isn’t spoken of in the same hallowed tones.
The result of that is that less people have played it. A quick check online tells me that Morrowind was played by about 4 million people. Compare that to Skyrim’s 30 million. Compare that to Oblivion’s almost 10 million. These are all the first numbers I’ve found, so they may not be entirely accurate. But as ballpark figures, you can see that there is plenty of scope for people to go back to Morrowind. There are potentially 25 million people who want a new Elder Scrolls game but haven’t ever considered the older one.
As part of the GeForce leak from a little while ago – a leak that has proven to be about 100 per cent accurate, by the way – there was mention of a Bioshock RTX. That would be another game that would massively benefit from these kinds of updates. Imagine the atmosphere, imagine the graphical improvements…
Raytracing – More Than It Seems?
If you’re a regular reader at GamesReviews, you may well have seen me say that raytracing isn’t quite there yet. And I stand by that in modern games.
I’m currently playing through Deathloop on Xbox Series X and thoroughly enjoying it, but the difference between raytracing and non-raytracing is minor visually, but massive in terms of performance. It is not a hit worth taking.
On PC too, all too often I feel like the difference between a raytracing mode and a regular screen space solution isn’t as much as it needs to be to be worth the performance hit. I guess these fancy new Nvidia graphics cards – which cost a month’s wage in parts of Europe – will start to change that conversation. For the select few who can afford them, anyway.
These RTX ‘remasters’ hint that this could be more than just Digital Foundry fodder. Perhaps there is more to raytracing, and perhaps it is something that’ll be better looking back than looking forward. Either way, what we’ve seen so far is very impressive.