Doom Eternal won’t launch with ray tracing – and may not get it for quite some time

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Doom Eternal has previously promised ray tracing support, and many gamers hoped was it would have this at launch – but this won't be the case for the highly anticipated shooter, and by the sound of things, it might not get support until quite some way down the line.

You may recall that back in June 2019, Marty Stratton, executive producer of Doom Eternal, promised that the game – and the id Tech 7 engine – would support hardware ray tracing (RTX), claiming that “we’ll do it better than anybody honestly”.

But in a recent interview with Digital Foundry, posted on YouTube (see below), Stratton gave a different answer when asked about PC features for the game, and specifically ray tracing.

The exec producer replied: “So we actually haven’t talked about that at all. And we, quite frankly, haven’t spent a ton of time. The team basically did some initial implementation and exploration about a year ago. But at that same time, we had so much that we wanted to do on the game still.

“Our tech team, they 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 the game out there and getting it out as close to on time as possible and at the highest polished quality, we kind of had to pull back on that effort.

Stratton then added that ray tracing is, however, something the tech team is just about ready to start looking at again, and that they have some interesting ideas beyond simply “reflections, shadows and real-time lighting”.

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.

Worth the wait?

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).

Meanwhile, if you want to know more about ray tracing, and which PC games do currently support it, check out our primer on the tech.

Via DSO Gaming

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).