According to Quantic Dream founder David Cage, the future of gaming graphics will come not from pushing beyond 4K to 8K and beyond, but instead focusing on lighting and real-time ray tracing to increase graphical depth.
Talking to Gamespot, Cage said that he has “about 50 engineers working full-time on the tech” behind their games, and that they’re looking at real-time ray-tracing, which has become popular with the introduction of Nvidia’s RTX series cards.
“I think that lighting is going to be a key thing,” Cage says in an interview with Gamespot. “There is this new technology called “ray tracing” that we talk a lot about these days. I think this is going to be interesting because it will allow to improve reflections, lighting, shadows. And I think that’s a big deal. For years, I mean, the amount of polygons you could display was key, then it became the shaders and then textures, and now I think it’s all about the lighting, and the more subtle and nuanced the lighting will be, the better the image will be.”
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There’s no doubting that ray tracing is beautiful, but it’s had a slightly slow adoption from AAA titles. Wolfenstein: Youngblood had it, but also Battlefield V and even the forthcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Cyberpunk 2077 are planning to take advantage of it. However, for many PC gamers they can’t actually play some of the newest games with raytracing without a Turing architecture card, which are still prohibitively expensive for hobbyists.
However, as these cards come down in price it’s likely that ray tracing will appear in more and more games. AMD are also working on RDNA architecture to handle ray tracing, and both the next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox 2 / Project Scarlett will also have ray tracing included.
Quantic Dream hasn’t yet announced their next game, but Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human recently made their way to the PC, so it’s a safe bet that their next title will both be platform agnostic, and pack in ray tracing.
It’s been a quiet time for Quantic Dream, as the studio has largely been quiet since 2018 reports of poor working conditions and toxicity in the studio from several French media outlets. Cage has personally denied these reports, but it’s left the studio under a cloud.