A Remedy dev modded native HDR into Control, along with a heap of other graphical improvements

Remedy's SCP-adjacent horror game Control remains one of the best games to show off your fancy new graphics card. It may be almost four years old, but it's still a solid showcase for ray tracing with its office setting's shiny floors, destructible furniture, and contrast between dark and light. It does have a few graphical issues, however, like textures loading in late and, if you enable Windows auto HDR, dark grays where there ought to be true blacks and areas where bloom reduces the detail.

As Digital Foundry pointed out in a recent video, those problems have been solved thanks to a mod by one of Remedy's own developers. Filippo Tarpini, a senior Unreal Engine developer, joined Remedy six months after Control launched, but has been tinkering with it on the side—first releasing a resolution and aspect ratio unlocker, and now including that in an HDR ultrawide DLSS RT patch that significanly enhances Control's look.

The Digital Foundry video highlights the improvements native HDR implementation brings over Windows' automatic implementation, and has honestly done more to sell me on HDR as a concept than anything else I've seen. Bright scenes look less washed-out, dark scenes are properly dark, and the high-contrast colors aren't as likely to burn themselves into your retinas.

Tarpini's patch does more than just add native HDR, also adding multiple rays per pixel in ray tracing and increasing the resolution of volumetric effects, improving texture streaming so text is more readable at a distance and instances of noticeable pop-in are reduced, fixing the way film grain displays with DLSS on, adding a menu option for UI saturation, and also adding support for DLAA—Nvidia's deep learning anti-aliasing tech first seen in The Elder Scrolls Online.

DLAA looks pretty good here, reducing some ghosting and generally looking better than TAA. It's not a performance hit either, which is good news, because HDR sure is. You're only going to want to enable that if you don't mind a framerate reduction of between 30 and 40%. This is definitely a showcase for a high-end rig, which is true of anything with ray tracing really—a feature I only ever enable if I can afford to drop 20 fps or so.

Tarpini has continued working on the patch, which is currently up to version 1.4 thanks to an update in late April. The Digital Foundry video notes that, with the patch and everything set to ultra, some of the puddles stop displaying those fancy ray traced reflections. It's still a net plus, though, and clearly a labor of love.

Remedy is currently developing Alan Wake 2, but does plan to return to Control. It's signed a deal to co-develop Control 2 with publisher 505 Games.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.