AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution is surely the most eagerly anticipated feature for anyone lucky enough to have bagged themselves a new Radeon graphics card over the last six months. It promises to be the red team's answer to Nvidia's impressive Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) tech, and could be the saviour for AMD's first-gen ray tracing attempts.
But it's still seemingly a long way out from a final version and, even though AMD has publicly said it's yet to finalise precisely how it will work, 4A Games has already stated that FidelityFX Super Resolution is incompatible with its rendering techniques and will not be supported in Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition.
It's not the fact that FFXSR isn't going to feature in the remastered Metro Exodus that's interesting here, despite it being the first big game to be released with ray-tracing GPU compatibility as a minimum system requirement. It's that 4A Games seems to be claiming it knows how AMD's new feature will work and that makes it incompatible with its own engine.
In a FAQ for Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition (via @Locuza_) there is the following question:
- Will you be adding in AMD Super resolution later?
We will not be adding specific support for this, as it is not compatible with our rendering techniques. However we have our own Temporal based reconstruction tech implemented that natively provides the same or better image quality benefits for all hardware.
Metro publisher Deep Silver clarified that point in a follow-up email, saying that developer 4A Games "has not evaluated the AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution feature for Metro Exodus at this time."
"In our FAQ, we were referring to the AMD FidelityFX open source image quality toolkit which targets traditional rendering techniques that our new RT only render does not use, and noting that we have our own Temporal Reconstruction tech implemented natively which provides great quality benefits for all hardware, so do not currently plan to utilize any other toolkits," a Deep Silver rep explained. "4A Games is always motivated to innovate, evaluate, and use the newest technologies that will benefit our fans across all platforms and hardware."
The plus side is that it also sounds like AMD has actually made a final decision on how to put together a feature it actively announced around the launch of the Radeon RX 6800 XT some six months ago. It was worrying that even just a month ago AMD's Scott Herkelman was telling PCWorld that it was still "evaluating the many different ways" of implementing its version of DLSS.
"Really what matters most to us is: What will the game developers want to use?" Herkelman said back in March. "Because, at the end of the day, if it's just for us and we force people to do it, it's not a good outcome.
"And so we would rather say 'gaming community, which one of these techniques would you rather see us implement?' So that way it can be immediately spread across the industry and hopefully cross-platform. There's a lot of work we have to do there… it's really which one works the best for the game developers to implement is what we're looking for."
Sadly, for AMD, it looks like at least one of those game developers does not want to use the method that the red team seems to have chosen, whatever that might end up being. Which is a shame, especially if it signals potential difficulties in gaining support for the new technology.
DLSS is not just a performance salve for the hit taken when enabling ray tracing, used on its own it can deliver a huge performance uplift without negatively impacting fidelity. Free performance for any FidelityFX Super Resolution-compatible card would certainly be welcome whether it's tied to ray tracing or not.
It is important to say, however, that this is just one game developer, and one game engine, that claims incompatibility, so it could very well just be an edge case for AMD's FFXSR. If the bulk of developers are onboard I'm okay with one game not supporting it, especially given the somewhat patchy, though admittedly increasing, support for Nvidia's DLSS.