Call of Duty: Modern Warfare joins the ray tracing club

call of duty: modern warfare

The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot is official, and it's coming October 25. Tucked away in the fact sheet is a short note that the next Call of Duty will also support DirectX Raytracing (DXR). That's only on PC, naturally—the next PlayStation and Xbox consoles will likely support the tech as well, but indications are they're still a year or more away. Which means, reading between the lines, Activision and Call of Duty will be working with Nvidia and the GeForce RTX cards to support the feature.

That's it for details on DXR support, unfortunately. We don't know if Call of Duty will be doing ray traced shadows, reflections, global illumination—or maybe all three. (Probably not all three.) But supporting DXR does mean Activision/Infinity Ward is upgrading the IW engine to support DirectX 12, as that's a requirement for all games that support DXR. It will be interesting to see how that shakes out in terms of performance once that game launches, as traditionally DX12 engines have favored AMD hardware.

Call of Duty isn't just doing ray traced graphics, however. In a briefing Stephen Miller, Audio Director for the game, said, "With the weapon reflection system, it uses ray tracing out into the environment and plays three sounds at point of impact. So as you're running around you actually get different sounds constantly as it behaves with the geometry." That's a bit tough to parse, but it appears the game will be doing some form of ray tracing for audio as well.

Audio ray tracing isn't new—we've heard about it in various forms from both Nvidia and AMD for several years now. Unlike graphics rendering, ray traced audio usually isn't quite as complex. Basically, audio doesn't need to worry about potentially casting multiple rays per pixel. Instead, it involves bouncing rays around an environment to properly model acoustics and reverb. It's possible to do ray traced audio without even worrying about hardware acceleration, but right now we don't have any hard details on what Infinity Ward is doing.

Anyway, if you're keeping track, that's one more ray tracing game to add to the list. Currently shipping games include Battlefield 5, Metro Exodus, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Justice (a Korean MMO), and Quake 2 RTX. Soon we'll get Wolfenstein Youngblood, with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2, Atomic Heart, and others in the works as well.

Jarred Walton

Jarred's love of computers dates back to the dark ages when his dad brought home a DOS 2.3 PC and he left his C-64 behind. He eventually built his first custom PC in 1990 with a 286 12MHz, only to discover it was already woefully outdated when Wing Commander was released a few months later. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Brigham Young University and has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.