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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 doesn't play games, he runs benchmarks. If you want to know about the inner workings of CPUs, GPUs, or SSDs, he's your man. He subsists off a steady diet of crunchy silicon chips and may actually be a robot.