Featured Gaming

Ray Tracing Games List for Xbox Series X and PS5!

With the next-gen consoles dropping in mere weeks, the current-gen consoles dusting off the golf clubs and readying themselves for a long ride off into the sunset, many gamers are tantalized by the possibilities laying just beyond the horizon. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X are serious pieces of hardware, with both consoles packing some serious firepower under the hood, including support for ‘ray tracing’.

What is Ray Tracing?

A lot of people know that Ray Tracing is… good. That Ray Tracing means something along the lines of prettier graphics. What they don’t know is how Ray Tracing works, why Ray Tracing looks better than other rendering methods, and what about it makes your puny, non-RTX graphics card quiver in abject fear.

Why is Ray Tracing Better?

To explain Ray Tracing, it’s important to first understand how games and animation have traditionally been rendered thus far. Through a process called Rasterization, 3D models are translated, pixel by pixel, into a flat, 2D image. Lighting on a plane is calculated according to distance and angle to the light source, as well as other light-specific information like hue. This process is repeated, frame by frame, at whatever frame rate on display. You can think of it like your computer or TV creating a high-level flipbook.

Ray Tracing on the other hand, literally calculates the path taken by photons from their source to the surfaces they collide with and, most importantly, where they bounce off and ricochet from there — you know, how actual light works. Light bounces off of everything, to some degree, hence the term Bounce Light. Advanced Ray Tracing incorporates everything from intensity, hue, and type of light being emitted to the nature of the materials they’re bouncing off of (is it highly reflective chrome or a dark, textured fur?) to render scenes with incredible accuracy compared to Rasterization, which can really only guess at how something might appear. This simple change in how a scene’s light is processed can make the exact same 3D model appear significantly more lifelike.

image credit: ResetEra

Rasterization renders the way amataeur artists think of shading: the further away, the more turned away, the darker it is. Simple. Ray Tracing renders like a trained artist: incorporating bounce light to create core shadows and a less linear progression of mid-tones to create something correct. Something accurate. That’s what makes Ray Tracing awesome.

Why is Ray Tracing Worse?

Ray Tracing is one hell of a resource-hog. To compute the trajectory of light reflected, reflected, reflected again, reflected again, and then again, the hardware has a whole lot of math to do. That’s why super big-budget animated films can spend literal hours and days rendering single frames of the film, and why only recently the technology has become possible for real-time rendering in complex games.

The main drawback of Ray Tracing is the opportunity cost of using those resources to support further complexity to other aspects of the game. Game development is a zero-sum game, a classic case of quality vs quantity. With Ray Tracing, you’re inevitably getting less game, but what you do get is going to look stunning. Without it, the game won’t have the visual polish it otherwise could have, but the scope of the game can be considerably expanded.

That’s where the stronger hardware comes in handy. With the beefed-up system architecture, developers can start to deliver both with fewer sacrifices. It’s like building a starter character in an RPG with a ton more stat points.

Next-Gen Console Games with Ray Tracing

Below we’ve rounded up all of the games confirmed to come with Ray Tracing on the next-gen consoles. There are games for the top-tier versions of the current consoles and strong-enough PCs that support Ray Tracing, but for this list, we’re focusing on unreleased, upcoming games for the next-gen that will be able to crank the novel rendering method to the max. 

Demon’s Souls

  • Release Date: TBA
  • Developer: From Software, Bluepoint Games
  • Platform: PS5

The original masterpiece by From Software is being remade by the masters of the remaster, Bluepoint Games, and given one hell of a makeover. The first Souls of the Souls-likes, players who missed the terrifying, horrifying, deeply satisfying Demon Souls bus the first time around have a lot to be excited for. Like the original, Demon Souls Remake will be a PS5 exclusive.

Pragmata

  • Release Date: 2022
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Platform: Xbox Series X and Series X, PS5, Windows

The enigmatic Pragmata is an upcoming new title by Capcom about which little concrete is known — besides the obvious, of course. The trailer shows us the clear makings of a high concept sci-fi adventure and shows some stellar concept art rendered in crisp detail using that sweet, sweet ray tracing. Luckily, the game will be released on both next-gen consoles and PC, so if you’re still sweating about which console to go with, you can leave Pragmata out of it.

Gran Turismo 7

  • Release Date: TBA
  • Developer: Polyphony Digital
  • Platform: PS5

Old reliable when it comes to PlayStation exclusives, Gran Turismo will be resurrecting itself 7+ years since the last time we saw the series — and is putting on its party clothes with some ridiculously reflective ray-traced graphics in the announcement trailer that dropped back in June. If you’re a Gran Turismo fan who loves the extra dollop on realism that the franchise holds at the core of its appeal, you only have one choice of console come November.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

  • Release Date: 12 November, 2020
  • Developer: Insomniac Games
  • Platform: PS5

Instead of being relegated to a sideshow trying to stealth his way to survival while being pursued by a roided up Rhino, players will be stepping into the shoes of Peter Parker’s successor for a full game. And it looks… incredible. One look at the trailer shows the incredible subtlety in rendering that only ray tracing can accomplish on full display,

Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart

  • Release Date: TBA
  • Developer: Insomniac Games
  • Platform: PS5

The highly anticipated Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart picks up right where the last game left off and hits the ground running. The trailer shows the duo leaping across worlds like interdimensional pole vaulters, with clear indications of Dr. Nefarious doing his best to live up to his name. Like Insomniac’s other hot, soon-to-be-released title, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the game will be another PS5 exclusive.

Stray

  • Release Date: 2021
  • Developer: BlueTwelve Studio
  • Platform: PS5, PS4, Windows

What do you get when you cross Cyberpunk 2077 with a story about a lost cat? You get Stray. Obviously. You knew that. If you didn’t… well, imagine you’re a cost lost in dystopian cybercity doing your best to return home. Eye-popping visuals made great by not just the ray-tracing but the incredible design and art direction are a true testament to the artistic prowess of the team over at BlueTwelve.

Call of the Sea

  • Release Date: December 2020
  • Developer: Out of the Blue Games
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One

Call of the Sea is an intriguing mystery game that follows a 1930’s woman named Norah as she searches for her missing husband. The game is set on a beautiful, South Pacific Island and makes great use of the powerful new hardware with a more stylized design direction than most other games leaping at the opportunity for unprecedented realism.

Chorus Rise as One

  • Release Date: Deep Silver
  • Developer: Fishlabs, Deep Silver
  • Platform: Windows, PS5, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One, Google Stadia

Chorus is something like a classic space shooter if it accidentally ate a pound of… strange mushrooms. Players play as Nara and her sentient spaceship, Forsaken, as they embark on a vengeful quest to destroy those who created them. The game looks like an incredible, grimdark sci-fi and — lucky for next-gen console fence-sitters — will be available on both consoles, PC, and Stadia.

Forza Motorsport 8

  • Release Date: Expected February 2021
  • Developer: Turn 10 Studios
  • Platform: Xbox Series X and S, Windows

Forza Motorsport 8 was originally expected to launch sometime around now, with most of the franchises titles dropping between the latter end of September of and early October. This time though, due to the global pandemic still giving everyone a legitimate excuse to stay at home and play video games, the brand new racing game will likely be out sometime early next year.

Halo: Infinite (eventually)

  • Release Date: December 2020
  • Developer: 343 Industries
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One

Despite some commotion with its initial unveiling, many gamers are absolutely stoked to see the revival of one of the single most beloved franchises ever created and certified standard-bearer of the Xbox Exclusive banner. The Halo franchise is an illustrious one, and Halo: Infinite aims to hearken back to its glory days, dusting off trusty old split-screen and seemingly returning the focus to the venerable Master Chief.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2

  • Release Date: 2021
  • Developer: GSC Game World
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox Series X and S

A branching narrative, an incredibly massive open world, and horror elements straight out of the darkest brainstorming session imaginable, S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2 combines FPS elements with a classic horror sim to create something gloriously terrifying. Anybody stoked for the sequel to the first S.T.A.L.K.E.R and unwilling to imagine life without it will have to either get it ready on windows or pony up for the Xbox come this holiday season.

The Medium

  • Release Date: December 2020
  • Developer: Bloober Team
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox Series X and S

Another Xbox Exclusive horror, The Medium follows the titular psychic as she uses her powers to travel back and forth between the spirit realm in order to solve puzzles and combat supernatural forces. The trailer shows some of the incredible cinematography possible with the huge leap forward that comes with the new system architecture and should excite any fan of horror or narrative-driven games.

Watch Dogs Legion

  • Release Date: 29 October 2020
  • Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Google Stadia

The new Watchdogs comes with innovative gameplay mechanics and a riveting, Orwellian story that gives gamers of both consoles reason to be excited come late October. Set in near-future London, a corrupt private security company is given the keys to the law enforcement kingdom in the wake of a frightening terrorist attack and, as is necessary, goes full tyrannical crackdown on the residents. Players take control of everyday citizens and utilize their array of subtle, unique strengths to spread the rebellious spirit and take back the city. A stylish, engaging new title and one you’re guaranteed to be able to play on current-gen consoles as well.


There you go! A selection of 13 upcoming games set to feature that sweet sweet ray tracing! Let us know which one you’re most stoked about in the comments below!