Resident Evil 2 ray tracing has caused a lot of frustration among fans of Capcom’s superlative survival horror. Back in June, the developer released its free, ambience-improving, ray tracing update, but in the process, ended support for DirectX 11 versions of the game, effectively forcing players to upgrade to DirectX 12, and higher PC specs. That decision was quickly reversed, and the original versions restored, but obviously for a lot of fans that meant no more ray tracing, a terrific shame, given the vivid detail and rich atmosphere of RE2’s reimagined Raccoon Police Department.
But now, not only is ray tracing back in Resident Evil 2, it’s looking better than ever, thanks to the work of one modder, Giulio Guglielmi, also known as Massihancer.
We’re about to get technical here (cue the Willem Dafoe “I’m something of a game developer myself” meme), but by using an alternative lighting technique called dynamic diffuse global illumination, Massihancer’s mod is able to extend the reach and radiance of light sources within the game world, meaning that shadows and details are impacted not just by a small number of lights, which extend only a short distance, but the full array of light sources in a given environment. That’s the science behind it – Massihancer’s comparison video, which you can watch below, makes the case a lot better.
We’re especially impressed by the increased reflection here. The vanilla version of Resident Evil 2 looks fantastic, but suffers slightly from this dull, matte look, whereby light doesn’t seem to bounce off of anything. Take a look at the modded version, particularly this moment, when you get a full zoom out on the RPD reception, and you can see that that’s no longer the case.
The mod is still a work in progress, but it looks like real ray tracing is finally coming to RE2. You can keep track of Massihancer’s project via their YouTube channel.