As gaming technology advances, so too do the possibilities of what can be done in games increase. Today Square Enix showed off what that could mean for graphics with a new tech demo for the next generation of its in-house Luminous Engine, which powered the visuals for Final Fantasy 15.
The tech demo, titled Back Stage, specifically shows off how the latest iteration of the Luminous Engine handles ray-tracing in real time. Ray-tracing has been showing up more and more lately, with the technology being used to provide realistic real-time lighting to games like Minecraft, where it was recently made available in a free update.
And here it shows how that could enhance a next-gen game. As the demo unfolds, a woman goes through a range of emotions in front of a backstage mirror, and all the while the enhanced ray-tracing makes it possible to capture everything in incredible detail. It’s the kind of lighting detail that is nearly impossible for most games these days to handle well in pre-rendered cutscenes, let alone in real time.
What’s more, according to Nvidia, who collaborated with Square Enix’s Luminous Productions on Back Stage, the demo was captured using only a single GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card. So as far as next-gen technology goes, it shouldn’t be something developers will have to wait several years to fully utilize in their games.
As for games, the demo offers no hint as to what Square Enix is planning to use its technology for. But given that this is the company behind the Final Fantasy franchise, it seems safe to assume that it’s putting it to work on whatever next-gen title is being developed for the series. This wouldn’t be a bad thing, and in fact it opens up the possibility of this technology being applied on a huge scale. Imagine what the inevitable Final Fantasy 16 could pull off with the graphical capabilities on display in Back Stage.
For those who don’t know, Luminous Productions is a studio formed by Square Enix last year with the express purpose of "developing new AAA titles and bringing innovative games and other entertainment content to a global audience." It was originally headed by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata, but he has since left both the studio and Square Enix entirely.