Highly anticipated: Crysis Remastered will be the first (and possibly only) game to run on current-gen consoles with ray tracing enabled. Crytek has used novel software techniques to implement a rudimentary but quite aesthetic form of ray tracing that needs no hardware acceleration and thus runs well on consoles and non-RTX GPUs.

Crysis Remastered appears to be following in the footsteps of its predecessor: both the original and the remastered version have introduced impressive new visuals, and both are pretty hard to run when maxed out. Enabling ray tracing in Crysis Remastered will bring the Xbox One X to 30fps at 1080p and the PlayStation 4 Pro to 30fps at a little under 1080p. Ray tracing won't run at all on the regular Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

Crytek hasn't demoed Crysis Remastered with ray tracing enabled on GPUs without hardware acceleration, but something like Nvidia's 10-series or AMD's 5000-series could be expected to run the game at 60fps. GPUs with hardware acceleration like Nvidia's RTX series and AMD's upcoming 6000-series should run the game even better.

Digital Foundry traveled to Crytek's studio in Frankfurt, Germany, and got a guide to the ray tracing software. They learned that Crytek's software-based implementation is quite distinct from current hardware implementations.

For starters, ray tracing is computed on the regular shader cores, so it's highly optimized and a lot less random than the regular approach. CryEngine chooses only five objects within a small radius around the character to have ray tracing effects applied. Only non-variable objects are considered, so no weapons or characters. And the objects are only ray traced at 540p (none of these restrictions apply to the hardware ray traced version of the game).

Also read: Can It Run Crysis? An Analysis of Why a 13-Year-Old Game Is Still Talked About

Despite this, the game looks great. Objects without ray tracing have standard reflections that still look pretty good. What tends to happen is when you see a large shiny surface - like a puddle or a reflective visor - and you go in for a good look, the reflection is nicely ray traced. When you're running around shooting things there's less ray tracing but you'd never notice.

Crysis Remastered is released on Friday.