In the spirit of Quake II‘s original release as shareware, NVIDIA will be releasing the first three levels of Quake II RTX on their website for free to everyone. For those who already have Quake II, the full campaign and multiplayer mode can be played with the RTX enhancements after downloading the remastered update. NVIDIA recommends a GeForce RTX 2060 or higher in order to play Quake II RTX.
NVIDIA and id Software showed off a boosted version of 1997’s Quake II that makes use of today’s cutting edge digital effects like ray tracing and path tracing at the Game Developers Conference in 2019. Now the teams are confirming that the enhanced version of the game, called Quake II RTX, will be available for Windows and Linux users for free on June 6th.
On their website, NVIDIA states that the updated Quake II RTX features “top to bottom enhancements that improve virtually every aspect” of the original Quake II experience. “We’re massive fans of the original, and even-bigger fans of technology, so when presented with the opportunity to remaster a classic game with all that ray tracing can offer, we jumped at the chance.”
Some of the listed highlights on the Quake II RTX announcement page are “improved Global Illumination rendering,” multiplayer mode, time of day options that “radically change the appearance of some levels,” updated textures, real-time reflectivity, updated sprite effects, and cylindrical projection support for widescreen displays. In short, it’s a very big flex of what NVIDIA can do with their ray and path tracing technology.
Quake II RTX demonstrates the possibilities of ray tracing, and offers a glimpse at the future of gaming, with realistic real-time lighting, shadows and effects.
In addition to the announcement trailer, NVIDIA also released a video to help explain all the work that went in to Quake II RTX. Tony Tamasi, NVIDIA’s VP of Technical Marketing, provides a rundown on Quake II RTX and explains what path tracing and ray tracing can add to games. Tamasi does a great job of explaining some pretty complicated concepts in a way that’s approachable and interesting.
On NVIDIA’s announcement page, Tim Willits, Studio Director of id Software and one of the creators of the original Quake franchise, said, “It’s rare that a PC game has the impact and longevity of Quake II, and seeing it reimagined with ray tracing 20 years later is something special for me. Equally special is the relationship with NVIDIA, whom we have worked with since the early days of 1st-person shooters.”