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Cyberpunk 2077's PC-exclusive ray-tracing effects detailed with gorgeous new screens

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

While there are many exciting aspects of Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab), one of its biggest draws is the slick, neon-drenched aesthetic. One benefit of the PC version, at least at launch, is that it's the only platform to benefit from four distinct ray-tracing effects developed in partnership with the makers of some of the leading best graphics cards (opens in new tab), Nvidia. 

Over on the Nvidia blog, Nvidia tech marketer Andrew Burnes breaks down the four different ray-tracing effects with gorgeous Cyberpunk 2077 screenshots to demonstrate the tech.

First, there's Ray-Traced Diffuse Illumination, which creates "sky radiance as well as emissive lighting" to help bright objects illuminate their surroundings in the most natural-looking way possible. Meanwhile, Ray-Traced Reflections capture realistic reflections "up to several kilometers" away. 

Ray-Traced Ambient Occlusion is a technique used to "calculate how exposed each point in a scene is to ambient lighting, which results in the rendering of new AO shadows that ground objects and naturally darken surfaces, objects, and other game elements," while Ray-Traced Shadows captures "pixel-perfect" shadows.

Whether any of that means much to you partly depends on your familiarity with tech lingo, but seeing the following screenshots could make even simpletons like me appreciate the process.

For now, the above visual effects are only confirmed for the PC version of Cyberpunk 2077, but the next-gen Cyberpunk upgrade for PS5 and Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) could come sporting the same. Either way, CD Projekt's latest is sure to be a stunner no matter which platform you're playing on.

We shared our thoughts on Night City in our hands-on Cyberpunk 2077 preview (opens in new tab), and it's every bit as exciting as we've hoped - and certainly more than enough to make us want to nail a Cyberpunk 2077 pre-order (opens in new tab) down.

Jordan Gerblick
Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.