the medium sadness

Many fans of classic horror games are drawn to Bloober Team’s The Medium like moths to the flame for a variety of reasons. Admittedly, most are linked to The Medium‘s tight orbit around Silent Hill‘s aesthetics, from the game’s fixed camera angles to its soundtrack composed by Akira Yamaoka. Still, quite a few potential players are excited to see how The Medium will push horror game graphics forward, and Exhibit A is the game’s PC port.

To demonstrate the might behind The Medium‘s graphics engine, Bloober Team recently posted a trailer boasting levels powered by RTX. For those of you who don’t know what that is, RTX is the latest line of NVIDIA Geforce graphics cards designed for ray tracing (a rendering technique that realistically simulates lighting and reflection). RTX uses a built-in deep learning AI that maximizes graphical fidelity and framerates while ray tracing is enabled. While current-gen consoles support ray tracing, they do not feature graphics cards strong enough to deliver both ray traced graphics and high framerates. RTX, however, can. Why settle for ray tracing at 30 fps when you can play The Medium with ray tracing at over 60 fps?

According to Bloober Team, the studio worked with NVIDIA to "utilize the full potential of the Unreal Engine 4.25+," and for viewers, the result is stunning. In the trailer, lights bounce off surfaces, and each kind of surface provides a different shine. Dirty walls, for example, glean with a layer of grime, while glass panels and wooden tabletops look like they were freshly polished. The effect is like something straight out of a tech demo video.

While the "real world" receives the bulk of the ray tracing, The Medium‘s spirit world isn’t left out. The phantasmal realm’s porcelain masks and grass-like growths also give off a realistic sheen.

However, while gamers appreciated how great The Medium looks with RTX on, some were quick to note the video doesn’t show the technology’s full extent. For example, the trailer displays RTX in all its glory, but some viewers would like to see these clips displayed next to same scenes with RTX turned off. Others have asked to see a video that demonstrates RTX fidelity alongside the Xbox Series X’s ray tracing? Technology is best appreciated when it is compared to something.

Despite these nagging questions, viewers are still excited for The Medium‘s Jan. 28 launch on Xbox Series X|S and PC, especially since they now understand the power behind the PC version’s graphics.

Detroit Conner