GTA 5’s Ray Tracing Means Shop Corner Mirrors Actually Work

It may be the year 2023 but Grand Theft Auto 5 remains one of the most popular and most played video games. Although the title came out nearly a decade ago, Rockstar has remastered it and added things to freshen it up over the years, which include performance and visual upgrades for PS5 and Xbox Series.

One of the most recent updates added ray tracing to GTA 5 and its Online component. Not everyone will be able to see the real-time ray-traced reflections as the Fidelity Mode graphics setting only applies to PS5 and Xbox Series X/S players. Meanwhile, the graphics specialists over at Digital Foundry have marvelled at the ray tracing Rockstar has implemented, while players are also impressed at the level of visual fidelity enabled by the new graphics mode.

Over on the GTA subreddit, players have been noticing new details and how the ray tracing has made certain assets in the game shine better than ever before.

As seen in the video the player walks into a grocery store in first-person view in the Online game. Peering around the store's items it really does look impressive how the resolution and details of items have been increased in the current-gen update, with snacks and magazines having readable text and the light bouncing off them, helping to increase realism.

Wandering to the store's refrigerators it's clear just how much ray-traced reflections can make surfaces appear that much more realistic. The reflections coming off the windows of the drinks cabinets have that subtle yet life-like look that is the signature of real-time ray-traced reflections which closely maps how light behaves in the real world. Ray tracing is a processor intensive technique that simulates the behaviour of light in real time, in contrast to more traditional techniques where devs simply "painted" the light onto assets, to grossly simplify.

Then the pièce de résistance. The player looks up, bringing the game's camera with them, to put the "metal mirror ball thing" into view. Now, will you look at that? See how it gleams, how it curves, and how the curved mirror reflects and refracts the surroundings and the characters. Truly, it is a marvel to see a ten-year-old game looking this reflective. With the ray tracing, the in-game's store's owners should be able to see better if any crimes are being committed now.

Still though, Grand Theft Auto 6 would be good to see sometime soon. And Rockstar Games has put its significant resources to focus on the development to the sequel to its blockbuster series. Meanwhile, players can walk around the world of GTA 5 and wonder at all those ray-traced surfaces.

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