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DF Direct Weekly on Microsoft's Series X ray tracing 'leak', Unreal Engine 5 and Max Payne's return

Plus: is the Steam Deck LCD really that bad?

Since we began DF Direct Weekly just over a year ago, there has always been one scenario we've been quietly dreading. If we're making a show based around the latest gaming and technology news, what if there is no gaming and technology news? Thankfully something always emerges but last week was our closest brush yet to a content-free show.

Perhaps I'm over-exaggerating. After all, the arrival of Unreal Engine 5 and the release of The Matrix Awakens city sample for PC users is a big deal, along with the wealth of information 'dropped' in Epic's State of Unreal presentation last week. And yes, we've got plenty to say about that - especially with the news that the next Tomb Raider game will ship on UE5, likely meaning the end of the excellent Foundation Engine used in the the latest series entries and of course, Marvel's Avengers.

Possibly the most interesting news was the leak of a ray tracing enabled version of Minecraft for Xbox Series consoles. Path-traced features made their way into an insider built, but the code was quickly withdrawn. We have to wonder, why? When we first saw Xbox Series X way back in March 2020, Minecraft was the title used to showcase the hardware's RT capabilities. Over two years on, we're still waiting for the upgrade.

The 56th DF Direct Weekly, with Rich Leadbetter, Alex Battaglia and John Linneman at the mics.
  • 00:00:00 Introductions
  • 00:01:23 News 01: Minecraft RT leaks onto Xbox Series, promptly removed
  • 00:05:27 DF Supporter Q: Why do you think Microsoft seemingly doesn't care about Minecraft on its own console?
  • 00:09:46 News 02: Remedy to remake Max Payne 1/2
  • 00:18:14 News 03: Unreal Engine 5 out of early access
  • 00:36:36 DF Content Discussion: DF Retro Motorstorm
  • 00:45:49 DF Content Discussion: Doom RT
  • 00:54:14 DF Supporter Q1: How do you feel about the Steam Deck LCD display after some regular use now?
  • 00:58:17 DF Supporter Q2: What's your thoughts on the potential of the Analogue Pocket 4 months on since release?
  • 01:02:18 DF Supporter Q3&4: How long do you give it before owning a VRR display for current gen consoles becomes a necessity? / Do you have any thoughts as to why it took so long for Sony to implement VRR?
  • 01:10:23 DF Supporter Q5: Jurassic Park Trespasser DF Retro WEN?
  • 01:12:32 DF Supporter Q6: Can variable rate shading replace dynamic resolution scaling?
  • 01:16:21 DF Supporter Q7: If my GeForce 1070 Ti dies, what do I get to replace it? Assume a $500ish budget.
  • 01:18:24 DF Supporter Q8: Is there ever a conflict about who gets to review a certain game?

Good news? How about the announcement of a remake for the original Max Payne and its sequel? Remedy is teaming up with Rockstar to remake the originals from scratch - and we're hugely excited about it, especially as it's going to be built on Remedy's own Northlight engine. From our perspective, the question is the extent to which Remedy might expand and improve Northlight - while it's still capable of great things, elements such as a more modern approach to TAA upscaling and integration of features like dynamic resolution scaling would be welcome.

In addition to discussing some of our latest projects - a new DF Retro on Motorstorm, plus some behind-the-scenes anecdotes on the creation of last week's Doom RT video - we also field a bunch of questions from the DF Supporter Program. Is the Steam Deck's LCD screen OK or have opinions changed after our first month with it? What's going on with the Analogue Pocket? A pretty good question is raised concerning DRS vs VRS - why downscale all pixels when you can downscale the ones you won't notice?

Another great question: are there any arguments about who gets to review a certain game? Truth is, any conflicts are usually about games we don't particularly have any interest in, but where we know there's audience demand. At that point DF Thunderdome rules apply, which makes me Tina Turner, I guess...

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About the Author

Richard Leadbetter avatar

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

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