“Back Stage” Tech Demo: Luminous Productions Embraces Ray Tracing For Next-Gen Games

By Andrew Burnes on September 04, 2019 | Featured Stories GeForce RTX GPUs Ray Tracing

In 2015, Square Enix surprised gamers by unveiling WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry], a stunning real-time DirectX 12 tech demo powered by the internally-developed Luminous Engine. The cutting-edge tech debuted in that demo was then refined and integrated into the Luminous-powered FINAL FANTASY XV, one of the best-looking RPGs ever made.

Now, there’s a new demo called Back Stage, designed to showcase the bleeding-edge tech that’ll be utilized in next-gen Luminous Engine games.

Designed by Luminous Productions, a subsidiary studio of Square Enix Holdings staffed by FINAL FANTASY XV veterans, Back Stage is rendered almost exclusively with path tracing, an advanced form of ray tracing also used in Quake II RTX and Minecraft, that enables real-time rendering of lifelike lighting, shadows and reflections.

As you’ll see in the demo video below, captured on a single GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, ray tracing delivers unprecedented detail, creating a realistic, immersive scene, far beyond the level of fidelity seen in FINAL FANTASY XV.


Visual realism improves greatly by using ray tracing, but by stepping up to path tracing, shadows, reflections, ambient occlusion, and diffuse global illumination lighting are all computed in a unified way, by tracing and bouncing millions of rays through a scene, instead of using separate algorithms. This delivers superior results, where everything renders and updates automatically in real-time, in accordance with the action occurring on-screen.

By making this technology a cornerstone of their AAA engine, Luminous Productions is signaling that the future of gaming is one with lifelike lighting powered by ray tracing. And by watching the Back Stage demo, you can imagine the incredible sights we’ll see in their future AAA games, and other high-fidelity projects that Luminous Productions is currently creating with Luminous Engine.

Back Stage is a showcase demo of our work to answer the question, "How can you use ray tracing in a next generation game?" GeForce RTX graphics cards have power beyond our imagination, and with NVIDIA's technology even real-time path tracing has become a reality. Together with Luminous Engine and RTX technology, we have taken one more step forward towards the kind of beautiful and realistic game that we strive to create.” - Takeshi Aramaki, Studio Head of Luminous Productions

Luminous Productions’ endorsement of ray tracing illustrates the continued momentum that ray tracing is building in the gaming ecosystem with another major studio building support for real time ray tracing into their game engine.  Ray tracing is built upon a robust ecosystem that includes industry standard application programming interfaces (APIs), support in an array of popular and private game engines, and games from the biggest publishers for their most anticipated titles.

We can’t wait to see what Luminous Productions creates, and we’re proud to be a part of their continuing quest for ever-better graphics that help them bring their incredible worlds to life, and to tell ambitious stories using stunning in-game cinematic cutscenes.

For more on ray-traced games from the biggest names in the business, head on over to GeForce.com.