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Square Enix’s new ray-tracing demo is a startlingly intimate digital short

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From the team behind Final Fantasy XV

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We already know that ray tracing can make existing games like Quake and Minecraft look great, but one of the most exciting things about the technology is how it will help shape future interactive experiences. And the best way to imagine that is through tech demos.

The most recent, from Square Enix’s Luminous Productions studio, uses the graphics technology to create a startlingly intimate short of a woman getting ready backstage. It’s a simple, brief scene, but it’s filled with unmistakable details, from the freckles on the character’s face to the photorealistic makeup brushes she uses.

In a post on the Nvidia blog, Luminous studio head Takeshi Aramaki, says that the demo — appropriately titled “Back Stage” — was designed to answer a specific question: “How can you use ray tracing in a next generation game?” It’s likely we’ll start seeing this technology implemented in Square Enix games in the near future, as Luminous is responsible for the publisher’s in-house game engine, which most recently powered Final Fantasy XV.

Of course, Square Enix is far from the only company experimenting with ray tracing. At GDC this year, Epic showed off a pair of gorgeous demos showcasing how ray tracing could be used in its widely adopted Unreal Engine.