In an interview with Germany’s PCGH, CD PROJEKT RED’s lead graphics programmer Marcin Gollent revealed that Cyberpunk 2077 will only support DirectX 12 on PC. That’s of little concern to anyone blessed with modern hardware, but it’s bad news for folks who are stuck with older graphics cards and/or operating systems (e.g., Windows 8). It’s also a big disappointment for Vulkan API fans.
PCGH: You’ve opted to use Direct X 12 Ultimate. Will there be a fallback so gamers who are still running Win 7/8.x can also play? Was there a decision between the lower-level APIs DirectX 12 and Vulkan, and if so, why did you pick DX12?
Marcin Gollent: Thanks to the introduction of DX12 support for Windows 7 SP1 that Microsoft introduced last year, the game will run on this system. We do, and will continue to, test Cyberpunk 2077 on Windows 7 in an attempt to iron out any edge-cases that might arise. Unfortunately, Windows 8 didn’t receive its variant of DX12 libraries.
Regarding DX12 Ultimate, Cyberpunk 2077 will work absolutely fine with all DX12-compatible GPUs. What the “Ultimate” feature set does is it allows us to do more if the hardware allows for it. We opted to go with DX12 for two main reasons. Firstly, it is the standard API for the Xbox platforms, and with the game also coming to Xbox One, we naturally wanted to have it implemented as soon as possible. Secondly, it is the birthplace of DXR, and given we had plans to invest in DXR very early on, that made the choice to go with DX12 a pretty straightforward one.
The interview also discusses Cyberpunk 2077’s ray tracing and how much of a challenge it was for CD PROJEKT RED to implement due to the level of real-time lighting and dynamic cycles (i.e., day/night, weather) throughout the game. While the PC version is sure to look incredible, Gollent couldn’t confirm whether or not ray-traced effects would be available in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions.