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Quake II gets free Nvidia RTX treatment on June 6

First three levels will be playable for free in RTX

When Nvidia showed off their ray traced Quake II demo at the beginning of the year, everyone (including our own Alec, RPS in peace) went a bit nuts for it. Despite being a heck of a lot older than all the other shiny RTX games on show, it was Quake II that really made people sit up and pay attention to what Nvidia's new fancy pants reflection tech could really bring to the table. And now, Nvidia are releasing a full version of Quake II RTX on June 6 from GeForce.com, with the first three levels available for absolutely nothing - just like they were back in the good old shareware days.

You'll need to own the full game to play the entire thing with RTX effects (plus, of course, an RTX graphics card or a compatible GTX card starting from the 6GB GTX 1060 upwards), but as you can see in the trailer below, it sure does look a heck of a lot prettier than it did in 1997.

Fully-remastered with a ray tracing technique known as path-tracing, Quake II RTX not only has more realistic lighting effects, including a real-time day and night cycle, but it also comes with new sprites, new weapon models and textures, as well as updated particle animations to name just a few of its many improvements.

Alas, Quake II RTX won't be compatible with any of the game's expansion packs come June 6, but Nvidia have said they will be posting Quake II RTX's source code to GitHub, so you may well find eager fans picking up the slack sooner than you know it. The same goes for mods and total conversions, too. They won't be supported at launch, but it's probably only a matter of time before you'll be able to play them in all their RTX glory.

How do I get Quake II RTX?

If you don't already own Quake II, you'll be able to download the first three levels with all the new RTX features for free from Nvidia's website on June 6.

If you do own Quake II, you'll still need to download and install Quake II RTX from Nvidia, but there will also be a point in the installation process where you can point it towards the location of the full game on your PC. This will allow the installer to copy over all the levels and assets into Quake II RTX, so when you boot up Quake II RTX, you'll be able to play the entire campaign plus multiplayer matches in full RTX mode.

As for Quake II RTX's PC requirements, Nvidia recommends the following specs:

Minimum PC requirements:
Windows 7
CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 / AMD equivalent
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 or higher
Storage: 2GB

Personally, I'm surprised they're recommending an RTX 2060 as the bare minimum graphics card for Quake II RTX, but according to Nvidia, the game's path tracing techniques are pretty performance-intensive. In fact, they say Quake II RTX has "the highest workloads of any ray traced game released to date", due to the fact it's using path tracing for rendering practically everything you see onscreen.

That doesn't bode well for any GTX ray tracing, admittedly, but rest assured that I'll be testing as many graphics cards as I can post-release to see what's really possible on GTX and RTX cards alike.

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Katharine Castle avatar

Katharine Castle


Katharine is RPS' editor-in-chief, which means she's now to blame for all this. After joining the team in 2017, she spent four years in the RPS hardware mines. Now she leads the RPS editorial team and plays pretty much anything she can get her hands on. She's very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests, but also loves strategy and turn-based tactics games and will never say no to a good Metroidvania.