Minecraft really said, ‘Sorry, sorry, I’m trying to delete it.’
Minecraft is one of those games that I truly believe will never stop being updated and added to. The game has been around for 10 years and continues to be talked about to this day, not to mention it still regularly tops the digital charts on multiple platforms to this day. That being said, some platforms have a lot more range than others. It’s well known that the PC version of Minecraft has the most content and features out of all of them, as well as the unfiltered access to mods. One of the biggest official features that Minecraft on PC has had since June 2020 is ray-tracing.
For the uninitiated, Techradar quite neatly explains what ray-tracing is.
It’s an advanced and lifelike way of rendering light and shadows in a scene. It’s what movies and TV shows use to create and blend in amazing CG work with real-life scenes. However, because ray tracing works by simulating and tracking every ray of light produced by a source of lighting, it kind of takes a lot of horsepower to actually render.
So ray-tracing makes the lights pretty. In a game like Minecraft, this is very cool to see. The realistic lighting mixed with the blocky design of the game makes for quite the spectacle.
On the 29th of March, it looked like the console edition of Minecraft (notably the Xbox version) would be getting raytracing. According to The Verge, a new Minecraft Preview build was made available to Xbox Insiders and included ‘limited ray-tracing support’ in said build. The Verge also notes that the latest test build was ‘marked as optimised for Xbox Series X/S’, which made many come to the rational conclusion that a next-gen patch would probably be coming soon.
And then all of a sudden, Minecraft said sike.
It may feel like an April Fool’s prank, but it’s still March 31st over in America. Therefore, it is probably not an April Fool’s prank. Early this morning, the official Minecraft Twitter account basically stated that the inclusion of ray-tracing in the Xbox Insider’s Minecraft Preview build was a certified Big Oopsie-Daisy and that it doesn’t mean shit.
The previous Minecraft Preview build available to Xbox Insiders inadvertently included prototype code for raytracing support on Xbox consoles. This early prototype code has been removed from Preview and doesn’t signal near future plans to bring raytracing support to consoles.
— Minecraft (@Minecraft) March 31, 2022
The replies to this tweet are packed to the brim with tweets like, ‘Are you kidding?’, ‘Why not?’, and ‘What?’. To which I say, fair enough. According to those that had the chance to play with build with the ray-tracing code, it worked. It looked great. The Xbox consoles can clearly handle it, leaving many confused as to why they’ve decided to backpedal on this addition.
I think Minecraft will continue to thrive for years to come. It’s already come this far, still consistently remaining relevant over 10 years after its release. On the other hand, what has helped Minecraft keep its relevancy is the fact that it’s been updated regularly over time. If you keep giving the people what they want, they’ll keep playing your game. And the people clearly want ray-tracing.
However, it is April Fool’s Day. So who knows.