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How to Unlock Cyberpunk 2077’s Cinematic RTX Mode

Cyberpunk 2077 Cinematic RTX Screenshot
(Image credit: andwhat112)

By now, we thought we had seen everything we could, good or ill, when it comes to Cyberpunk 2077’s launch performance. But it turns out that there are still secrets to be found in the game’s code. Specifically, a whole new hidden but already built-in ray tracing mode called “Cinematic RTX.”

Cinematic RTX first came to our attention when, earlier today, a new Cyberpunk 2077 mod named “Enable Cinematic_RTX” hit popular game modding site Nexus Mods. Well, it’s less of a mod and more of a series of instructions for enabling something already built into the game. If you’re using the GOG version of the game, all you need to do to enable it is create a shortcut to the game’s .exe file and add the following argument to the end of its target:

-qualityLevel=Cinematic_RTX

This sets the shortcut to launch Cyberpunk 2077 in the game’s pre-existing “Cinematic RTX” mode, which pumps up lighting, ambient occlusion and level of detail at the cost of 2GB extra VRAM usage.

Meanwhile, if you’re playing via Steam, you can activate Cinematic RTX by right clicking on Cyberpunk 2077 in your library, selecting properties, and adding the same line of code in the “launch options” text field.

Cyberpunk 2077 max in-game setting screenshot

(Image credit: andwhat112)

Cyberpunk 2077 Cinematic RTX Screenshot

(Image credit: andwhat112)

Once activated, you’ll notice that some shadows become more pronounced while some lighting becomes more realistic, though changes tend to be nuanced. We were already fairly impressed by the game’s max in-game settings when we reviewed it on an RTX 3080 PC, but if you’ve got the extra VRAM, there’s no harm in giving this a shot.

Alternately, the original Nexus Mods poster, andwhat112, also posted a list of other launch parameters you can try for different quality levels, though they didn’t dive too deeply into the specifics of each. They credit the discovery of these parameters to CP77 Modding Discord member SkacikPL.

To access these, just add “-qualityLevel=” to the end of your .exe file or launch options as usual, but instead of “Cinematic_RTX,” type in one of the following:

  • Low
  • Medium
  • High
  • Ultra
  • RTXMedium
  • RTXUltra
  • Cinematic
  • Cinematic_RTX
  • CinematicEXR
  • CinematicEXR_RTX
  • SafeMode
  • Console
  • ConsolePro
  • ConsoleEarlyNextGen
  • ConsoleEarlyNextGenQuality
  • GeForceNow
  • IconsGeneration
  • Auto

Personally, those “Console” setting looks especially enticing to us. Can we finally experience the masterful misfire that is the base PS4/Xbox One Cyberpunk 2077 port on PC? (Answer: No, we cannot. Or at least, using the Console and ConsolePro options didn't appear to change anything compared to our existing settings. YMMV.)

  • cryoburner
    This sets the shortcut to launch Cyberpunk 2077 in the game’s pre-existing “Cinematic RTX” mode, which pumps up lighting, ambient occlusion and level of detail at the cost of 2GB extra VRAM usage.
    The changes to lighting effects appear to be relatively subtle based on the screenshots, but the improved level of geometry detail appears more noticeable. Flipping back and forth between the full-size screenshots at Nexus Mods, you can clearly see that many object models are replaced with much higher-quality versions with that enabled. As one of the more noticeable examples, the chinese lanterns in that night shot go from being very polygonal at ultra/psycho settings, to being smoothly curved with the cinematic settings. And many other objects gain significant details, at least at that viewing distance.

    I suspect that the "Cinematic" setting enables those improved LOD models without the RTX. And the "CinematicEXR" settings add HDR. I'm curious how each of these settings might effect VRAM usage and performance in general on different cards. They show the "Cinematic RTX" mode increasing VRAM usage by around 2.3 to 2.6GB at 3440x1440 in those screenshots, and that seems like something that might cripple performance on a lot of today's cards. Perhaps they plan to expose these settings in-game once the version enhanced for next-gen consoles goes live.
    Reply
  • spentshells
    All these settings leave me with a question
    Do people with the ps4 pro and xbox one x also have the horrible experience or is it limited to the base versions of those consoles?
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    spentshells said:
    All these settings leave me with a question
    Do people with the ps4 pro and xbox one x also have the horrible experience or is it limited to the base versions of those consoles?
    I watched a comparison video by DigitalFoundry, and it looks like the pro/x models did improve at least some things. Primarily, the resolution appears to be a lot more bearable, and drops in frame rate were not quite as bad. They also encountered the game freezing up for as long as a minute at a time on the base model Xbox One, sometimes resulting in a crash, and it didn't sound like that was an issue on the improved consoles...

    mVWJPYKCMcoView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVWJPYKCMco


    While not related to the current console versions of the game, they also did an interesting video taking a closer look at just what effect the raytraced lighting options can have on visuals when enabled...

    6bqA8F6B6NQView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bqA8F6B6NQ
    Reply