One of Microsoft’s biggest claims for the Xbox Series X (the next iteration of Xbox) is that porting over older games will be a breeze. Since everything on the Xbox One platform is built with the same architecture, developers should theoretically have a simple time updating their titles for the newest console. Developer The Coalition, responsible for the Gears of War series, has basically proven that claim.
In a new report from Digital Foundry, the Microsoft owned studio was able to get Gears 5 running on the Series X at ultra-settings in just two weeks’ time. While that quick turnaround was likely due to the game having a PC port available, it does show how much more accomodating the Series X will be to develop for. Nothing too strenuous was required on the part of the development team.
In fact, the game runs super well and it isn’t even optimized. It stands to reason that further work could make this update even better, not to mention make use of some of the Series X’s more advanced features. Ray-tracing is already in the cards, but a technique known as “Mesh Shading” hasn’t yet been implemented.
A lot of the technical names will go over most people’s heads, but one thing is clear: Microsoft wasn’t lying. Since the Series X is more like a suped-up Xbox One instead of a completely new console, developers wanting to provide upgrades to customers won’t need to dedicate a large amount of time to doing so. Microsoft is also promising to provide these upgrades for free, meaning there won’t be extra charges for titles you already own.
This is a nice reversal from the last few generations. Because of the PS3 dropping backward compatibility support from later models, a lot of publishers were quick to jump on the “HD Remaster” trend. This followed into the current generation where a ton of Xbox 360 and PS3 titles received the same treatment, oftentimes at full price.
Microsoft has made a lot of strides with reversing that, though. When the company introduced backward compatibility support on the Xbox One, it eventually led to the One X going even further and rendering games at 4K resolution. All of those updates were provided for free, giving users a nice bonus for sticking with a particular console.
Maybe it isn’t always feasible, but I’d like to see more stuff like this in the future.
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