This past week, Microsoft unveiled a few third party trailers for the upcoming Xbox Series X. Thus giving gamers a glimpse of – what we assume to be – Launch 3rdparty titles for the system. The reveal, which is much more than we have gotten from Sony in regards to the PS5, keeps Microsoft at the forefront of the next generation wars, as the message is clear: ‘The Xbox Series X is more powerful than the PS5, and it has the games to show it.’
The Never Ending Realm has been most impressed by the footage shown of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The footage represents gameplay running on Series X hardware (though no HUD is present in the trailer), and I will be the first to say, that the graphical fidelity demonstrated by the trailer is simply ‘mind-blowing’ !
The new entry in the Assassin’s Creed series, shows a clear leap in frame-rate, and visual detail over current generation open world efforts.
The third party exclusive The Medium, was another impressive title. With visuals that easily rival those seen in the trailers of the Last of Us 2. The premise of a spiritual successor to the Silent Hill series running on such powerful hardware is definitely an enticing one.
Some of the other entries such as Bloodlines 2, don’t necessarily show a huge step up from current generation tech. This has caused some fans to openly criticize the reveal, and some of the games. Yet, we must have a few things present when judging these early trailers.
The Current Generation has delivered some incredible Visuals even on base, 2013 Hardware
An open world game as good looking, and as a massive as Red Dead Redemption 2 would have been thought impossible back in 2013. So we have been lucky that current tech has allowed for some truly fantastic looking games that have come ever closer to matching near “photo realistic graphics”.
At some point the gaps will keep getting smaller, and smaller in terms of visual leaps between console generations, and it is possible that we have finally reached that point of diminished returns.
Launch Games Are Sometimes Not THAT Impressive
I remember when the 360 launched. There were complaints about its games not being “enough of a leap” over the the OG Xbox’s. Then came Gears of War…and every one shut up. We can’t expect developers to squeeze out every drop of Hardware power in the early parts of a console lifecycle. Historically speaking, games at the end of a generation look much (sometimes tremendously so) better than games released at, or near a console’s launch.
Developers will get used to the hardware, and modify their engines in ways that no one thought possible early on, and as such, I expect the Xbox Series X (and the PS5 for that matter) to truly astound us down the line.
Some of those Launch Games are (possibly) Cross Generation
Some of those games seen in the trailer, have to run on current hardware. As such, there will be notable visual, and performance improvements on Series X, but it won’t be something that will completely ‘blow the doors off ‘ the current generation versions of the games.
Apart from The Medium and Scorn These Are Not Exclusive Games
The Medium is, and as such it looks superb. We will have to wait for the Halo Infinite newest trailer to gauge how big of a leap it is from Halo 5, while keeping in mind that Halo Infinite is also a cross generational release.
Its All About Performance
Some of the games shown (AC: Valhalla) will make an appearance on current generation consoles. But I guarantee the games won’t be running at 60fps (Valhalla will probably struggle to stay running consistently at 30fps on current machines), they will not have Ray Tracing, and we will see enormous cut backs to image quality.
You need not go far to see a prime example of the level of expected cutbacks. One only needs to take a look at The Witcher 3.
The Switch version of The Witcher 3 looks very good…on handheld form. Dock the Switch, and play the game on a TV screen, and it looks markedly worse, much worse than its PS4 counter part. Loss of detail, loss of texture work, huge drop in screen resolution, etc. make the Switch port the ugly duckling in contrast to the other versions of the game. This is an example, perhaps, of how some of these games will fare on current hardware, in contrast to how they will fare on the powerful Xbox Series X.
Microsoft’s Return to Glory?
Microsoft’s biggest failure with the Xbox One, was the lack of exclusive titles, and lack of focus on games (at least in the early presentation of the system). The company is not repeating its past mistakes. There has been a strong focus on games, and The Medium shows that they won’t lack in exclusives titles this time around.
The company can’t stop talking about the how powerful their new system is, as evidenced by an Eurogamer.com in depth interview with X Series X development chief Jason Ronald.
In the aforementioned interview, Ronald talks giddily about how powerful Series X is, and even talks about pricing without giving us the number.
When asked about the pricing in relation to how incredibly powerful the hardware is, Ronald put our minds at easy with the following statement.
“We know we have to deliver something at a compelling price point people all across the world are comfortable with and can afford. So it has been a key into the design of the system. And to be blunt, we’re pretty excited about what we put into that form factor.” -Jason Ronald
Sounds to me, like they are going to match whatever Sony announces as their price point, which would make things interesting as Series X has a noticeable advantage in GPU power of its rival (PS5) system.
I can’t see how Microsoft doesn’t do better this time around. So yes, I expect a tighter race provided that Series X doesn’t cost $600 dollars. But we shall see. So far, so good for Microsoft, and their new system. The Xbox Series X keeps hitting all the right notes.