Xbox 20th Anniversary celebrated!

Believe it or not, Xbox is now 20-years-old and I’m not just referring to the line of video game consoles from Microsoft. Xbox today is also a following of dedicated fans as well as a very thriving ecosystem that covers Xbox game consoles as well as Windows PC! Xbox is also home to popular game franchises such as Halo, Forza Motorsport, Forza Horizon and, by means of Bethesda’s integration into Team Xbox, the established franchises of The Elder Scrolls, Doom, Dishonored, Fallout and many others!

The other night, I got to watch live the Xbox 20th anniversary celebration via the official Xbox YouTube channel and I can say that it was worth the wait since it was first announced coming. That being said, I posted below for your viewing pleasure the very Xbox 20th anniversary celebration video which lasts a little over 30 minutes…

Wow! That was a blast of nostalgia, the Xbox development history, games and big-time entertainment there! Were you able to absorb all of that in just one viewing?

Cutting through the stuff, I can say that I was surprised to see 343 Industries announce the sudden release of the Multiplayer Beta of Halo Infinite which itself has a December 8, 2021 release for its very promising single-player campaign. Watch the video below…

That looked awesome! That being said, I should not be surprised of the sudden release of the multiplayer beta because November 15 is the anniversary date of the original Halo: Combat Evolved, and this year also marks 20th anniversary of the said game and the Halo franchise as a whole. Another reason not to be surprised by the announcement is the fact that the multiplayer feature of Halo Infinite was very positively received since it was first unveiled months ago. I believe that having millions of Halo fans play Halo Infinite’s multiplayer beta will add to the growing anticipation of the single-player campaign’s release which is only weeks away from happening. At the same time, I should state that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer aspect will not be limited to last a few years but will be updates more and more and be able to last even more years than any multiplayer feature of past Halo games!

Moving on, I am very delighted with the announcement by Team Xbox that a lot more classic games (from past Xbox consoles) have been made compatible with Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S! Among the new additions into the Xbox backward compatibility program were Dead or Alive 3, F.E.A.R., Max Payne, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey, Ridge Racer 6, Skate 2, and TimeSplitters 2 to name some.

Adding even more awesomeness to this backward compatibility development is the confirmation enhancements (note: frame rates, resolution, etc.) being applied on classic games making them play best on Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X! Posted below is the excerpt from the Xbox.com article containing the very specific details…

Backward Compatible Games play best on Xbox Series X and Series S

A core tenet since the very beginning of the backward compatibility program has been to not only preserve the games you know and love, but also to enhance them using the latest technology so they look and play better than ever before while still staying true to the original creator’s vision. With Xbox Series X|S, we introduced innovations and improvements such as FPS Boost, Auto HDR, and faster loading times, which breathed new life into classic titles.

  • Every backward compatible title added today will experience improved visual quality with Auto HDR on supported displays, which automatically adds HDR enhancements on Xbox Series X|S.
  • Original Xbox games will experience a resolution increase on all Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles on supported displays.
    • 4x resolution increase on Xbox Series X and Xbox One X
    • 3x resolution increase on Xbox Series S
    • 2x resolution increase on Xbox One S and Xbox One
  • Players will experience even smoother gameplay on 11 titles added today via FPS Boost, which doubles the original framerate up to 60 FPS, including F.E.A.R., F.E.A.R. 3, Binary Domain, and NIER.
  • We are also excited to announce we enabled FPS Boost on 26 more titles from the existing catalog including top requested titles such as the entire Gears of War franchise, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Dragon Age: Origins, Dead Space 2 & 3, Alan Wake and Sonic Generations.
  • And beginning today, FPS Boost is rolling out to 33 titles via Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) that were previously enhanced on Xbox Series X|S including Fallout 4, Fallout 76, and The Evil Within 2.

Players can easily toggle FPS Boost as well as Auto HDR on or off under the “Manage Game” section for any title. You decide how you want to experience your favorite games, whether in their original form or enhanced with Auto HDR and FPS Boost enabled.

Having played Xbox games since the original Xbox console, I can say that the enhancements on old games running on any Xbox Series console is very delightful. Very soon I will replay The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on my Xbox Series X console to rediscover its open-world and quests while enjoying the 60FPS frame rate which will make it a buttery smooth gameplay experience! In relation to these, check out the following videos below showing classic Xbox games enhanced on Xbox Series X.

My Xbox story

Some of you might be wondering what my Xbox story is and how does the Xbox 20th anniversary resonate with me. I can tell you right now my personal experience on witnessing the very launch of the original Xbox game console way back twenty years ago!

The day was November 15, 2001. I was in Hawthorne, California and back then I was still a PlayStation gamer who just happened to be intrigued by Microsoft’s entry in the video game industry.

Being very curious and interested, I hiked all the way to the nearest Best Buy. As I did not have much money, I simply went there to enter and observe. Shopping was not the point of my visit.

As I approached Best Buy through the parking area, I noticed a group of about ten people lined up outside as well as some people entering. It turns out the ones who lined up were there for the Xbox console launch, ready to purchase and waiting for their respective turns. Since I was not there to buy the console, I went inside without hassle.

The original Xbox console with Controller S (which was released in 2002 replacing the original bulky controller).

As it turned out, inside Best Buy, there was a controlled approach organized by the retailer to ensure that the customers buying Xbox, its games and peripherals would have ample time to pick up what they wanted and go to the counter for payment and exit. In other words, it was a turn-based approach on launching the Xbox console locally in a very orderly manner. I also learned that the customers waiting outside the front each had numbers for the Xbox console launch.

While walking around, I saw the original Xbox consoles in their boxed stacked together for the numbered customers to pick up. I also saw shelves of Xbox games and accessories nearby.

Among the customers I witnessed buying the Xbox, I saw a lady moving forward with her pushcart full of varied products (DVDs, CDs, video games and more) and the Xbox stood out among them all! That was a sight to behold!

And that was my personal Xbox 20th anniversary testimony for you all!

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Xbox-exclusive The Gunk all set for December 16, 2021 release!

The wave of high excitement and fun for both Team Xbox and all the gamers playing on Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X or Windows PC continues to be felt as the universally acclaimed  Forza Horizon 5 achieved tremendous success before and during launch in terms of being played by MILLIONS of gamers around the world! The success was so tremendous, Team Xbox chief Phil Spencer confirmed it on Twitter!

In addition, the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy – The Definitive Edition just launched digitally and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas became available on Xbox Game Pass (XGP). Oh yes, Bethesda just released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition which has new content related to its predecessors The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (note: this I played on Xbox 360 way back in 2006.)

Adding even more to the excitement of gaming on the Xbox ecosystem, Thundeful announced officially via Xbox.com that The Gunk will be released worldwide on December 16, 2021 exclusively on Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, Windows PC and also on Xbox Game Pass! To start with, watch the latest video about the game below…

Personally, I am interested in playing The Gunk on Xbox Game Pass as soon as it becomes available. At the same time, I am more interested in the talents of game developer Thunderful which is responsible for the SteamWorld franchise of games. I never got to play any SteamWorld game before and as such, The Gunk will be the first Thunderful-made game for me to play ever!

The Gunk, as it turns out, will NOT be the last Xbox-exclusive coming from Thunderful. In fact, the SteamWorld developer is working on another console-exclusive game for Xbox Series consoles and the aging Xbox One which will be released in 2023…Planet of Lana. Check out the trailer below…

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

The Banner Saga developers and Team Xbox working together on a new Xbox-exclusive game

Can you feel the excitement of video games right now? The highly acclaimed Forza Horizon 5 is just days away from launching globally while the anticipated Xbox 20th anniversary celebration on November 15, 2021 is gradually approaching! A little over a month from now, Halo Infinite will be released globally and already its single-player campaign is very promising.

Adding more to the excitement was the recent article written by Jez Corden (the same guy who wrote the recent hot scoop about the Xbox fantasy RPG Avowed) about another Xbox-exclusive game being made by Stoic Studio, the team behind The Banner Saga trilogy of games. The said game is referred to as Project Belfry.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from Jez Corden’s article published recently by Windows Central Gaming. Some parts in boldface…

I mentioned a couple of weeks back about a codename ‘Belfry’ I’d discovered pertaining to an upcoming Xbox game on my Xbox Two podcast show with YouTuber Rand Al Thor 19. Up until now, I wasn’t sure exactly what the game was, besides a vague reference to bell towers. I knew Stoic was building a game with Xbox too, but it wasn’t until Jeff Grubb put the final pieces together on his show today that everything fit into place. Grubb also gave us key details about the game and some snippets about what to expect.

Project Belfry will sport similar painted art styles to that found in The Banner Saga, depicted above, while sporting side-scrolling brawling combat, similar to the likes of the PlayStation exclusive ‘Dragon’s Crown’. Grubb specifically linked the art style to the anime movie ‘Princess Mononoke,’ which sounds like it could be quite gorgeous indeed. The “Belfry,” hinted at by the game’s codename, will form some sort of base for crafting and upgrades, too.

Belfry is another title joining what seems to be a vast expansion of Xbox Global Publishing’s footprint, working with developers big and small to bring more titles to Xbox Game Pass. We’ve seen larger studios jump on board, featuring Avalanche on Contraband, and we have strong rumors about Project Dragon, built in partnership with Hitman’s IO Interactive. Belfry may be on the smaller side, joining the action RPG from Brass Lion Entertainment codenamed Shaolin, but given the quality of The Banner Saga, Project Belfry may well punch far above its weight.

If you haven’t already, you should definitely give The Banner Saga a go, given that it’s now available as a neat and tidy trilogy package. Your decisions carry over between games too, affecting the way the story pans out in a big way.

Now watch this video about The Banner Saga trilogy below. It should give you an idea about what kind of games Stoic Studio makes and what kind of visuals you can expect from them.

While I myself have not yet played any games of The Banner Saga, the above scoop by Jez Corden (with acknowledgement to Jeff Grubb) is indeed very pleasant and only shows that new and more Xbox-exclusive games are coming. The catch here is that this an exclusive project that does not involve any of the internal Xbox game studios at all business-wise. Xbox Global Publishing is an arm of Team Xbox that negotiates and deals with independent game developers for new projects exclusive on the Xbox ecosystem. This Stoic-made Xbox project should remind you about Contraband, the upcoming Xbox-exclusive game made by Avalanche Studio, the team responsible for the 2015 Mad Max game.

As it is true that Team Xbox will continue to acquire more game studios and while fully funding the many, many Xbox-exclusive games in production for release in the near future, it is really nice to see that they are still negotiating with independent game studios to make exclusive stuff. It comes to show that Microsoft values business partnerships and they are aware that there are lots of game studios or even publishers which are not yet willing to be acquired as they still prefer to be independent even though they may be struggling financially. Just recently, Microsoft and Sega started a new business partnership in the form of a strategic alliance. That being said, the Stoic Xbox project called Project Belfry is something to look forward to.

By the way, have you all bought yourselves an Xbox Series S or an Xbox Series X console? Have you subscribed to Xbox Game Pass already? The definitive edition of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will launch on XGP on November 11.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Xbox-exclusive fantasy RPG Avowed is looking very exciting according to WCG’s Jez Corden

Over a year ago, I wrote about the Xbox ecosystem (Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X and Windows PC) becoming the haven for gamers who love fantasy role-playing games. Take note that article was published before the earth-shaking announcement of Xbox-Bethesda which has since been finalized with full integration which was clearly reflected in the successful E3 2021 digital event.

The integration of Bethesda easily made the future much more promising for the Xbox ecosystem to be the definitive haven for gamers who crave for fantasy RPGs as well as sci-fi RPGs (note: Bethesda’s Starfield will launch exclusively on Xbox on November 11, 2022).

Among the many Xbox game studios is Obsidian Entertainment which is an established RPG maker which Team Xbox acquired in 2018. As seen in the 2020 Xbox games showcase, Obsidian has been working on Avowed, a first-person fantasy RPG that is perceived to be comparable with The Elder Scrolls franchise of Bethesda.

Recently, Windows Central Gaming published an article about Avowed authored by Jez Corden and it has a lot of hot and useful details! The details are so great, I am excited and also confident about Avowed as well as Obsidian Entertainment’s full potential getting realized with the heavy funding and creative freedom they have under Team Xbox.

To put things in perspective, posted below are selected excerpts from the WCG article. Some parts in boldface…

Avowed’s fantasy world is set within Obsidian’s very own Pillars of Eternity fantasy universe.

Excerpt 1

Sources familiar with internal plans have reached out to us in recent months offering details on Avowed, moving through pre-production towards a playable alpha state. Indeed, Obsidian is likely close to having a working early version of the game, with many mechanics and core gameplay pillars already implemented. I can’t be sure how old some of the footage I’ve seen is, and there’s a good chance it’s far further along.

For those who don’t know, we’ve only seen Avowed in a pre-rendered CGI trailer thus far. The game is set in the Pillars of Eternity universe, known as the World of Eternity, and utilizes a first-person viewpoint similar to Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds.

The Outer Worlds fans already have plenty of reasons to be excited about Obsidian’s upcoming slate, given that The Outer Worlds 2 has been confirmed. Avowed seems to be based on a similar, albeit enhanced engine from The Outer Worlds, complete with action-oriented first-person combat and deep RPG exploration and narrative systems. We were told Avowed will feature multiple class playstyles and borrow from Skyrim’s two-handed combat system. You could wield two daggers and be a stealthy rogue, or dive into archery with a two-handed bow. You could use a combination of swords and magic, or go full two-handed magic, which is required to wield some of the game’s more potent spells and abilities.

Avowed will feature many elements Pillars of Eternity fans will be familiar with. Wizard spells like Jolting Touch, which can fry enemies with forks of lightning, will be present. Two-handed spells like Fireball are conjured using complex-looking hand gestures, but decimate enemies in a storm of magma and fire. I also saw status effect spells like Fetid Caress, imbuing enemies with corrosive poison. Weapon enchantments seem to be a big feature too, with magically enchanted swords and frozen arrows, as examples. Pillars-style guns may also appear in the game, similar to the muskets and arquebuses found in the original two titles. Familiar creatures such as the lizard-like Xaurips will appear, alongside much larger and deadlier threats, all the way up to wyverns and drakes.

The combat seems to be more loadout-based than The Elder Scrolls, which gives you mountains of spells in a gigantic list. Warriors will get access to more physical attacks like swordplay, powerful kicks, and shield bashes, while casters will be given a range of spellbook options to customize and tailor their combat style, with attacks bound to specific buttons.

Excerpt 2

Imagine what you could discover in a mysterious fantasy location like that once Avowed finally gets released.

If The Outer Worlds was Obsidian’s take on a Fallout-style game, Avowed is undoubtedly Obsidian’s take on The Elder Scrolls. The two-handed, first-person combat style is unmistakable, but there are obvious differences in early documentation.

At least directly compared to the likes of Skyrim and Oblivion, Avowed seems to be a far more colorful game, reminding me far more of The Outer Worlds. Luminescent cave mushrooms, verdant forests awash with gigantic flora, and hulking sunlit temples complete with skeleton-infested depths and tombs are plentiful. It came as a bit of a surprise given the game’s original trailer, which seemed like it was trying to strike a much darker tone, save for the neon spell effects.

Pillars of Eternity does seem to take environmental interactivity a bit further than The Outer Worlds too, complete with swimming capabilities. We’ve even heard of destructible environments, using lit torches and fire spells to burn down blocked entryways too. Fire spells leave areas coated in flames too, which cascade against walls and floors.

The content I saw does represent a pre-alpha state with certain aspects like lighting and textures not fully implemented, which is one reason I’m not sharing the documentation I’ve been shown. The finished art style is expected to elevate what we saw in The Outer Worlds, though, with a brighter, more lively color palette, although it could end up looking a bit darker akin to the debut trailer. I only saw a couple of areas, although it could represent the diversity of locale styles Obsidian aims to deliver.

As for the story and layout, I can only speculate. I’m not sure whether it will go full-blown open world like the modern Elder Scrolls games or utilize something more like The Outer Worlds’ hub system, which connects large areas with an overworld map, complete with interior areas and dungeons. I’d expected it to be the latter, as it gives Obsidian greater control over the pacing of the narrative, which is one of the studio’s biggest strengths. There is some evidence that it may go fully open world though, given previous job listings (thanks for the tip, Camonna Tong).

Even in its pre-alpha state, Avowed looks like it plays extremely well, with refined action RPG combat set in a vibrant, medieval fantasy world I cannot wait to explore.

Whew! That was a heavy load of details successfully recorded by Jez Corden! Before I go further, I recommend you follow him at Twitter. I also recommend to you all to read Corden’s full article at https://www.windowscentral.com/details-xbox-exclusive-avowed-obsidian-outer-worlds-meets-medieval-fantasy

As seen in the above excerpts from Corden’s hot article, Avowed is more than just Obsidian’s fantasy RPG inspired by The Elder Scrolls. With a first-person view design set in a fantasy world within the established Pillars of Eternity fantasy universe of Obsidian, the Xbox-exclusive Avowed has elements carried over from the hit sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds (which I loved replaying) and from Pillars of Eternity (which is not surprising). In short, Avowed will have its own flavor and style in terms of game design and creative ideas while still potentially be compared with The Elder Scrolls.

As much as I love The Elder Scrolls RPGs like Oblivion and Skyrim from Bethesda, there were certain shortcomings in those games with regards to storytelling and characterization. Obsidian Entertainment proved itself to be great on telling a story (complete with branching narratives, decision-making and consequences), defining characters for players to interact with and still immerse players deeply with great gameplay and in-depth role-playing. Those very things I mentioned were realized in The Outer Worlds and I am excited to see how Obsidian can replicate those in a fantasy RPG. I should also state that I am looking forward to The Outer Worlds 2 which should be released a few years from now.

As long as the RPG makers can maintain greatness as the production goes on, Avowed can easily become Obsidian’s next gem waiting to be unveiled and it can potentially impact positively the way we gamers enjoy fantasy RPGs. On top of that, it could become the must-have and must-play fantasy RPG experience that can only be availed only on Xbox!

Lastly, read below what Obsidian Entertainment stated on July 2020.

At Obsidian Entertainment, we’re committed to what we’ve been doing for the past 17 years – making incredible worlds for you to play in your way. And with Xbox Game Studios behind us, we can’t wait to bring even more awesome worlds to all of you.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Xbox-Bethesda excitement intensifies as Phil Spencer emphasizes exclusive games plus key Bethesda games got added to Xbox Game Pass (XGP)

There is no denying that the completion of the most significant video gaming business deal of this modern age of and the integration of Bethesda into Team Xbox are leading to a brighter future in electronic entertainment not only for Xbox fans and PC gamers but also for all other people who can afford gaming.

Yesterday, the fusion between Bethesda and Team Xbox was emphasized even further as top executives from both sides took part in a roundtable meeting titled Bethesda joins Xbox which was shown worldwide online. The YouTube video has been posted below for your convenience and viewing pleasure.

Here are a few notable parts of the roundtable event. Firstly, and most notably, Xbox chief Phil Spencer cautiously spoke about the plans regarding exclusive games that Xbox fans have been eagerly wanting to find out (note: key portions in bold).

“We have games that exist on other platforms, and we’re going to support those games on the platforms they’re on. There are communities of players. We love those communities and will continue to invest in them. And even in the future, there might be things that have either contractual things, or legacy on different platforms, that we’ll go do. But if you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists, and that’s our goal, that’s why we are doing this,” Spencer said.

Even as Microsoft-controlled Bethesda has games and fan communities on other platforms that will be supported, Xbox customers are still priorities for them and Xbox Game Pass is a key factor as it has many millions of subscribers around the world who use Xbox One consoles, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X and Windows 10 PC.

While no titles were mentioned by Spencer, I am confident that Bethesda’s upcoming games like Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI will be released for Xbox Series consoles and Windows 10 PCs and be made available via Xbox Game Pass in the near future.

In my view, and in response to the whining of the PlayStation fanboys (who are agonizing over the Xbox-Bethesda deal) and of the people who hate Xbox spotted on social media, it does not make business sense for new Bethesda games (especially those made with big budgets for at least 3 years) to be released on PlayStation and Nintendo platforms since they are not connected with Xbox Game Pass.  If you look at Team Xbox closely, they are working hard to sell not only gaming hardware, software and DLCs, but also subscription services. In this case, Xbox Game Pass is essential and with 18 million subscribers already counted, the said subscription service is generating billions of Dollars of revenue for Team Xbox per year. Will Sony and Nintendo be willing to have Xbox Game Pass offered to their respective customers for the sake of availing new Bethesda hot new games? Unless something drastic happens, such a scenario won’t happen.

Going back to Spencer’s confirmation of exclusive games for Xbox customers, the integration of Bethesda into Team Xbox easily ensures that Xbox fans will not only have a lot of exclusive titles coming from the well-established publisher (and its many studios), they will also have a wide variety of the types of games from ALL the 23 Xbox Game Studios. The first-person shooter (FPS) genre exclusives to look forward to are Halo Infinite, the next Doom, the next Wolfenstein, the next Rage, the next Prey and so on. RPGs? Try Starfield, Elder Scrolls VI, Avowed, Fable, the next Fallout and the next The Outer Worlds.

Rest assured, Xbox fans have a whole lot of exclusive games to look forward to from Bethesda’s studios and the other Xbox Game Studios in the near future. These assured exclusive games should convince gamers to buy Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X, and then sign up immediately for Xbox Game Pass.

Going back to the media event, Todd Howard took note of the marvel of backward compatibility (itself a great, pro-gamer feature on Xbox) and described how awesome it is that old creations such as the RPG Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is not only playable (on current Xbox technology) but also nicely presented in 4K resolution showing how much life it still has all these years. In relation to that, Aaron Greenberg announced that Team Xbox is already working on providing FPS Boost (enhanced frame rates) on backward compatible games of Bethesda.

And then there is the other big announcement made during the roundtable event…Bethesda adding twenty games into Xbox Game Pass for subscribers to enjoy!

Specifically the games added into the said subscription service are: Dishonored Definitive Edition, Dishonored 2, Doom (1993), Doom II, Doom 3, Doom 64, Doom Eternal, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Elder Scrolls Online, The Evil Within, Fallout 4, Fallout 76, Fallout: New Vegas, Prey, Rage 2, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood.

Those mentioned games are available on Xbox Game Pass now.

In ending this, posted below for your viewing pleasure are varied gaming-related videos…including one video about the March 17, 2021 release of the next DLC expansion for The Outer Worlds (developed by Obsidian Entertainment which itself worked on Fallout: New Vegas for Bethesda long ago).

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Looking good on the way to Xbox Series consoles launch, Part 3

I should say it out loud. I am a long-time Xbox gamer (and I was once a PlayStation fanboy until I started playing Halo: Combat Evolved, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Forza Motorsport on the original Xbox console) and it is great that the next-generation Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X consoles will have backward compatibility right from the start.

Specifically, I started my Xbox journey (with an official Xbox LIVE account) in 2006 with the Xbox 360 console. I played lots of great games on that console such as Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Halo 3, Forza Motorsport 4, Lost Odyssey, Assassin’s Creed III, Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the Mass Effect trilogy just to name a few.

Even though the current 8th console generation was not too rosy for Xbox due to the weak 1st party game support on the part of Microsoft, I still enjoyed gaming on my Xbox One. The Outer Worlds was one of the best sci-fi RPGs I have ever played. Fallout 4 was just as engaging and as immersive Skyrim in my experience. Also I had great fun playing Red Dead Redemption 2.

That being said, I certainly do not want my past Xbox generation game collection – both physical media and digital copies – to just go to waste. This is why I really appreciate Team Xbox for implementing backward compatibility on the two Xbox Series consoles which will launch less than a month from now. I myself enjoyed replaying my favorite Xbox 360 games on my Xbox One  (a few among them were Red Dead Redemption, Lost Odyssey and the entire Mass Effect trilogy) and having the same feature for the next-generation is a very good thing!

On Xbox.com, Director of Program Management for Xbox Series X Jason Ronald explained the efforts their team made since the big breakthrough of 2015 plus other details about the tremendous addition of value backward compatibility brings to the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X. Excerpt below:

Our compatibility journey began with the announcement of Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility coming to Xbox One at E3 2015. I clearly remember that first magical experience of jumping into one of my favorite Xbox 360 games, Final Fantasy XIII, and instantly resuming where I had left off years before as if no time had passed at all. I was instantly transported back to that special time and all the great memories and personal connections I have made through gaming. The energy and passion from the community continues to motivate us to this day.

Through a tremendous amount of hard work, technical innovation, and partnership with the industry’s leading creators we were not only able to bring more than 500 Xbox 360 games to Xbox One, we were able to go back even further into the archives and resurrect some of your favorite franchises from the original Xbox. The very same team who created new innovative ways to preserve and enhance your existing catalog of games on Xbox One is the same team pushing the envelope again with Xbox Series X.

Maintaining compatibility presents a massive technical challenge as fundamental system and chip architectures advance across generations. Developers highly optimize their games to the unique capabilities and performance of a console to provide the best experience for their players. To make the Xbox Series X our most compatible console ever required both significant innovation in the design of the custom processor as well as the unique design of the Xbox operating system and hypervisor at the heart of our next generation platform.

With more than 100,000 hours of play testing already completed, thousands of games are already playable on Xbox Series X today, from the biggest blockbusters to cult classics and fan favorites. Many of us in Team Xbox play on the Xbox Series X daily as our primary console and switching between generations is seamless. By the time we launch this holiday, the team will have spent well over 200,000 hours ensuring your game library is ready for you to jump in immediately.

As seen in the paragraph right above, the 100,000 hours figure is very significant and it shows that no shortcuts were taken with regards to play testing and quality assurance. That figure is only rising and that is great dedication for not only Xbox fans with huge game collections but also consumers in general.

It should be noted that the more affordable Xbox Series S console will run backward compatibility a bit differently since it cannot render visuals in native 4K (it can however upscale in 4K). A September 14, 2020 update to Ronald’s article states:

the Xbox Series S runs the Xbox One S version of backward compatible games while applying improved texture filtering, higher and more consistent frame rates, faster load times and Auto HDR. As for next generation titles, Xbox Series S was designed to be the most affordable next generation console and play them at 1440P at 60fps.

The premium Xbox Series X console, unsurprisingly, has huge advantages for anyone who loves playing past games via backward compatibility. Enhanced visuals? Check! Improved frame rates? Check! Heavily reduced load times? Check! Much better performance? Check! Check out the excerpt below:

Not only should gamers be able to play all of these games from the past, but they should play better than ever before. Backwards compatible games run natively on the Xbox Series X hardware, running with the full power of the CPU, GPU and the SSD. No boost mode, no downclocking, the full power of the Xbox Series X for each and every backward compatible game. This means that all titles run at the peak performance that they were originally designed for, many times even higher performance than the games saw on their original launch platform, resulting in higher and more steady framerates and rendering at their maximum resolution and visual quality. Backwards compatible titles also see significant reductions in in-game load times from the massive leap in performance from our custom NVME SSD which powers the Xbox Velocity Architecture. As I play through my personal backlog as part of our internal testing, all of the incredible games from Xbox One and earlier play best on Xbox Series X.

The team was not content to just rely on the increased hardware performance to improve your playing experience. The team developed new platform level capabilities to ensure all of your games continue to get even better. In partnership with the Xbox Advanced Technology Group, Xbox Series X delivers a new, innovative HDR reconstruction technique which enables the platform to automatically add HDR support to games. As this technique is handled by the platform itself, it allows us to enable HDR with zero impact to the game’s performance and we can also apply it to Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles developed almost 20 years ago, well before the existence of HDR.

In addition, the new Quick Resume feature was designed to not only work with new games, but it can also be enabled for backward-compatible titles. Quick Resume enables players to resume exactly where they left off, across multiple titles, ensuring gamers can get right back to the fun in an instant.

Website Gaming Bolt recently published their own video explaining the so-called secrets of backward compatibility on Xbox Series X.

Going back to Jason Ronald’s article, it should be noted how dedicated their team is towards fans. The excerpt below:

Beginning with Xbox One X, the compatibility team developed brand new innovations that could be applied to a hand curated list of titles to enhance them even further than what was possible when they were first created. Techniques such as the Heutchy method, which enables titles to render with increased resolutions up to 4K, or applying anisotropic filtering to improve the final image quality bring these classic games up to modern standards, better than ever before.

With all of the additional power and advancements of the Xbox Series X, the compatibility team now has a veritable playground of new capabilities to innovate and push the limits of game preservation and enhancement. The compatibility team has invented brand new techniques that enable even more titles to run at higher resolutions and image quality while still respecting the artistic intent and vision of the original creators. We are also creating whole new classes of innovations including the ability to double the frame rate of a select set of titles from 30 fps to 60 fps or 60 fps to 120 fps.

The team also continues to listen to feedback from the community on additional titles you would like to see added to the compatibility program.

With the enhancements confirmed, check out Window Central Gaming’s comparative YouTube video of Monster Hunter World running on Xbox One X (currently the most powerful gaming console available) and Xbox Series X.

As of this writing, the backward compatibility feature on the Xbox Series consoles covers lots of titles of Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. What is expected not to be included are Kinect motion sensor games released on Xbox 360. On the side of PlayStation, PS5 is backward compatible with PS4 games only. Until now, Jim Ryan and Mark Cerny still have not figured out ways to make PS5 a compatible with the many, many games of PS1-PS2-PS3. Perhaps they never tried to do it at all, letting down their fans and consumers in general. It is weird because Sony used to be the shining example of video game backward compatibility starting with PlayStation 2 (PS2). Backward compatibility continued in the next generation with PS3 but only for the initial units. Subsequent PS3 consoles were made without the compatibility.

In ending this article, here are some more videos about Xbox Series X backward compatibility for your learning and enjoyment.

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