Since the launch of the new consoles, several last-generation games have received some nice enhancements for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. God of War, Ghost of Tsushima, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order saw some resolution and frame rate improvements when played on new hardware.
Next-gen versions of Marvel’s Avengers and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time are releasing as free upgrades for existing owners as well.
It seems like the trend of improving previously released games is ongoing, as Xbox announced a new initiative for its backward compatibility feature.
XBOX BACKWARD COMPATIBILITY RECEIVING AN UPDATE
In a blog post on Xbox Wire, Xbox announced FPS Boost on Xbox Series X|S. The feature allows the frame rates of backward compatible titles to be doubled and potentially quadrupled depending on the game.
Xbox Senior Program Manager Paul Eng wrote that this feature will "make games visually smoother...while maintaining the game's original intent:"
“To that end, the backward compatibility team has developed FPS Boost, which employs a variety of new methods for nearly doubling (and in a few instances, quadrupling) the original framerate on select titles. Higher, steadier framerates make games visually smoother, resulting in more immersive gameplay. We partnered closely with developers to enhance the experience while maintaining the game’s original intent. And while not applicable to all games, these new techniques can push game engines to render more quickly for a buttery smooth experience beyond what the original game might have delivered due to the capabilities of the hardware at the time.”
The first games to receive this enhancement are Far Cry 4, New Super Lucky’s Tale, Sniper Elite 4, UFC 4, and Watch Dogs 2.
More games will receive support for FPS Boost in the future. Eng also confirmed that in the spring, supported games will feature an options menu where players can tweak the games’ compatibility features. Therefore, FPS Boost can be turned off if players wish to play the game in its original state.
Eng also confirmed that Xbox Game Pass games will also support FPS Boost, so players don’t need to own the games to take advantage of the FPS enhancements.
DOUBLING DOWN ON BACKWARD COMPATIBILITY
Xbox’s announcement of FPS Boost signifies a dedicated system to improving older games. Improvements to last-generation titles have largely been left up to the developer, but Xbox is forming a policy as a platform to enhance its games. This will likely continue throughout this generation of consoles.
Richard Leadbetter and John Linneman of Digital Foundry tested FPS Boost and were largely impressed with the results. They found the initial catalog of FPS Boost supported titles to be somewhat odd, but they noted that with FPS Boost, “the gaming experience is transformed on every game.”
FPS Boost is the fruition of Xbox’s dedication to backward compatibility. The Xbox One initially launched without the ability to play original Xbox or Xbox 360 games. In 2015, under the leadership of Phil Spencer, Xbox announced the integration of backward compatibility to Xbox One. Since then more titles have been added to Xbox’s ever-expanding catalog, and it seems that the company is set to continue bolstering its policy in the coming years.