The Xbox Series X will obviously be used to play a new generation of games, but the system is also looking to boost Microsoft's back catalogue in surprising ways. Even games like Gears 5, with just two weeks of prep time, are seeing marked improvements on the Xbox Series X hardware.
Our sister site Digital Foundry recently got to check out the specs and technical capabilities of the Xbox Series X, and one demo in particular stood out. A Gears 5 port, purportedly developed in just two weeks, apparently featured some massive upgrades. The Coalition's developers essentially turned all the settings up to the equivalent of PC's ultra settings and added some additional features, like Unreal Engine 4's "global illumination", which uses ray tracing to replicate natural light.
According to Digital Foundry, the benchmark results show an unoptimized port already delivering performance comparable to an RTX 2080—a fairly high-end PC graphics card. It's not just a gameplay boost, either. Cutscenes that ran at 30 frames per second on the Xbox One X were upped to a "flawless" 60 frames per second on the Xbox Series X.
"I think relative to where we're at and just looking at our experience with the hardware with this particular game, I think we're really positive to kind of see how this thing is performing, especially knowing how much untapped performance is still there in the box based on the work we've done so far," Coalition tech director Mike Raynor says.
Raynor confirms that Gears 5 will be optimized for launch on Xbox Series X, and that it will support Smart Delivery. That means that if you already own Gears 5 in some form, you'll be able to start playing the Xbox Series X-enhanced version on launch day for free.
This seems pretty promising for those looking forward to revisiting Xbox One games, or playing them for the first time, on the Xbox Series X. Which games will get this special level of treatment remains to be seen, but considering Microsoft's openness to blurring the lines between console generations, this could result in some Xbox games getting some pretty big glow-ups on the Series X launch day.
The Xbox Series X launches later this year. Be sure to check out our five big takeaways from Digital Foundry's technical breakdown of Xbox's next-gen console.