Xbox Series X Will Bring HDR Support to Older, Backward-Compatible Games Like Halo 5

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Image: Microsoft

The Xbox Series X will be a real boon for older-generation Xbox titles, bringing faster loading times, higher and more stable frame rates, and resolutions up to 4K. But that’s not all: the backward compatibility in Microsoft’s next-generation console is so sophisticated that it will even add HDR to certain titles.

One of the games that will be blessed with high-dynamic range is 343 Industries’s Halo 5. Eurogamer – which was lucky enough to be invited to Redmond to get a first-hand look inside the Xbox Series X – met with Microsoft ATG principal software engineer Claude Marais, who showed the implementation off and confirmed that it’s the real deal, not “fake” HDR.

Image: Eurogamer

“It can be applied to all games theoretically, technically, I guess we’re still working through user experiences and things like that but this is a technical demo,” revealed Marais. “So this [Halo 5] is four years old, right, so let’s go to the extreme and jump to a game that is 19, 20 years old right now – and that is Fusion Frenzy. Back then there’s nothing known about HDR, no-one knew about HDR things. Games just used 8-bit back buffers.”

HDR support for an original Xbox title released in 2001 is crazy enough in itself, but it was even running on a 16x resolution multiplier. Eurogamer reiterated the fact that these improvements “extend across the entire Xbox Library.”

“But you can think of other things that we could do,” Marias adds. “Let’s look at accessibility. If you have people that cannot read well or see well, you probably want to enhance contrast when there’s a lot of text on-screen. We can easily do that. We talked to someone that’s colourblind this morning and that’s a great example. We just switch on the LUT and we can change colours for them to more easily experience the announcement there.”

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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