Now that Microsoft owns Minecraft, it was unsurprising to see that the mega-popular block-building game featured during the company’s E3 2017 press conference.
Along with the announcement of the Minecraft cross-platform update, developer Mojang Studios also announced the Minecraft Super Duper Graphics pack. Available for free this fall, the graphical update will give the game a 4K HDR makeover that includes “improved lighting, shadows, water effects.”
It will also introduce new features including: dynamic shadows, lighting that streams through fog, movement in leaves and grass, new textures for mobs and villagers, directional lighting, edge highlighting and “more.” Mojang also describes the update as being like a “luxury massage.”
Mojang also states that the update will be available for players on Xbox One, Windows 10, VR, mobile devices and “essentially every platform” that will get the cross-platform Better Together update. This may well include the Nintendo Switch as this was also named during that update announcement. However, the announcement made no mention of the PlayStation 4. It would be no surprise if the update(s) skipped the Xbox rival given how much Microsoft paid to be in charge of the blocky game, but it will be a little disappointing for Minecraft players on PlayStation.
Understandably, there is a fear from some fans that Minecraft will lose its charm if it suddenly switches to its new 4K look. Mojang ensures players that the Super Duper Graphics update is “entirely optional.” The developer wanted to “take advantage of 4K gaming,” it says, as well as giving players a “whole new way to see the game,” but only if players choose it.
Admittedly, the Minecraft makeover will not be the main reason why people buy an Xbox One X, which has tremendous power and is designed for 4K gaming. But surely Microsoft will be encouraging this sort of thing from third-party development teams too. Having multi-platform games that look better on the Xbox One X is a great selling point for the console and the company.
When the Xbox One and the PS4 were first released, graphical fidelity was cited by many gamers as the reason they chose the Sony console over the Microsoft box. The Xbox One is still playing catch up in terms of sales but with updates like these and technology like that, it should be able to close the gap in no time.
Minecraft is available on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Wii U and Nintendo Switch.