Minecraft's highly anticipated Super Duper Graphics Pack has been canceled. Mojang confirmed Monday morning that development of the visual upgrade DLC for Minecraft has been ended. The Super Duper pack "proved too technically demanding to implement as planned," resulting in Mojang canceling development rather than trying to force the issue. The Super Duper Graphics Pack was originally announced for release in fall 2017.
Mojang would go on to explain that the decision comes despite a lot of enthusiasm for the Super Duper pack at the studio. With the pack now two years late from the originally announced release date, Mojang clearly put a lot of effort into trying to make it happen. Sometimes there's just nothing that can be done.
"We aren't happy with how the pack performed across devices" is the last word on the issue, implying that hardware limitations are the root cause of the problem. Mojang had previously explained after a release delay that the "graphics part of our engine was ... not built for this." The pack was said to work well on high-level PCs and Xbox One X, but it didn't work right on other platforms.
The Super Duper Graphics Pack was announced in 2017 as an optional visual upgrade for the console and Windows 10 version of Minecraft. It was planned to offer significantly enhanced shadows and lighting, as well as new textures for mobs and villagers. The initial announcement trailer showed off just how impressive the Super Duper Graphics Pack would be, featuring directional lighting being filtered through fog and onto water in an impressive fashion. It was so impressive that many at the time couldn't imagine it working on console hardware. Unfortunately, those worries were correct.
While today's news from Mojang carries a somber tone, there is a hopeful note as well. Mojang says that while the Super Duper pack is canceled, the team is looking into other ways for players to experience Minecraft with a "new look." The Mojang team also drops this very interesting teaser:
"Minecraft is available on a wide range of platforms, and we’re constantly trying to make the most of the technical architecture of each one. We’ll be able to share more on that subject very soon."
Upgrading the architecture in Minecraft would be a surprising and hugely significant step for the game. It's the kind of thing you'd expect for a sequel. That's not to say that Mojang is hinting at a next-gen Minecraft 2 or anything like that. When you have a game as wildly successful as Minecraft, splitting the support base with a sequel isn't always the most optimal solution. However, Microsoft could absolutely release an updated version of Minecraft specifically for PC, Project Scarlett, and even Xbox One X that still works with older versions of the game.
Perhaps Minecraft fans should expect further news at an upcoming event or convention. Three events, in particular, stand out: Gamescom 2019 starts August 20, Minecon 2019 starts September 28, and X019 will be in November.
Minecraft is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, mobile devices, and other platforms.