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Inside Xbox One X Enhanced: Hitman

Many of gaming’s most compelling stories come from those who’ve helped to create our favorite Xbox One games. In our Inside Xbox One X Enhanced series, these creators will share the behind-the-scenes accounts of the work involved in enhancing these epic games for Xbox One X, how they’ve helped chart the course of the world’s most powerful console, and what that means for the future of gaming. Today, we’ll be chatting with IO Interactive’s Jonas Meyer, Lead Programmer on the intense action game Hitman: Game of the Year Edition.

What specifically is your development team doing to enhance Hitman for Xbox One X?

For Hitman on Xbox One X, we provide two different modes: “High Framerate” or “High Quality”. With High Quality, you get True Native 4K rendering, targeted at 30fps and we’re using the additional GPU power to render Higher Quality shadows. “High Framerate” targets 60fps, at a slightly lower internal resolution – but still renders a 4k image. Both modes use the extra memory of the console to store more high-resolution textures in memory, and has increased texture filtering quality.

How do these enhancements impact the gaming experience?

Using “High Quality” gives you the highest quality image, something only available on PC previously. Using High framerate gives you a super smooth 60fps experience. Whichever mode players choose, I’m sure that they will notice the enhancements that we’ve worked on.

Why did your development team choose to focus on these enhancement areas?

The extreme GPU power of the Xbox One X allows us to render much more at a much higher quality. For High framerate, it is something we’ve always wanted to do. 60fps games just feel a lot better. All locations in Hitman are extremely detailed and are created to immerse our players and the additional power that we could use on our Xbox One X version will show off the game world in an even better way.

How do you expect fans of Hitman will respond to seeing on Xbox One X with these enhancements?

I think people will love playing at the increased quality, and with the new content we have coming out, Xbox One X is definitely going to be the best place to play Hitman. Our lighting artists have recently done some great work on improving the existing locations and they look incredible in 4K and HDR. The skyboxes especially look really good.

How has the process been to get the game up and running on Xbox One X?

Getting everything up and running on Xbox One X was very easy. Increasing our render quality for the High Quality version was also easy, as we have assets from PC we can leverage. Hitting 60fps in High Framerate was quite challenging, but we managed to find a way to hit that 60 fps. Here’s how we did it: As the Hitman world simulation is very complicated, we were not able to optimize the simulation itself to run at 60fps, so instead we opted to double the number of rendered frames, and optimize the rendering instead. This means for every simulation tick, we render two frames, giving that smooth 60fps experience.

What enhancement were you most excited about to explore leveraging for Hitman on Xbox One X?

Definitely 60fps. Once the game is playing, its all about that smooth experience for me. One really nice thing is that both of the modes we support use supersampling, also when running on a 1080p screen, meaning that that even if users don’t have a 4K screen, they will still see the improved visuals.

What does 4K and HDR mean for your game, games in the future and development at your studio?

It means we can provide more pixels that look better. HDR is super interesting, as we’ll be able to continuously improve the quality of the pixels we send out.

Thanks to Jonas for taking the time to chat with us about Xbox One X Enhanced. We’ll be bringing you more interviews with more developers in the future, so stay tuned to Xbox Wire!