Inside Xbox One X Enhanced: Below

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 Nathan Vella, Co-founder & President at Capybara Games about enhancing Below for Xbox One X.

What specifically is your development team doing to enhance Below for Xbox One X (textures, draw, framerate, resolution)?

The big ticket enhancement for Xbox One X is our native 4K / 60fps support.

And although it’s not as sexy as 4K, we’ve been able to make some changes to help load a bit faster on Xbox One X.

How do these enhancements impact the gaming experience (visuals, performance)?

Below is a game with a very specific perspective and visual treatment to match. You’re a series of small warriors entering the dark depths of an island, filled with procedurally-generated single-screen levels. As you can imagine, having more pixels and clearer colors can really help a game with a perspective and look like ours

4K does cool things like accentuate the blades of grass on the island surface or in the caves. It lets you see minute details of the tiny wanderers outfits, highlights on their weapons, and so on. It doesn’t make the game better than playing in 1080p, but it does help you see more of the details we intended.

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

If we boil it down to its essence: 4K / 60fps is one of the key features that players want out of the Xbox One X. We wanted to put in the work to meet that desire from our Xbox One X-owning fans.

It is an enhancement that you can see and feel the most in our game. Whether its a field of gently swaying grass or shadowy creatures emerging from blackness, 4K definitely makes them shine and pop.

How do you expect fans of Below will respond to seeing/playing it on Xbox One X with these enhancements?

We were lucky to have the opportunity to let fans experience 4K/60fps Below at PAX East in Boston recently. The response was super positive even though a trade show is not the ideal surroundings for playing a game like Below.

What/how has the process been to get the game up and running on Xbox One X?

The original Xbox One X upgrade of our engine and the game itself took about a week to get up and running at 4k with higher frame rates than the Xbox One. Beyond that it was lots of optimization and tweaking. We’re blessed with a game that has an art style conducive to a 4K upgrade without having to redo tons of artwork specifically for 4K.

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

To be honest, we didn’t give much thought at all to 4K in the beginning. We had discussed it, but with a bunch of gameplay work left we wanted to focus on that. Then, one day we come in and our Tech Lead Bryan McConkey asked me for a 4K monitor to test his implementation. So, we didn’t have much time to get excited since Bryan just did the work.

But honestly, it is exciting as heck to play the game in 4K on our gorgeous 60” LG C7 – especially after working on it for years in 1080p on monitors.

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

Features like 4K are really just enhancements. They don’t make the game itself better, and never will… But if you have the Xbox One X and a TV that supports it, you can play this “special” version of the game we made just for you. That’s pretty cool to us.

Seeing how excited people get about 4K/60, we’ll definitely consider adding it to all our future Xbox games… after we finally ship Below this year, of course.

Thanks to Nathan 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!