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 Eidos-Montreal Programming Director Frédéric Robichaud on the highly anticipated Shadow of the Tomb Raider which sees Lara Croft’s defining moment as she becomes the Tomb Raider.
What specifically is your development team doing to enhance Shadow of the Tomb Raider for Xbox One X?
To ensure that Shadow of the Tomb Raider looked crisp and amazingly polished on Xbox One X, we have worked incredibly hard to fully support HDR mode. We’ve revamped the entire pipeline to be HDR from the get go: realistic lights intensity calibration, HDR textures and global illumination energy conservation.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, we offer two modes for players: High Resolution and High Framerate mode. With the GPU power of the Xbox One X, we were able to get 4K at a constant 30 FPS and with the CPU boost, we are targeting 60 FPS with full HD (1080p) in High Framerate mode.
We’ve been able to improve the quality of certain algorithms on the Xbox One X like stochastic screen-space reflections and atmospheric effects. With the extra memory, we have increased the shadow maps and texture resolution to enhance the visual quality.
Audio wise, we are fully supporting Dolby Atmos to create real 3D audio immersion.
How do these enhancements impact the gaming experience, and why did your development team choose to focus on these enhancement areas?
The recent Tomb Raider games are known for their high quality graphics and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, as the final entry in the origin trilogy, pushes the visual boundaries more than ever before. Supporting 4K was mandatory for us. Players that do not own a 4K TV will still see the visual improvements, mostly with less aliasing and more details in the image.
If the player chooses the High Framerate mode, they will enjoy the fluidity and reactivity of the controls in a seamless gameplay experience.
The audio immersion is perfect with Dolby Atmos, especially in the jungle areas which are dense with wildlife like the locusts below and birds above. Spatial audio is best experienced with a home theater system; however, all players will still hear those effects and an overall increase in audio fidelity.
How do you expect fans of Shadow of the Tomb Raider will respond to playing it on Xbox One X with these enhancements?
Those playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the Xbox One X will be blown away by the visual quality in High Resolution mode or the fluidity if they choose the High Framerate mode. Players will not want to go back to the previous generation of consoles!
What enhancement were you most excited about to explore leveraging for Shadow of the Tomb Raider on Xbox One X?
Without a doubt, High Framerate mode. Maximizing the CPU power to target 60 FPS with a huge, living crowd like in the Cozumel café or Paititi was an interesting challenge. A lot of optimization to our engine was done to achieve these stunning results.
What does 4K and HDR mean for your game, games in the future and development at your studio?
We completely revamped our pipeline to integrate HDR from the beginning of production. Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks more real and better than ever before because of 4K and HDR. Better resolution, less aliasing, more intensity and more nuance. We hope that players are blown away by the visual fidelity of the most recent edition to the Tomb Raider franchise.
It is only the beginning; 4k and HDR will become standard to all the games, especially when all developers begin to follow a common HDR standard.
Thanks to Frédéric for taking the time to chat with us about Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which releases on September 14. We’ll bring you more interviews with more developers in the future, as well as more on Shadow of the Tomb Raider, so stay tuned to Xbox Wire!