Inside Xbox One X Enhanced: Anthem

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 Scott Neumann, Head of Technology for Anthem at BioWare about enhancing this title for Xbox One X.

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

The Anthem team has been able to leverage the power of the Xbox One X to deliver enhanced graphics to our players. The added GPU power of this console allows Anthem to render at native 4K and with HDR. To complement the increased image quality of 4K, we have also increased the resolution at which we render shadows in the game, and we have enhanced the rendering of in-game terrain. Finally, the added memory of the Xbox One X allows us to increase the number of meshes and textures we stream into the player’s view at any given moment.

How do these enhancements impact the gaming experience?

The world of Anthem is dangerous and exciting. The enhancements we’ve been able to make on the Xbox One X affords our players a more immersive experience. The improvements in image quality really help showcase the beautiful world our team has created. HDR support is particularly impactful when a group of javelins starts engaging in heavy combat.

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

Delivering the artistic vision of Anthem to players was a focal point for our team. We experimented with several things and ultimately felt that the enhancements enumerated above were a natural fit for the added horsepower of the Xbox One X.

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

Once players see Anthem running on the Xbox One X, it becomes apparent that this is one of the best ways to experience it. No other console can handle the improvements to image fidelity while also rendering at native 4K. Anthem is quite stunning when played on Xbox One X.

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

The Xbox One X has been a great console to work with. The development tools are very good, and they really help the team solve the challenging problems that invariably arise when you make a game as complex as Anthem. We’ve also had a great relationship with the team at Microsoft, and they’ve been very supportive. The combination of those factors makes working on the Xbox One X a great experience.

What enhancements were you most excited about to explore leveraging for Anthem on Xbox One X?

Having the option to allow Anthem to support native 4K and HDR rendering is simply amazing.  In the very early days of getting Anthem running on the Xbox One X, the first test we did was to run a simple game level at native 4K resolution. That level consisted of a javelin flying around an empty box. That may not sound thrilling, but we were really excited by the results! The team immediately decided to push native 4K as our target on the Xbox One X.

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

It’s extremely important for BioWare that we use technology to enhance how players interact with our worlds and experience our stories. Having our games support both 4K and HDR is an important component of our ability to succeed in that. The difference between 1080p and 4K is substantial and allows for our players to see all the detail we painstakingly craft into our games. Similarly, HDR allows the games rendered images to burst into life with vibrant colors.  We will continue to look for ways to leverage emerging technologies to make the best games possible.

We’d like to thank Scott for taking the time to chat with us about Anthem, which releases on February 22. Can’t wait to climb into a javelin of your very own and rocket across the skies? Join EA Access and start your 10-hour Anthem trial today. Stay tuned to Xbox Wire for more Inside Xbox One X Enhanced series features as well as the latest Xbox news.