The Medium Hero

Inside Xbox Series X Optimized: The Medium

When it launches this holiday, Xbox Series X will be the most powerful console the world has ever seen.

One of the biggest benefits of all that power is giving developers the ability to make games that are Xbox Series X Optimized. This means that they’ve taken full advantage of the unique capabilities of Xbox Series X, both for new titles built natively using the Xbox Series X development environment as well as previously released titles that have been rebuilt specifically for the console. In our Inside Xbox Series X Optimized series, these creators will share the behind-the-scenes accounts of how they’re optimizing their titles for Xbox Series X and what that means for the future of gaming. Today, we’ll be chatting with Jacek Zięba, Producer at Bloober Team about optimizing The Medium for Xbox Series X.

Q: “What excites you most about developing and bringing The Medium to life on next-generation hardware?”

A: The simple answer is that thanks to the next-generation hardware, we can realize our vision for The Medium at all. Of course, theoretically, you could rescope any game idea, but in our case it would mean completely changing the core game features.

Thanks to the power of Xbox Series X, we can develop the game the way we have always envisioned it. I’m not talking only about graphics, although certainly it helps create an immersive and disturbing atmosphere, but also about gameplay.

Q: In addition to benefiting from the power and performance of Xbox Series X for quicker load times etc. what Xbox Series X features were you most excited to explore leveraging in the development of The Medium?

A: The SSD and how it allows for no noticeable loading times is certainly a big deal for us. Thanks to it, you can create a more cinematic and atmospheric experience, and keep the player immersed in the game – with no immersion-breaking loading screens.

Also, the sheer power of the CPU and GPU lets you go a bit crazy with your gameplay ideas, and we believe the new hardware will quickly change how games are being designed.

Q: How will these enhancements impact a player’s experience with The Medium?

A: We’re putting a lot of effort into creating a heavy, disturbing atmosphere in the game. We’re using a variety of means to immerse the player into both our worlds, including music and environment, and thanks to no loading screens these methods are so much more effective. Before, it was a bit of an uphill battle to keep the game immersive and cinematic despite obvious breaks, and now the next generation simply makes that problem go away.

Q: Why did your development team choose to focus on 4K resolution and DirectX Raytracing as enhancement areas for The Medium?

A: These are the features that fits our game and its genre the best. The 4K resolution helps us showcase the art style and environment of the real and the spirit world, while Ray-tracing will add to the atmosphere of the game. In other words, these features make the game’s strengths shine even brighter.

Q: How do you expect fans of The Medium will respond to playing it on Xbox Series X with these enhancements?

A: I hope they will love it 🙂 Unlike many cross-gen titles revealed so far, The Medium is a next-gen only game. We don’t have any porting plans for current-gen consoles, so the Xbox Series X will offer the experience we always meant for the game.

Q: What is it like developing on Xbox Series X?

A: It’s really exciting to be one of the first studios developing for Xbox Series X. This is truly a great piece of hardware, one that enables us to realize our vision of the game without compromises. I can’t wait for the fans to see what the console is really capable of.

Q: Which enhancement were you most excited about to explore leveraging for The Medium on Xbox Series X?

A: We’re heavily using the CPU and GPU for the interactions between the real world and the spirit world. We have still much to reveal about The Medium, including one of our core gameplay features. The marketing team will kill me if I say too much too soon, but we’re using the extra power to really push what’s possible gameplay-wise on the next generation, and I simply can’t wait for players’ reactions.

Q: What does Xbox Series X/next-generation development enable in current or future projects that you could not have achieved with the current generation of consoles?

A: As in the example with loading times, the next generation removes obstacles that until now consumed development time and resources. Now developers can devote more attention to creative gameplay. I also strongly believe that as we see more games developed specifically for the new generation, genuine breakthroughs and innovations will shortly follow.