One of the biggest benefits of all that power in the hardware is giving developers the ability to make games that are Xbox Series X|S Optimized. This means that they’ve taken full advantage of the unique capabilities of Xbox Series X|S, both for new titles built natively using the Xbox Series X|S 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|S and what that means for the future of gaming. Today, we’ll be chatting with Senior Producer at Rebellion Steve Archer about optimizing Zombie Army 4: Dead War for Xbox Series X|S.
Xbox Wire: “What excites you most about developing and bringing Zombie Army 4: Dead War to life on next-generation hardware?”
Steve Archer: Being able to bring the realistic 4K visuals at a smooth 60FPS. Prior to this new generation of Xbox consoles, we had to compromise visual quality to achieve 60FPS or we allow the player to keep the visual quality high but with a 30FPS cap. The pure power of this new generation of hardware allows us to remove that compromise; this is a big plus for our game and for our players.
Xbox Wire: In addition to benefiting from the power and performance of Xbox Series X|S for quicker load times etc. what Xbox Series X|S features were you most excited to explore leveraging in the development of Zombie Army 4: Dead War?
Steve Archer: Every console generation transition remains an exciting proposition after all my years in the games industry. I’m privileged to get hands on with new hardware and brainstorm with colleagues on how we can tackle this new beast. In the case of Zombie Army 4: Dead War, we considered the needs of our players and what we could do with the time we had available ahead of our target release date. The experience of playing in ZA4’s visually rich game world at 60FPS with super responsive controls can’t be underestimated. The consistent frame rate makes the action feels so smooth. And cross-generation saves ensure players can get back into the action seamlessly on whichever console generation they are playing on. This is the very start of our journey and we look forward to harnessing the newfound power and feature set this new generation gives us.
Xbox Wire: How will these enhancements impact a player’s experience with Zombie Army 4: Dead War?
Steve Archer: Coupled with the great audio that’s already in the original release, we hope the resolution and FPS increases will further immerse players into the game. The responsiveness 60FPS and 120FPS gaming gives the player over 30FPS is a huge benefit for a lot of players and you can really feel the difference when the zombie hordes ramp up – you will need all of your skills to fight your way out of that tight spot!
Xbox Wire: Why did your development team choose to focus on increased resolution and higher frame rates as enhancement areas for Zombie Army 4: Dead War?
Steve Archer: Based upon user feedback it was the obvious choice. Initially we were only going to support 4K at 60FPS, but when that went relatively smoothly, we started thinking about 120FPS. Being a producer I’m able to ask these questions of the team and they stepped up and delivered. The user base for 120Hz TV’s is relatively low now but because we are planning on long term support for ZA4, this helps to future proof the game in this area.
Xbox Wire: How do you expect fans of Zombie Army 4: Dead War will respond to playing it on Xbox Series X|S with these enhancements?
Steve Archer: As a package, the reduced load times from the SSD, the atmospheric visuals, booming explosions, and responsive controls gives the player an enhanced Zombie Army experience that is new to this generation of consoles. With the game now on Xbox Game Pass more players will get to experience the game for the first time which is very exciting for us.
Xbox Wire: What is it like developing on Xbox Series X|S?
Steve Archer: As soon as we decided we were going to do the Xbox Series X|S enhancements and we made resources available the project came together quickly. So far the experience has been great with Microsoft offering support when needed. At this stage we are just scratching at the surface of the consoles’ future potential. These initial enhancements put us in a great place going forwards as we continue to support Zombie Army 4 with additional content and quality of life improvements. Longer term, we look forward to incorporating these changes into the development of our future titles.
Xbox Wire: Which enhancement were you most excited about to explore leveraging for Zombie Army 4: Dead War on Xbox Series X|S?
Steve Archer: That’s a good question. Now that we’ve achieved our original goals, we’ll have to see what we can squeeze into this year’s roadmap before committing to anything publicly. The team I have a working extremely hard creating content for Season 3 which will be launching soon.
Xbox Wire: What does Xbox Series X|S development enable in current or future projects that you could not have achieved with the previous generation of consoles?”
Steve Archer: For me as a gamer, a title with zero loading screens and beautifully rendered environments is the end goal. Loading screens can be informative (a place to give tips to the player), but they break the storytelling and immersion of content you’re playing so hopefully they will be relegated to history.
Thank you, Steven, for taking the time to talk to us today. You can play Zombie Army 4: Dead War today on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One with Xbox Game Pass. You can also pick it up today for purchase on the Xbox Store. Stay tuned to Xbox Wire for future developer features with our Inside Xbox Series X|S Optimizes series.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War