Today, I would like to showcase some improvements we’ve made to Outward on Xbox One. Yes, the game was released over two years ago, but even to this day I am ecstatic to say we still have a community of players who delve into the dungeons of Aurai and who are eagerly waiting for The Three Brothers, the second expansion to our open world RPG.
Outward was developed on PC by Nine Dots Studio, however it was Grip who initially took the technical challenge of porting this game to consoles. It was not an easy project. We wanted the players in split-screen to be able to move anywhere, and not tether them to always stay close. That meant loading the entirety of outdoor regions in the console’s memory, rather than loading the assets based on the player’s location, which explains why some of the textures were in lower resolution than what you are used to see in big productions. At release, there were complaints about the quality of graphics on Xbox compared to PC. No matter the context of development, those complaints were valid, and they were heard. There was a lot of effort on Grip’s part in patches to fix what they could in the following months.
After the release of The Soroboreans, our first expansion, we looked at the state of the console ports another time and concluded it could use another pass of improvements. So, we decided to bring a set of fresh eyes to the console ports. This new studio, Blitworks, certainly delivered!
Some loading times were diminished noticeably. For instance, the village of Cierzo on Xbox is about 5 seconds faster now than it was. But more noticeably, a lot of textures were increased in resolution, while still maintaining or in some cases improving the framerate. Outward was made on a very tight budget, so we never could aspire to the same graphical fidelity as AAA productions such as Gears of War or The Medium, however it is so satisfying for creators like us to see our games get a little bit closer with every optimization.
So, while we understand that the The Three Brothers DLC is taking a while to arrive on console, we believe that the overhaul in quality for the whole game is worth the wait. What’s more, this overhaul applies to the base game, so all players will benefit!
This patch is available today along with the The Three Brothers. We hope that this upgrade will bring players, old and new to discover the beauty and danger of Aurai. We are not letting Outward down after this, we even have plans for the new generation of consoles, so stay tuned!
Outward: The Three Brothers