The True Next-Gen Game is still rarely AF

A snowboarder jumps out of a kicker and performs a nose grip in the seat belt on a Bluebird Day in Shredders, a rare Xbox Series X-exclusive game.

Screenshot: FoamPunch

The demarcation between console generations is more muddy than ever. Microsoft’s two next-generation machines, the Xbox Series X and the slightly lower-powered Xbox Series S, have been out for about a year and a half. In that time, you can count the number of genuine next-generation Xbox games on one hand. The rare qualification: Shredders.

Shredders, developed by FoamPunch and released last month for the Xbox Series X / S and PC (but especially not for the Xbox One) is a snowboarding game focused on repeating how it actually feels to get on the slopes. (Think Skate but for snowboarding.) Even though it’s a small game made by a small team, with some minor visual compromises you would expect, it still required the horsepower of a next-generation console. It’s for one simple reason: frame rate.

“This kind of game needs 60 fps to run properly, or 50 at least, which would be possible, for example on [an Xbox] An X, ”said FoamPunch’s Dirk Van Welden Kotaku in a recent interview. “On a One S, with that amount of memory, you already have to start giving a lot of visual stuff away, otherwise you do not have the same frame rate and the game would feel different.”

It’s actually hard to imagine what Shredders would play at a frame rate lower than the one it currently has. For the most part, the game maintains a solid frame rate, though in the game’s Scary Dairy area – which is based on a real world snowboard location, by the way – it falls especially. But otherwise Shredders is as smooth as the butter you can tread in the game.

“Microsoft wanted it to be on Xbox One as well,” Van Welden said, noting that FoamPunch chose not to develop a version for that platform. “It was our decision. It was never Xbox’s decision.”

Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication, but a reluctance to go all-in on the current generation of consoles is in lockdown with the company’s stated plans. In 2020 Microsoft’s Matt Booty said the company planned to release across generations in the first year or two after the Xbox Series X / S ‘launch in November of that year. At the time, Xbox boss was Phil Spencer recognized to Kotaku that requesting developers to optimize games for machines with two separate sets of technical specifications could increase the workload.

For the most part, though, throughout the Xbox Series X’s lifetime, games have been released across console generations.

A driver drives a car through a lake in Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Series X.

Of course, cross-gen games like Forza Horizon 5 both look better and load faster on next-generation consoles.
Screenshot: Microsoft / Kotaku

Around the launch of the console, instead of a lineup rooted in any marquee exclusivity, Microsoft instead chose to promote around 30 games that were “optimized for the Xbox Series X / S”, meaning they have higher frame rates and sharper images than their last generation. counterparties. It has that list since grown to include more than 120 games. Blockbusters like Halo infinite and Forza Horizon 5 released on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X / S. (Both broke records in their respective series.) The Game Pass LibraryMicrosoft’s hugely popular game-on-demand subscription service is constantly being built out of a lot of games across generations every two weeks.

But a few select games have only been the next generation. In January 2021, the Bloober Team released The mediuma horror game, like an exclusive Xbox Series X / S, referring to the power of a next-generation console as a necessity to reproduce its dual worlds simultaneously. (The medium is now available on PlayStation 5 also, but not PlayStation 4.) There’s Phigames’ moody metroidvania, Recompile, available on Xbox Series X / S and PS5. For its console port, Microsoft Flight Sim was only made available to the next generation.

Shredders is the latest member of this exclusive class. Compared to previous generations, it is a smaller class than ever.

Take Xbox One, for example. One and a half years into its cycle, the list of games available on the Xbox One, but not its predecessor, the Xbox 360, was a far more robust list of true next-gen-only games, including but not limited to Ori and the blind forest, Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Dying light, Evolve, Halo: Master Chief Collection, Shake: Son of Romeand the criminally neglected Sunset Overdrive.

During the first year and a half of the PS5, its range of genuine exclusive products is a bit larger than the Series X / Ss, but not much. It includes Destruction AllStars (REST IN PEACE), Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Returna remake of Demons’ soulsand Astro’s Legerum. A next generation launch title, Gudfald, was backported to PS4 half a year after release. Funnily enough, two of the biggest newer PS5 exclusives, Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, was (technically) released by Microsoft. (Both are also available on PC.) But even Sony’s biggest first-party games, e.g. Horizon forbidden west, Spider-Man: Miles Moralesand Gran Turismo 7, launched for both PS4 and PS5. They waited terribly God of War Ragnarökscheduled for later this year will also be released across console generations.

However, the transition period seems to be coming to a close as Microsoft looks set to leave the Xbox One. Throughout the rest of the year, some of the company’s most promoted games—Starfield, Redness, Mockand STALKER 2—Is scheduled for Xbox Series X / S, but not Xbox One. These are in addition to a number of third party multiplatform games like Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and A Plague Tale: Requiem only planned for next generation machines. Good enough, the Xbox Series X is easier to buy these days. Well, such a one.