Microsoft expands its archive of backward compatible games with four enhanced Xbox 360 titles. Fans can now enjoy The Witcher 2, Crackdown, Fable Anniversary, and Forza Horizon in high resolution.
Announced and released in 2015, the Xbox backwards compatibility program has been steadily adding titles dating all the way back to the original Xbox for play on the Xbox One system. This endeavor was expanded with the release of the Xbox One X. With more powerful hardware to go with ultra-high resolution displays, Microsoft began offering ‘enhanced’ versions of popular past titles. These enhanced Xbox 360 titles are modified to run at a higher resolution without otherwise impacting the game code. The most recent additions are 2011’s RPG The Witcher 2, 2007’s open-world action Crackdown, 2013’s remastered Fable Anniversary, and 2012’s racing spin-off Forza Horizon.
Backwards compatibility is a noble endeavor. Archiving and preserving past Xbox titles to be enjoyed on the current generation is never a bad idea. Enhanced titles initially irritated my purist side. The idea of retouching past games felt almost sacrilegious. The movie industry has tried it, and it wasn’t very impressive.
I realized it’s really only a matter of the progress of technology. 4K resolution was rare even just a few years ago, and the technology to render computer generated images in real time at that level weren’t exactly widely available. So studios just didn’t, or couldn’t, make games to be seen in that much detail. Therefore, updated resolutions of older games would be required to prevent these relics from becoming visually unintelligible when displayed through powerful modern hardware.