Two Years Later, Minecraft Still Doesn't Have Its Xbox One X Graphics Enhancements

Screenshot: Microsoft, YouTube

The Super Duper Graphics Pack for Minecraft was announced at E3 2017. Just over two years later, it’s still never been released, and there has been little news about the update’s progress.

Back in 2017, the team sounded optimistic. “Today we’re revealing a new look for Minecraft that we’re super duper excited for you to try out, one that’s inspired by the power of Xbox One X and available this fall,” said Mojang brand director Lydia Winters on stage at Microsoft’s press conference that year.

She was referring to the Super Duper Graphics Pack, an update that would allow Minecraft to run in 4K, as well as add new lighting effects and, on the Xbox One X at least, increase draw distances to make players’ worlds feel that much bigger.

While the Xbox One X came out as scheduled that fall, the Super Duper Graphics Pack did not. At MineCon later that year, the game’s studio announced it had been delayed until the following year.

“There’s a lot of work to be done still and we’re not going to be ready to launch it in 2017,” the company wrote on its website. “We’ll be releasing Super Duper next year, and we’ll have more information for you here on Minecraft.net soon.”

That information never came, though, leaving people to wonder about its fate to this day. Minecraft wasn’t featured prominently at E3 last year or this year, and while the game has received major updates in the last two years, including The Life Aquatic patch that added oceanic exploration and cross-play between Minecraft players on Xbox One, PC, mobile, and Switch, the 4K graphics showcased two years on the Xbox One X are still missing. Notably, it’s the only first-party game on the platform that still doesn’t have any Xbox One X enhanced features.

While there’s been no official update about what’s going on with the Super Duper Graphics Pack from Microsoft (which declined to comment for this story), developers at Mojang said at a MineCon Earth panel last October that the update was proving trickier than originally thought, requiring portions of the game engine to be overhauled.

This past March, community manager Helen Zbihlyj said on Twitter that there were only eight people working on the game’s new graphics engine, stressing what a monumental task this was given all of the platforms it needs to support, including VR. (Mojang did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Given those factors, it’s not surprising that the Super Duper Graphics Pack is taking so long. If anything, the surprising part is that Microsoft decided to make such a big deal out of the new Xbox One X enhanced update so early.

While a thread about the missing graphics pack blows up on the Xbox One subreddit every so often, fans recently poked fun at a now infamous tweet made by a user called ItsGam3r saying they planned to buy an Xbox One X just for Minecraft after seeing the trailer for the new graphics. “It’s going to be great for Minecraft fans,” the official Xbox twitter account had responded at the time. “If only he knew…” wrote someone reposting the exchange on Reddit.

“I never ended up actually buying an XB1X, lmao,” ItsGam3r told Kotaku in a DM. “Although it looked pretty sweet.”


Comments

    One of the most popular games created, bought by one of the largest software developersand owner of one of the major console hardware platforms... and they really seem to have done very little with the game.

    You would think they would release a major refresh, new engines, new services or Minecraft II.

      There have been six major updates since Microsoft took over five years ago, and the most recent patch update was a week and a half ago. This particular overhaul has unique challenges involved, as @death_au notes below, is all.

        1 Major update a year, still seems very aenemic to me considering the potential they had to push it further and throw a lot more resources at it to expand on it... that Minecraft Dungeon Crawler seemed to be the only genuine push the company has made to challenge themselves.

          Six major updates in five years on a title well past its sales peak is more than 99% of games put out, and that's accompanied by 26 minor updates. Since Microsoft purchased the property, the game has added underwater and end dungeons, shipwrecks and coral reefs, more than 215 new blocks, more than 50 new items including new weapons and equipment, more than 25 new mobs including a bunch of biome-variant mobs and a major villager overhaul, new biomes, game modes, minigames and worldgen types, elytra flight, new mechanics like stonecutting and composting, overhauled the combat system, replaced the old numeric ID system with a string-based one that completely removed block and item limits, and more.

          With respect, mate, if you think they've done 'very little' with the game or failed to challenge themselves, you don't know what you're talking about.

    Yeah, they thought they could just whip up some hi-res textures and decent-looking shaders, but when they did it probably brought even the One X to its knees. Then it slowly dawned on them just how much work it was to rewrite the entire graphics engine, piece by piece while not breaking anything on any of the myriad of platforms it's on.
    If you keep an eye on the patch notes, they have been making under-the-hood graphic overhaul changes pretty consistently with each update.

      That's basically what I was thinking, doesn't take much for Minecraft to turn in to a resource chomping monster.

    I wonder if they'll try again with the Xbox Project Scarlett? Would love to see them try something like the path-tracing shaders on PC.

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