New Xbox: A Nostalgic Title Is the Face of Project Scarlett's Spec Upgrades
Microsoft’s strategy for Xbox Project Scarlett is to strike the perfect balance between old and new: bleeding edge technology paired with beloved legacy titles that will stoke gamer nostalgia. To that end, the gaming giant has already announced that the next-generation system arriving in fall 2020 will arrive alongside a new installment of the Xbox’s most iconic title.
The title in question is Halo Infinite — the sixth main entry to the series — and which will be released 19 years after the original Halo: Combat Evolved came out with the first Xbox. Fans of the first-person shooter will get the chance to relive the same excitement they felt unboxing their first Xbox, and immediately assuming the role of super-solider Master Chief battling across a galaxy of alien planets.
In a recent interview, a Microsoft-exec also shed further light about how Scarlett’s specs will elevate the game to compete in a new landscape awash with emerging technologies like virtual reality and cloud streaming.
Microsoft revealed that the console will launch with a custom-designed CPU, a GPU that supports ray-tracing, and a solid-state drive (SSD). This combination of next-gen hardware will make Halo Infinite more lifelike than any of its predecessors. Plus Head of Microsoft Game Studios, Matt Booty, said the console could solve one of open-world gaming’s biggest annoyances.
“Start to think about things like bringing a bigger density of life to a world,” he told Eurogamer. “Think about not having to create artificial design things to mask some of the limitations of the hardware and just bring things off of the SSD as fast as they’re needed on screen.”
The new Xbox’s will replace the older console’s hard disk drive with an SSD. SSDs don’t have any moving parts, an innovation that allows them to to load game assets at blazing fast speeds, which means fewer loading screens and smoother game-play.
SSDs solve a huge problem with open-world games, which is that as players move through vast, open-world scenarios, the console needs to constantly pull assets at the flick of a button, depending on where the character moves. When it can’t keep up with the player, games can begin to “hitch,” or drop frames, and lag as the hard drive retrieves and loads a new game zone.
All current-generation consoles use HDDs, which struggle to keep up with game loading on a major scale. SSDs are expected to vastly improve the experience, and early tests have suggested they are already four times faster at reading and writing data than HDDs on average.
Breathtaking graphics need to be complemented by snappy load times, especially in FPS games, like Halo Infinite, where precision and accuracy are paramount of every mission.
The new chapter of the series won’t only revive the main storyline of the series five years after Halo 5: Guardians, it will also be the best Master Chief has ever looked and felt.