is getting a next-gen upgrade for Xbox Series X, and it will be available free to existing owners via the new Smart Delivery system when the new console launches later this year.Talking to Digital Foundary, Coalition tech director Mike Raynor said an “optimised” version of Gears 5 will be “available at launch on Xbox Series X.”He adds “The title will support Smart Delivery, so if you already have the title in whatever form you’ll be able to get it on Series X for free.”
The Coalition currently has a working next-gen version of Gears 5 that it produced in two weeks. Working with Epic Games, the studio has upped all of the quality presets of the console version to be equivalent to the PC’s ‘ultra’ settings. The team has also added improved contact shadows and software-based ray tracing, as well as improving the frame rate of the cutscenes (up to 60fps from the Xbox One’s 30fps). This has all been achieved in a fortnight, and reportedly runs akin to a PC with an expensive Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card, despite being currently optimised.
The great news about all this is that the improved version of Gears 5 will be available free thanks to Smart Delivery. This new system from Microsoft means any Smart Delivery supported game in your library from current-gen will be automatically available in its next-gen version for free when playing on an Xbox Series X. It’s effectively ‘forwards compatibility’, for lack of a better term.
Interestingly Raynor says that Smart Delivery will be available “if you already have the title in whatever form”, which suggests that perhaps even PC Gears 5 owners will be able to access the Series X version should they invest in the console.
For more, check out the newly revealed Xbox Series X specs, which reveal not only every internal hardware specification, but also the mystery behind that strange slot on the back of the console.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer. You can follow him on Twitter.