Halo 5 Xbox One X Update Detailed by 343’s O’Connor; Higher Res Textures But Likely Limited HDR

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Sep 26, 2017
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343 Industries’ Halo franchise development director, Frank ‘Franky’ O’Connor, has provided some additional details about the upcoming Halo 5 Xbox One X update.

Halo 5’s Xbox One X update was announced by 343i back in July of this year, but other than that the game will support true 4K on Microsoft’s enhanced Xbox, no specific One X enhancements were detailed. On the NEOGAF forums, O’Connor, who goes by the name ‘Stinkles’, has now provided some additional details about Halo 5’s Xbox One X update. The contents of his post can be read below:

Yes you’re right. You’ll definitely see significant benefits from running on HDR sets, and of course the game itself renders in 4k and takes advantage of higher resolution textures (will be a serious download) and assets, but HDR specifically was tricky for a couple of reasons specific to H5 – the first being of course that it’s two years old and it’s not just a switch – you have to “touch” all the content. The game was developed during the period HDR systems were still being ironed out. Even now there’s a bunch of 10 bit/Dolby Vision etc issues for consumers.

This was largely resolved in time for Halo Wars 2, and so the HDR implementation for that will be full since the game was built from scratch to support it.

The second – and from my perspective more important aspect is that Halo in particular has color symmetry on level designs as an aspect of balance and matchmaking. One side is blue and one side is red, often in fairly subtle ways. We already balance for that difference and applying changes retroactively would be a test issue at a grander scale than many other games. So we made the choice to concentrate on other IQ aspects for the update.

Obviously that won’t be an issue for future titles, since they’ll be targeted for those systems in the first place and the art, test and design processes aligned.

And besides, it looks very pretty anyway.

There ARE methods for just blanket applying HDR to extant content, but the results are mixed and really dependent on what the underlying material looks like. So we developed for a conservative and safe outcome for that particular software.

Based on O’Connor’s answer, Halo 5 on Xbox One X won’t support real HDR, but TV screens that support the technique, will see some “significant” benefits. As expected, the Xbox One X will use higher resolution textures and assets.

More details about the Halo 5 Xbox One X update will likely be shared before the release of the Xbox One X on November 7th.

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