After announcing a plan for a full overhaul Minecraft‘s visual engine in 2017, the developers of the game at Mojang have finally made it clear that the “Super Duper Graphics Pack” is no longer coming to the hugely popular sandbox game.
The update’s E3 2017 announcement had tongues wagging thanks to an incredible trailer, bathing the game’s familiar, blocky environment with a new dynamic shadow-and-light model, dim beams, screen space reflections, material-based lighting, and more. Consistent with its description as a “pack”, the update left the game’s raw assets untouched, making it resemble other existing “texture packs” found in modern Minecraft spell. All of this would even run in 4K resolution on supported hardware, Mojang said, promising a free launch by “fall 2017.”
Once that date passed, Mojang went all mummy about the pack’s existence until Monday. That’s when Mojang confirmed the project’s cancellation in a short, official blog post. In it, the company told fans, “Unfortunately, the package proved too technically demanding to implement as planned.” Rather than offer technical details, Mojang blamed the update’s issues on “how the package performed across devices”.
Thanks to this brief statement, we are compelled to read between the lines and remember that the Super Duper Graphics Pack was originally announced as a free update to Minecraft on Windows 10 and Xbox, as opposed to starving platforms like Nintendo Switch or smartphones. And we learned in December 2018 that Microsoft had officially finished supporting the game on Xbox 360 consoles. This may very well have been a pivotal stone in moving forward with “Xbox One-only” console support for the package.
So that “on different devices” line could very well point to the non-X version of Xbox One as a performance bottleneck. But neither Mojang nor Microsoft says.
Shortly after announcing the package in 2017, Microsoft introduced a Minecraft “beta test” channel through the Xbox One Insider channel. But that test version of the game never featured any hints of Super Duper Graphics Pack bonuses or even a jump to 4K resolution. However, that doesn’t mean Microsoft is done pushing Minecraft‘s limits on its existing platforms. Monday’s blog post featured a tease of some technical upgrade may come: “We are constantly trying to get the best out of the technical architecture of each [platform]† We’ll be able to share more on that topic soon.”
And with good news, some some of the graphics details of the Super Duper update seem to have found a home in the promising spin-off game Minecraft Dungeonsslated to launch sometime next year.
List image by Mojang / Sam Machkovech