“Dem graphix” — a very common tease made by gamers who criticize other gamers who only seem to care about the graphical fidelity of a title. I’ve seen it countless times, and while I do agree that the visuals of a game aren’t everything, pretty graphics are still impressive nonetheless.
But, there are sometimes titles which don’t push any graphical boundaries and still end up being huge successes. A textbook example is Minecraft, which typically looks like something from the early age of 3D games back in the 80s and 90s. Despite that, in a quest to raise the bar, back in 2017, the game’s developers showed off a trailer which demonstrated the Super Duper Graphics Pack. The pack was set to be a graphical enhancement for Minecraft that would bring its visuals up to a standard that would be more fitting for a modern title. Much hasn’t been said since that initial announcement two years ago, and now we know why—because it’s been canceled.
In a post made on the official Minecraft website, the devs have announced that the Super Duper Graphics Pack has been canceled due to it proving to be “too technically demanding to implement as planned.” The team was also “[not] happy with how the pack performed across devices.” Due to this, development has ceased.
Hope for the future?
It’s not all doom-and-gloom, however. In the same post, the team promises that they are “looking into other ways for you to experience Minecraft with a new look.” Mojang did not elaborate further as to what exactly that means. Could it be texture reskins? A less “super-duper” bump in graphical quality? Only time will tell. In the meantime, PC users can still enjoy something similar, as they’ve already been doing so for several years. Here’s an example:
optifine in java: pic.twitter.com/MZOsWh5Yj8
— ItzDannio25 (@ItzDannio25) August 12, 2019
If you’re thinking to yourself: “How on Earth could Minecraft have trouble running?!”, keep in mind that Minecraft recently became a fully cross-platform title. Each version of Minecraft (minus the PS4, Vita, Wii U and 3DS versions) fall under the ‘Bedrock Edition’ label. This is a single platform that allows cross-support, such as Xbox One and Switch players playing alongside with one another, and even mobile users. As a result, an update to the game needs to be compatible across all devices.
That being the case, it’s likely that more powerful devices like the Xbox One X had little to no trouble running Minecraft with the Super Duper Graphics Pack enabled, but the same couldn’t be said for something like a modest Android phone. Even the Switch may have had trouble with it as its rendering capabilities are already noticeably more limited than the other modern consoles. All-in-all, it looks like this was just a matter of over-ambition on Mojang’s part. Though, sometimes plans simply have to change even if a lot of effort is put into trying to work issues out. Considering that there’s been two years of silence, it seems to indicate that Mojang was likely trying very hard but wasn’t making enough progress to share with the public until now.