1080p resolution with better framerates and loading times too.
Microsoft has revealed the first 13 backwards-compatible original Xbox games for Xbox One to IGN – several of which we got to play. These first 13 will be available tomorrow, October 24. All are enhanced with 1080p resolution, higher and/or smoother framerates, and faster loading times.
These are the first 13 games you can play on any Xbox One if you own the title, beginning tomorrow:
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Ninja Gaiden Black
- Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
- Fuzion Frenzy
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
- Dead to Rights
- Grabbed by the Ghoulies
- Sid Meier’s Pirates!
- Red Faction II
- BloodRayne 2
- The King of Fighters Neowave
If you still have your original Xbox disc, just insert it into your Xbox One console. If you own it digitally, that will also work. Many of these games can also be purchased from the Xbox Store in digital form for $9.99.
Above: A comparison between Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic running on the original Xbox versus it running on an Xbox One.
For titles that support System Link multiplayer, it still works – even across the Xbox family.
For titles that support System Link multiplayer, it still works – even across the Xbox family. I got to play a four-player round of Crimson Skies, with me on the original Xbox, another person on an Xbox One X, another on an Xbox One S, and the fourth on a launch Xbox One. Online multiplayer is not supported, however, as servers for original Xbox games were shut down years ago.
I also got to play a bit of Star Wars: KOTOR, Ninja Gaiden Black, and Fuzion Frenzy. All three looked clearer and crisper than ever thanks to no longer being restricted to 480p (or for many at the time, 480i) resolution. Most still run in their original 4:3 aspect ratios, though Ninja Gaiden Black natively supports 16:9 widescreen so it looks particularly modern.
Above: A comparison between Fuzion Frenzy running on the original Xbox versus it running on an Xbox One.
“This detail has always been there, but the technology of the day was holding it back,” said Xbox principal software engineer Eric Heutchy as he pointed out the orange bill and black outline now clearly visible in 1080p on a duck icon in Fuzion Frenzy’s “Twisted System” minigame. “Forgive the clunky tutorial start,” KOTOR lead designer James Ohlen told IGN with a laugh when asked what advice he’d have for players trying KOTOR for the first time. “It’s definitely a product of his time.”
As for what original Xbox games will be brought forward next, the team is being careful to keep expectations in check – though they have a good reason. “A curated list of key games was the way to go with this,” Xbox platform lead Bill Stillwell told IGN, noting that many original Xbox game publishers either don’t exist anymore, or the contracts are missing (because they were done on actual paper!), or there’s a licensing issue with a particular song, etc. As such, while it might be technically possible for Microsoft to make them compatible with Xbox One, it might be legally impossibly or unfeasible.
Above: Another comparison between Fuzion Frenzy running on the original Xbox versus it running on an Xbox One.
For much more on backwards compatibility, don’t miss the report on our day with the compatibility team at Microsoft to talk about why and how they did this, as well as the just-announced Xbox One X-specific enhancements for four high-profile Xbox 360 games.
Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews and Xbox Guru-in-Chief. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.