For all of the performance woes Fallout 4 is suffering from, particularly with the console versions, it seems fairly ironic that Fallout 3 is a standout title for the Xbox One’s Xbox 360 backwards compatibility.
It’s not a completely clean run for the new functionality granted by the latest Xbox One dashboard update, with a number of titles suffering adverse effects or poor performance under the emulated environment, but there are other titles that run perfectly fine.
For Fallout 3 specifically, the improvements garnered are a smoother experience, for the most part at least, lacking the frame rate dips the game saw running on the older hardware; it completely lacks the screen tearing originally present on the game; and you get all of the perks (pun intended) afforded to Xbox One games.
Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry ran both games in a head-to-head comparison, and their included video demonstrates how good a job of emulating the Xbox 360 environment the Xbox team have done… in Fallout 3’s case at least.
That said, it might not be emulation at all. It certainly is to some extent, but it seems that for the most part Microsoft has recompiled each individual game’s code into Xbox One applicable code and away you go.
The game still runs at 30 fps, like the original release, but should still offer a superior experience. It even allows you to use your original Xbox 360 saved games. All you need do is make sure your save games are stored in the cloud and your Xbox One will be granted access to them.
The backwards compatibility route the Xbox team is taking would explain the time it takes to release games to the library.
“The Xbox team itself seems to be recompiling the original PowerPC code to run on the x64 AMD Jaguar cores integrated inside Xbox One. This revised code is then bundled with the original game assets, along with x64-based versions of the Xbox 360 OS itself,” said Digital Foundry.
We imagine that once a good number of the more popular titles are successfully emulated and available for the public to play, the team will go back to the games that are performing less than ideally and tweak the virtual machine system governing them, so to provide a better experience.
Either way, it’s additional value with no extra cost for the consumer. It’s a win/win.