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Xbox Series X Backwards Compatibility Makes Witcher 3 Fast Travel Instant


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A new gif shows how incredibly swift fast travel is in The Witcher III when it's running on the Xbox Series X. Microsoft's brand new console is set to release about a week from now, after a torturously long development cycle that was considerably impacted by COVID-19. Xbox head Phil Spencer does not believe that supply will be able to meet demand for the new console, but several lucky players who already got their preorders in are surely chomping at the bit to get their hands on the machine.

One next-gen bonus that's been a factor of advertising for both the Series X and its competitor the PlayStation 5 is loading times. Both companies are boasting that their new machines will have the power to eradicate load times almost completely, getting fans into the action without a second's delay. Both companies have already provided multiple examples of this powerful new function, and the results are hard to deny. For instance, Microsoft released an earlier video showing the Series S, the smaller, digital counterpart to the Series X, loading The Outer Worlds in eleven seconds, while its predecessor the Xbox One S takes almost a full minute to load into the same game at the same point.

Xbox's newest example was posted to the Xbox News Twitter account, and uses iconic open-world RPG The Witcher 3, which wasn't even optimized for the next-gen hardware. Fans could watch Geralt fast travel from one part of the map to the other in seconds; in fact, the transition was so fast that for a second the game struggled to render the world properly. Xbox News explains that this is because, under normal circumstances, the game would put in a loading screen, and then load the game. But thanks to the Series X's SSD, the game actually loads in faster than the loading screen does, resulting in a split second of awkward, glitchy graphics before the game resumes as normal.


There's been a lot of big talk about the next generation representing the end of loading screens. But this is one of the first examples of a next-gen console actually removing a loading screen from a game entirely, and for that reason, it's pretty significant. The unfinished appearance of the game, which would usually be hidden behind the loading screen that wasn't fast enough, will probably be a small price for most gamers to pay for the ability to stay in the game with almost no interruptions.

If this is the performance of an unoptimized current-gen game on the Xbox Series X, one can only wonder how swiftly games that were designed for the new hardware will load. Game Informer has already seen Kena: Bridge Of Spirits load in from the PS5 menu in just two seconds, and that's surely only the tip of the iceberg. If the next generation can deliver this kind of performance consistently, then fans will have a lot to look forward to, either on PS5 or on Xbox Series X.
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