Back at E3 2017, Microsft showed off what was going to be the next major update for Minecraft. Called the Super Duper Graphics Pack, the update would significantly improve the visual assets of the game and add a new dimension to the blocky universe.
Unfortunately, the graphics pack has been canceled and will never be released. Posting on the Minecraft blog, Microsoft has indicated that the update is “too technically demanding to implement as planned” and has been canceled.
Further, the company says that they were not happy with the performance across devices for this update, leading to it being scrapped. Considering this pack was announced as a way to showcase the power of Scorpio (Xbox One X) and that it will now never see the light of day, to say it’s disappointing, is a bit of an understatement.
This update would have brought to Minecraft features such as volumetric lighting, enhanced water, and reflective textures, dynamic shadows, edge highlighting, and a lot more.
While we may not ever know the full reason why this pack was pulled, it may have been a project that simply took too long to develop for low-end consoles. When you look at what the features the update would have provided, it’s not hard to see that the original Xbox would have likely struggled to run the update and if the pack wouldn’t work on all Xbox versions, the risk of splitting the Xbox userbase likely played a key role into the decision.
You can also look at other technology improvements that have since been released since the pack was announced, notably ray tracing, that would make some of the features that would have been implemented as redundant with that technology. But for now, this pack is dead, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Microsoft try to push a similar update down the road once the Scorpio is considered the entry-level Xbox hardware.