Announced way back at E3 2017 alongside the Xbox One X full reveal, Minecraft’s Super Duper Graphics Pack has been cancelled. Developer Mojang has explained the major graphical upgrade for Minecraft has proven far too technically demanding and has now been permanently shelved.
Minecraft isn’t exactly the first game to be asked to dance at the prom, yet this graphics pack was set to provide a huge overhaul to its lighting and shadows, provide 4K texture support, add realistic flora, and upgrade the water surfaces to be fully reflective.
“Some of you might remember us announcing the Super Duper Graphics Pack during E3 2017,” Mojang has announced this week via the Minecraft blog. “Super Duper was an ambitious initiative that brought a new look to Minecraft but, unfortunately, the pack proved too technically demanding to implement as planned
“We realise this is disappointing to some of you – there was a lot of enthusiasm for Super Duper from inside and outside the studio – but unfortunately, we aren’t happy with how the pack performed across devices. For this reason, we're stopping development on the pack, and looking into other ways for you to experience Minecraft with a new look.”
What’s quite frustrating here is it’s quite obviously the lowest common denominator holding it back. Minecraft has been released on basically every platform under the sun, including mobile and even the Nintendo 3DS, somehow. There’s no doubt a high-end PC could take advantage of a major graphical upgrade for Minecraft, but we’d have to assume Mojang doesn’t want to split out its development paths.
The second factor may be that Mojang couldn’t even get Minecraft Super Duper Graphics Pack running at a stable frame rate on the Xbox One X, a situation which would obviously be quite embarrassing and could warrant the cancellation.
Fortunately, PC gamers still have an out, of course. The mod scene is humongous among Minecraft PC gamers so if you want to cobble together your own version of the Minecraft Super Duper Graphics Pack there are plenty of mods out there which can do that, including some early forays into ray-traced lighting.