Starting Tuesday, October 24, Xbox One users will be able to play select original Xbox games thanks to a backward-compatibility update.
While the new feature didn’t create a commotion when it was revealed at E3 earlier this year, the backward-compatibility “launch list” of sorts includes a number of modern classics and Xbox generation favorites. (via IGN).
- BloodRayne 2
- Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
- Dead to Rights
- Fuzion Frenzy
- Grabbed by the Ghoulies
- The King of Fighters Neowave
- Ninja Gaiden Black
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
- Red Faction II
- Sid Meier’s Pirates!
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
A handful of those titles, including Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Prince of Persia, are already available for purchase in the games on demand section in the Xbox digital marketplace. Games are priced starting at $10.
If you still have a physical version of any of these games, you can simply insert the disc after downloading the new update and your Xbox One will read it.
The best part about the originals program is that each game is enhanced. No longer will original Xbox games be viewed in grainy 480p or 480i — each game has been upscaled to 1080p. The games will also have bumps in framerate (more frames or smoother) and reduced loading times. The visual performance enhancements alone might be enough for some to replay instant classics like Knights of the Old Republic and Psychonauts, but as anyone who owned an original Xbox knows, shorter load times are also incredibly welcome.
According to IGN, the majority of the games will still run with a 4:3 aspect ratio. At least Ninja Gaiden Black, however, runs in 16:9 widescreen.
As far as multiplayer goes, games that support local or system link multiplayer will still have those features. For instance, Crimson Skies can be played with two Xbox One consoles linked up, or even an Xbox One linked to an original Xbox. Since the original Xbox servers have been offline for years, online multiplayer will not be supported.
Xbox platform lead Bill Stillwell told IGN that Microsoft focused on “key games” in the first batch. Microsoft also confirmed IGN’s list and also claimed that the next assortment of original Xbox games with Xbox One backward compatibility is expected to land next spring.
Update: Added Microsoft’s confirmation and plans for future backward-compatible games.