This week Xbox gave racing fans something for nothing. Fans of racing titles on the Xbox likely have a collection of Xbox 360 racing games gathering dust, but its time to brush them off and relive their excitement. Xbox One have increasingly added backwards compatibility for older games that enable you to play Xbox 360 titles on the Xbox One. Typically this means the game is as it was when you played it 5 years ago, but there’s something very special about the latest inclusion from Codemaster games.
Announced by Xbox’s chief spokesman Larry Hryb (@MajorNelson), Dirt 3, Dirt Showdown and Grid 2 added support for Xbox One wheels this week. As an owner of Dirt 3 and someone who still harbors affectionate feelings about those titles, it was a perfect reason to fire up the Logitech G920 on my racing rig and try it out.
I’m happy to report the wheel and pedal support actually works great. Of course its still weird to sit in front of your Xbox One and have it display the old Xbox 360 logo and dashboard, but after you get past that, you get to not only use, but configure your wheel. There’s all your usual configuration options you’d expect in current games including force feedback, wheel weight, dead zones and of course automatic and manual transmissions. The only thing missing is support for a H-pattern gear box which takes advantage of the Logitech shifter accessory, but that’d take a dramatic redevelopment of the game, so the sequential box driven by your paddle shifts is more than acceptable.
When racer’s invest in driving accessories, they’re investing in the platform and by adding support for these aged titles, it helps gamers derive more value from both the original game purchase and their investment in the racing hardware. It also helps keep them on the Xbox Platform for what is essentially a pretty easy update to add support for mapping the old controller scheme to the new Xbox One wheel hardware via the controller API.
We’re seeing more games add support for wheels like WRC5, however driving games like Need For Speed still haven’t gotten around to it. At this point, if you’re shipping a driving game without wheel and pedal support, you should drop everything and make it happen.