Save first, ask questions later!

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When Microsoft added Backwards Compatibility to Xbox One, I started to move my save games to Cloud Saved Games as I played each game. Because of this and that I have multiple devices that I save on resulted in a few saves being accidentally deleted over time, most recently the other night. The primary cause for this is the way that older games forcibly create saves after you select a device.

There are a handful of older games that do the following:

  1. Request that you select a device to save your game on.
  2. Create a save game if one doesn't exist.
  3. Refuse to provide an option to change storage device.

This results in the perfect storm where chaos ensues. You are now playing a pre-game game of Russian Roulette with your original save file, except that all the blanks get slowly filled as you blindly select storage devices. With each failed selection you are also required to drop back to the Dashboard to try again if you fail. In the end when you finally select the right device, you are just glad it is over and most of the time oblivious to the fact that the save files have been created on the other devices.

Cut to when you are trying to organise your save files and move them around. You now have a couple of save files all the same size but dated differently. One would just think that the one with the most recent date is the correct one, but this is not always the case. What if you went through the whole save selection process described above only to load the game up and then decided to not play after all that. The right save hasn't been updated with the latest play date, so one of those new saves now has the most recent timestamp. This is where I was losing my saves. I was letting the system override older saves with the newest one when moving them the Cloud Saved Games.

From memory the issue of blind device selection hasn't been the case for all old games and consoles. On the Playstation 2, you would get an option to switch memory cards if the game was unable to find a save file. Once past this point the game would then load from the saves or create a new file on the memory card. The ability to preview or be informed if a save file exists before continuing is something that the Xbox 360 lacks, and it wouldn't be that hard an option to add at an OS level requiring no game patches.

The logical place to put this information without intrusion is on the "Select a Device" window. Since the system can easily read all devices at once (see the Storage option in the Settings), it should be able to do a quick file system search to find which device has save data relating the the current game. This data could be shown on the device selection screen easily due to the unused space on the right hand side:

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I know that Xbox 360 has reached its end of life for manufacturing, but I'm pretty sure that there will be a few years worth of updates to come, so here's hoping that they add something like this. Now if I could get them to add something to stop me from overwriting my girlfriends saves (she currently has another Gamertag because I accidentally saved over her FFXIII game one time).