Sony may have relied on its pool of development talent to offer feedback on the hardware inside its next generation machine – but it also consulted developers such as Guerrilla Games to elicit feedback on the console’s controller, the DualShock 4. Speaking as part of an interview with EDGE magazine, Evolution Studios’ technical director Scott Kirkland revealed that the British outfit played an “instrumental” role in the design of the refreshed input device.
“The control side of things has always been a really important thing for racing games,” he said. “So we made sure that we got involved in the controller discussion very early on. I think this goes back to Christmas 2011.” According to Kirkland, the DriveClub developer’s feedback helped to shape the input device, and the team even convinced Sony’s hardware group to improve the motion sensors included inside the unit.
"We were instrumental in securing the specific gyro components that [will] go in the DualShock 4,” he added. “We had prototypes that demonstrated that the really high frequency gyros were the ones that allowed us to chuck the controller around like a steering wheel, and the ones that they were considering [meant] you have to rely on accelerometers to compensate for that.”
Evolution also offered a lot of feedback on the device’s analogue sticks, which have been dramatically overhauled. According to Kirkland, the studio created a prototype using MotorStorm RC that demonstrated the benefits of the “reduced deadzone size on the controller and the more accurate sticks.”
Apparently, the early DualShock 4 prototypes “looked like something Bruce Wayne would carry”. Kirkland explained: "It was very industrial in design, plastic, [and] there were things that would come off. I remember seeing paperwork for the import and export prototype, and you know all of them were handmade and insanely expensive and we felt privileged to be getting these samples."
But, as previously mentioned, Evolution wasn’t the only first-party outfit involved with the controller’s design. The studio worked alongside Guerrilla on the device’s triggers, and found that, in some areas, it had to compromise. “[The Killzone: Shadow Fall developer] wanted specific things out of the triggers, and, from a racing game perspective, we wanted lots of subtlety of control and to have really analogue brakes and acceleration,” Kirkland said. “But the controller sits on the desk beautifully, it doesn’t accidentally press the triggers, [and] they’ve got really nice resistance to them.”
You can learn more about the PS4 in the latest issue of EDGE magazine. Also, if you’re interested in discovering some more facts about the DualShock 4, check out our full feature on the device through here.