PlayStation 2 PS2 PlayStation 4 PS4 Emulation

Back when Sony revealed that the Darth Vader PlayStation 4 bundle would include three Star Wars games from the PlayStation 2 era, we assumed that they'd be getting the remaster treatment. While there have been many rumours regarding PS2 emulation on the new-gen system, the promise of Trophy support and improved visuals led us to believe that it was porting the games in that instance. But a fascinating report by Digital Foundry has suggested that we were wrong.

The site has tested out Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, and Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, and it's concluded that they're all running on a PS2 emulator that's been sneakily added to the PS4 in a previous firmware update. It knows this because there's an OS-level controller prompt which states that the Start and Select buttons have been mapped to the touchpad. The console also simulates a PS2 memory card – both features that ordinary developers wouldn't be able to incorporate.

This is hugely exciting news because the emulator itself sounds awesome. While the games don't run natively in 1080p, Digital Foundry reports that they all benefit from a resolution boost, as well as plenty of post-processing which improves the image quality of the originals. Framerates are also much smoother than their native counterparts, with Jedi Starfighter sticking rigidly to 60 frames-per-second while the PS2 version dips to 30 frames-per-second and lower.

But the big thing is Trophy support. Remember years ago when the platform holder patented the ability to add gongs to older games? Well, the site claims that the company may have used it at last. Essentially it sounds like it's figured out a way of popping trinkets by the console reading the game's code in realtime and looking for triggers. To be honest, we don't understand exactly how this works, but it basically means that it'll be able to add Trophies to games without tinkering with the core code.

A recent PEGI leak revealed that Sony had rated Ape Escape 2, Dark Chronicle, and Twisted Metal: Black in Europe, so it's safe to assume that these will eventually make their way to the PlayStation Store. And with the functionality seemingly finished – and already inside your PS4 – we'd expect an official announcement any day now. It's a good thing that the company's got a press conference coming up, isn't it? See you at PlayStation Experience.

Update - 19th Oct (19:45PM GMT): In response to some of the comments, it's perhaps worth noting that it's highly unlikely that this will be compatible with PS2 discs – we expect that games will be available from the PlayStation Store only.

We should also stress that all of the information in this article comes courtesy of Digital Foundry, and while the site is almost always accurate with these kinds of reports, we're yet to get any official confirmation from Sony.

Update - 20th Oct (11:45AM GMT): Sony's now confirmed that PS2 emulation is coming to the PS4. There's more information through here.