Here’s a head-scratcher from everyone’s favourite video game executive Jim Ryan: Horizon Forbidden West has been built from the “ground up” for PlayStation 5. Except, as was revealed earlier in the week, the game is also coming to the PlayStation 4. We don’t quite know how that will work, but here’s what the PlayStation boss told the Washington Post.
“No one should be disappointed [about Horizon Forbidden West, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Sackboy: A Big Adventure being on PS4]. The PS5 versions of those games are built from the ground up to take advantage of the PS5 feature set, and we have an upgrade path for PS4 users to get the PS5 versions for free. It’s about people having choice. I’m really quite pleased about the situation.”
We’re not entirely sure how these titles have been designed to take full advantage of the PS5 if they need to work on the PS4 as well; Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, for example, appears to be impossible on the current-gen console, while the abovementioned aren’t. Perhaps the PS4 version of Horizon Forbidden West is an entirely different experience, but that doesn’t seem likely.
Many are unhappy with Sony because it said it “believed in generations”, only to quietly announce that it’s also releasing cross-gen games. To be fair, so far it’s only three titles out of an extraordinary first-year offering, although we’re beginning to question whether games like Gran Turismo 7 and God of War: Ragnarok are truly PS5 exclusives as well.
A bit more transparency from the Japanese giant would be appreciated moving forwards; there’s nothing wrong with providing software to the millions of existing PS4 owners, but when the messaging gets messy like this, the onus is on the manufacturer to be a bit clearer about its plans and direction. Ultimately, we’ve spent much of this year playing guessing games.