The haptic feedback that you’ll find in PlayStation 5’s controller DualSense is dramatically different to the rumble motors found in the DualShock 4. Instead of simply jolting your hands, developers can create textures using wave files; these may pan from your left hand to your right hand, for example, or surge from the centre of the pad. It’s a feature that, along with adaptive triggers, Ember Lab is using to bring action adventure Kena: Bridge of Spirits to life.
“The triggers on the DualSense controller have resistance on them, so we’re utilising that for the heavy attacks, but also for the bow,” explained chief creative officer Mike Grier. “You draw it, and the way it sounds and the resistance feels like a bow tightening up.” Chief operating officer Josh Grier added: “The triggers are a part of it, but when you get the haptics in the hands, it really brings it all together.”
He continued: “Obviously, you feel the tension in your trigger finger, but when you’ve got the bow drawn and you add the Rot into it, we can dynamically say, ‘OK, this right palm feels the Rot jumping into it.’ And then when we use the Rot cloud, as the cloud shifts from left to right on the screen, you can feel it transitioning from left to right in your hand, as well.” The Rot are creatures that you’ll encounter throughout the world, and there are 100 of them to find.
Interestingly, on the PlayStation 4, only a proportion of the Rot you’ve collected will be rendered on the screen. But the PS5 shows all 100 of them at once. “We’ve been on development on PS4 for most of the project, and squeezing it and getting the performance that we wanted out of it was a nightmare,” groaned Mike. “But having done all that, when we went to PS5 it was nice, because we had a good baseline and then we could just add to it and take advantage of the extra juice.”
Other improvements on the PS5 will include the density of foliage; there’ll be more trees and shrubbery on Sony’s next-gen system. And all of this will take just two seconds to boot on the console, thanks to the lightning fast speed of the format’s SSD. This generation transition can’t come quickly enough in our opinion.