The hot-button topic at the moment is cross-gen, and Sony’s decision to release games like God of War Ragnarok and Gran Turismo 7 on the PlayStation 4 as well as the PS5. Many feel that, in addition to being misled by the platform holder, these games can’t possibly reach their full potential while still being shackled to ancient hardware. Mathijs de Jonge, the director on Horizon Forbidden West, disagrees.
“I don’t think the cross-generation development was limiting in any way,” he told Singapore News Live. “When we started with the concept of this game, we had so many great ideas that ended up being included – to the point that we didn’t really think about hardware limitations or anything, we just wanted to design a really nice, unique experience for the player. An awesome adventure.”
He continued: “That’s how we also brainstormed all the quests and events the player is going to go through. I think that the big delta between these two consoles – apart from the 3D audio, quick loading, and DualSense, of course – is on the graphical side of things. On the PS5, we can add so much more detail graphically. We can see the tiny hairs on Aloy’s face, for example. You can also see a ton of detail from far away.”
De Jonge added that there are some outrageous visual effects that will be present only in the PS5 version, including the existence of moss on rocks. “Each individual strand of moss is rendered individually,” he exclaimed. “So, this machine is so powerful, and it can add so much more detail to the image. I think that’s one of the biggest deltas, next to the processing power of the machine. We also use it for a specific lighting rig. This is a cinematic lighting rig that we normally only have time to use in cinematics. Because the PS5 is so much more powerful, we have it on all the time. During gameplay, there’s a very high-quality rendering and lighting system on a lot. So there are all these extra features that make the game look even better.”
To be fair, de Jonge is somewhat expected to toe the corporate line here, so he was never going to say that the game is being held back by the existence of the PS4 version. However, even if he’s carefully picking his words, we trust the director of the project more than your average forum poster. At the end of the day, he’s saying that cross-gen or not, Guerrilla Games is making the sequel it always intended to make. And if you’re planning to play on PS5, you’ll be getting all the bells and whistles – including a Performance Mode.