Guerrilla Games explains why ‘Horizon Forbidden West’ works well on the PS4


Guerrilla Games launched with unusual challenges during development Horizon Forbidden West, It will be released on February 18th (Friday). According to the game director and technical director, the guerrillas were familiar with the PS5 and many of its features when it started working. Forbidden west However, the company planned to run the game on the PS4 console, which will turn nine this fall.

It’s not uncommon for games to be released on both consoles, Forbidden west It’s worth noting that it’s a particularly large and detailed game. Probably the most advanced title ever announced on the PS5. In a conversation with Engadget, game director Mathijs de Jonge and technical director Michiel van der Leeuw discussed the guerrilla process of confirming that the game works on the PS4 and at the same time showing off all the features of the PS5.

“I thought it would be difficult not only to make PlayStation 5 shine, but also to make something really rewarding for those who own PlayStation 4,” says vander Leeuw. “I’m very happy to know the features of the PS5 very early on, which meant I could plan how to make this distinction.”

The most immediately obvious difference between the two versions is the visual fidelity that the PS5 targets at 4K resolution (running in 60 fps “performance” mode results in 1800p upscaled to the checkerboard). .. “From the beginning, we targeted fidelity characters, fidelity environments, fidelity vegetation, all just for the PS5,” says van der Leeuw. “That is, the PS4 version shows different models, but the whole game has a similar feel.”

The reality of playtesting during a pandemic actually provided guerrillas with many opportunities to get feedback on their PS4 experience. “It was really difficult for us. There was a pandemic at the peak of production,” Van der Leeuw added. However, guerrillas were able to use Sony’s PlayStation Now game streaming technology to send an initial build of the game to the PS4 playtester. “Because of the pandemic, we had to switch to remote play testing,” deJonge said. Sony would have done that on the PS5, but during the pandemic they couldn’t get people into their office.

As a result, guerrillas needed to make sure that the PS4 version was getting enough attention throughout the development process. “In a way, having a PlayStation 4 was a big advantage because we needed to get the build in good shape, not just the PS5 version,” de Jonge said. ..

Horizon Forbidden West PS5


The team was conscious of getting it to work on the PS4 through game development, but also struggled to make the PS5 version visually noticeable. “If you look at the screenshots of everything on the screen, such as grass, sky, leaves, cloth, hair, etc., the screenshots should look like this: This is definitely the PS5 version,” vander Leeuw said. I am saying.

It was clear that increased fidelity and frame rate could be expected in the PS5 version, but the guerrillas thought a lot about how the PS5 controller could be a differentiator, to get the experience right. It was a well-balanced action. “In the early prototypes [adaptive trigger] The value is relatively high, “says de Jonge. “And a few minutes later, he remembers already feeling some fatigue in the trigger.” after that Started adding haptic feedback. And you have to balance the amount of tactile sensation you have with the amount of pressure you put on the trigger. “

Somewhat surprisingly, the team working on the tactile sensation is different from the team working on the adaptive trigger. “Tactile sensations are processed in the studio by audio design designers, while adaptive triggers are processed by game designers,” de Jonge said. Obviously, no part of the game design happens in a vacuum, but he specifically cites collaboration between these teams as something he was proud of in the development process.

The end result is a cleverly performed component that won’t scream at you as a major update, but will help. Horizon Forbidden West It shines on PS5. “I think it was good to see how we can do it. [use haptics and adaptive triggers] We try to make the different weapons stand out and give them a unique character, “de Jonge said. “So it feels really different when you use a slingshot and when you shoot an arrow with a bow.”

Like most games built specifically for the PS5, Horizon Forbidden West Thanks to the console’s built-in SSD, it can be loaded quickly. With such a large map for exploration, near-instant loading (for example, in the case of fast travel) can greatly improve the quality of life. But van de Leeuw said these optimizations are more than just high-speed driving. “I don’t know how easily the game is a bottleneck,” he said. “If you run a PC game on a very fast SSD, it won’t load automatically in about 7 seconds. There’s a lot of work we had to do.”

Horizon Forbidden West PS5


The end result is that the game is so fast that the development team had to revamp the hints displayed on the loading screen. “of Horizon Zero Dawn, We used to call it fast travel, but it could probably take a minute to actually load, “deJonge said. “On the PS5, it probably takes 4-5 seconds. The loading is so fast that the player can’t even read the hints.” However, from testing, the guerrillas have become dependent on these hints. Knowing, they decided to slow things down a bit. “We needed to add a very simple feature to the loading screen that would hang for enough time so that we could actually read at least one tip while loading.” Of course, anyone who wants to speed things up, You can mash the X or turn off the pause setting so that the game loads as fast as possible.

I haven’t tested Engadget Horizon Forbidden West Still on PS4 Early report show That guerrilla Stopped landing, Build a game that doesn’t feel compromised on PS4 while showing off the power of PS5. “I’m very happy how it turned out,” Van der Leeuw said. “I’m very proud of the PS5 version. But the PS4 version has a similar feel and feel. Of course, it’s a generation old, but I think it works pretty well. “

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