Guerrilla Games Explains Why Horizon Forbidden West works so well on PS4

Horizon Forbidden West PS4 Pro

Guerrilla Games set itself an extraordinary challenge when developing Forbidden horizon westAnd Released on Friday, February 18th. According to the game director and technical director, Guerrilla was well acquainted with the PS5 and a lot of its potential when he started working on the PS5. forbidden west In 2018. But the company also planned to make the game work on PS4, a nine-year-old console, this fall.

It’s not unusual for games to be released on both devices, but forbidden west Known for being a particularly massive and detailed game, it’s probably the most advanced title yet on PS5. In a conversation with Engadget, Game Director Mathijs de Jonge and Technical Director Michiel van der Leeuw discussed Guerrilla’s process of making sure the game works with PS4 while at the same time showing off everything the PS5 can do.

“We knew it would be difficult to make something that would make the PlayStation 5 shine, but it would also be very rewarding for people who had a PlayStation 4,” van der Leeuw said. “So we’re very happy that we learned about the capabilities of the PS5 so early, because that means we can plan for how we’re going to make that distinction.”

The most noticeable difference between the two versions is the visual resolution, with the PS5 targeting 4K resolution (downgraded to 1800p with a checkerboard upscaling when running in 60fps “performance” mode). “From the beginning, we aimed to have HD characters, HD environments, HD plants, everything, just for the PS5,” van der Leeuw said. “So you’ll just see different models for the PS4 version, but the same kind of atmosphere throughout the game.”

The facts of gameplay testing during a global pandemic have provided plenty of opportunities for Guerrilla to get feedback on the PS4 experience. “It was really hard for us, we just hit the epidemic while we were at the peak of production,” van der Leeuw added. But Guerrilla was able to use Sony’s PlayStation Now game-streaming technology to send early builds of the game to PS4 testers. “Due to the pandemic, we had to switch to remote play testing,” said de Jong. Sony would have done that with the PS5, but it wasn’t possible to have people in their offices during the pandemic.

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The result of this was that Guerrilla had to make sure that the PS4 version received a lot of attention during the development process. “It was a huge advantage, in a way, that we had a PlayStation 4, because that meant we really had to get the design in good shape instead of just focusing on the PS5 version,” de Jong said.


While the team has been conscious of making things work on PS4 throughout the game’s development period, they put a lot of effort into making the PS5 version visually standout. “We were looking at screenshots of everything on the screen, whether it was the grass, the sky, the leaves, the cloth, the hair – everything has to have something where if you look at the screenshots, you will feel that for sure,” van der Leeuw said. PS5 version.

While improved resolution and frame rate were obvious things to expect in the PS5 release, Guerrilla put a lot of thought into how the PS5 console could serve as a differentiating factor — but it was a bit of a balancing act to get the experience right. “In our prototypes, I remember we put [adaptive trigger] De Jong said, “The values ​​are relatively high, and I remember that after a few minutes we actually felt some fatigue from the stimuli. And and then We started adding haptic feedback. And then you have to balance how much touch you have and how much pressure you put on the stimuli.”

Somewhat surprisingly, the team working on touch is separate from the team working on adaptive stimuli. “Haptic touches in our studio are handled by our sound design designers, but adaptive triggers are handled by our game designers,” said de Jong. Obviously no part of the game’s design takes place in a vacuum, but he specifically refers to the collaboration between those teams as something he was very proud of in the development process.

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The end result is something that doesn’t scream at you like a huge update, but a skillfully executed component that helps Forbidden horizon west Shine on PS5. “I think it was great to also see how we can [use haptics and adaptive triggers] “Make the different weapons stand out, and kind of give them their own character,” said De Jong. “So it looks really different when using a slingshot versus shooting an arrow with a bow.”

Like most games designed specifically for the PS5, Forbidden horizon west It loads quickly thanks to the solid state drive built into the console. With such a huge map to explore, a near-instant loading (like when you’re traveling fast) is a huge quality of life improvement. But Van de Leeuw said these improvements are more than just a quick ride. “You don’t realize how easy it is to suffocate games,” he said. “If you run a PC game on a very fast SSD, it won’t automatically load in seven seconds. There is a lot of work to do.”

Horizon Forbidden West PS5


The end result is a game so fast that the development team had to revamp the tips that appear on the loading screens. “in a Horizon Zero DawnWe called it Fast Travel, but it could take up to a minute to actually load,” de Jong said. “With the PS5, it probably takes four or five seconds, and it loads so fast that players can’t even read the hints.” Through testing, Guerrilla knew that players had become dependent on these hints, so they decided to slow things down a bit.” “We had to add a very simple feature where it gets stuck on the loading screen long enough so you can actually read at least one hint while it loads.” Of course, People who want to speed things up can mix X or turn off pause in settings so that the game loads as quickly as possible.

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While you haven’t tested Engadget Forbidden horizon west On PS4 so far, Early Reports indicate that guerrilla war stuck in landingBuilding a game that doesn’t feel vulnerable on PS4 and that still shows the power of the PS5. “I’m very happy with the way it was done,” van der Leeuw said. “I’m very proud of the PS5 version. But the PS4 version has the same vibe and the same feel. Of course, it’s an older generation, but it holds up, I think, quite well.”

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