It has been about a week since Horizon Forbidden West has released, and most reviews are singing its praises. On the other hand, some users have begun ‘review bombing’ PlayStation’s latest major, exclusive title. Part of the discussion around the game has been about the differences between the PS4 and PS5 versions. TechRadar went as far as to say that, “you can still get away with a PS4”, despite the console coming to an inevitable end in the future. Horizon’s game director Mathijs de Jonge and technical director Michiel van der Leeuw at Guerrilla Games took some time to speak with Engadget about the development process for both systems.
Perhaps the greatest difference between the consoles are the graphics or visual fidelity. Technical director van der Leeuw stated that from the very beginning, “we targeted having higher-fidelity characters, high-fidelity environments, higher-fidelity vegetation, everything”, for the PS5. Regardless of the fidelity, van der Leeuw believes that the PS4 version has, “the same sort of atmosphere”, and many reviewers/players feel the same.
Another notable hands-on distinction between the two versions comes by way of the controller. Game director de Jonge expressed that, “it really feels different when you use a slingshot versus when you fire an arrow using a bow…[which] sort of [gave] them their own character”, due to the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers of the PS5 controller. Maybe you are not one to get excited by tension in your trigger, but everyone loves fast loading screens. Except those of us who perhaps make use of load screen hints.
“With the PS5, it’s maybe four or five seconds, it loads so quickly that players can’t even read the hints”, de Jonge told Engadget. Load screens can be either a nuisance, an after thought, or a nice break depending on who you are as a player. Either way, Guerrilla Games made an affordance for everyone by including, “a very simple feature where it hangs on the loading screen for enough time so you can actually read at least one hint while it loads”, and still allowing players to X through the screens or turn off the feature completely. Just another nice feature to add to the list that Horizon offers its players. According to IGN, Sony has done this before with Ghost of Tsushima load screens after player death. So, the next time you encounter a loading screen, remember that the developers do it for your benefit…or because they can’t help it.