While the power of PS5 has enabled Guerrilla to add extra levels of detail to the game on the newer console, lead character artist Bastien Ramisse told the PlayStation Blog that the studio is aiming to deliver an equally engrossing experience on both platforms.
Horizon Forbidden West - Pre-order Announcement | PS5, PS4
“We actually developed and tested the game simultaneously on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, because it’s very important to us as a studio to ensure PlayStation 4 players get an equally immersive experience,” he said.
“With our knowledge from Horizon Zero Dawn, we knew that we still had some unexplored resources that could push the realism and quality of our character assets forward; it’s great to now be able to tap into that knowledge and experience for the sequel.”
He added: “The most noticeable differences and improvements for Aloy in terms of technology is the push of facial and body capture accuracy, allowing more realistic shapes and surface details on characters as well as the careful increase of polygon density to capture handmade and used outfits.”
In an interview published in June, Horizon Forbidden West director Mathijs de Jonge also claimed the game hasn’t been held back by the weaker of its two target platforms.
He told Hardware Zone the studio didn’t have to scale back its vision for the project due to PS4 hardware constraints. Aside from 3D audio, quick loading and DualSense support, the main difference between the two versions of the game is on the graphical side of things, he said.
“On the PlayStation 5, 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.”
Ramisse elaborated on this in the new PS Blog interview. “Each generation of consoles brings extra power that lets us add even denser polygons to our character models, so we can create finer details such as peach fuzz, smooth contouring, or finer texture details and accurate materials expression, to name a few.
“And not only do visual aspects benefit from the new PlayStation 5 hardware — we have also increased the number of skeletal joints to bring our deformations and facial expressions to a whole new level for more credible and immersive character performance. All in all, a dream come true for both players and developers.”
Sony recently delayed the Horizon Forbidden West release date to February 2022.
It also U-turned on plans not to offer free PS5 upgrades to users who purchase the PS4 standard edition of Horizon Forbidden West.