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Horizon Forbidden West director clarifies differences between PS4 and PS5 versions

The PlayStation 5 will bring the power for the next-gen version of Horizon Forbidden West. (But it will also still be good on PS4, we’re assured.)

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Horizon Forbidden West
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The PlayStation 5 will bring the power for the next-gen version of Horizon Forbidden West. (But it will also still be good on PS4, we’re assured.)

One of the biggest surprises to surge its way through the internet this week is that certain Sony AAA exclusives will be coming to both last-gen and current-gen consoles.

This revelation has caused a ruckus in the gaming world over the specifics of graphics and performance between versions.  However, in a recent interview with Game Informer, game director Mathijs de Jonge looked to clear the air on the status of PS5 and PS4 version of Horizon Forbidden West. 

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Many fans inferred – perhaps due to a lack of concrete information on its reveal – that Horizon Forbidden West would be a next-gen exclusive, however, de Jonge revealed that “a lot of the development has taken place on the PlayStation 4 and a lot of playtesting has been done on PlayStation 4.”

It’s no surprise that the PS5 version of the game is being used to amp graphics and include additional systems. One such system included is featured in the underwater segments – the highlight of last week’s State of Play gameplay reveal. de Jonge elaborated somewhat:

“Graphically, the rendering technique for the underwater scenes is special for the PlayStation5, it has extra details and extra systems, like the wave technique is better on that system”

A major difference between the two versions of Horizon Forbidden West will be the lighting. de Jonge explained that the processing power required to run cinematic lighting could not extend beyond cutscenes on the PS4.

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“But with the PlayStation 5, we have plenty of processing power, so we can have that lighting rig always available, so she always looks great with that lighting setup traveling with her anywhere.”

Along with better water systems and lighting, the PS5 version of the game will also include a performance mode. This will likely be similar to those available on games like Miles Morales, allowing a choice between fidelity and frame rate.

While the game will be available across both generations, it does seem clear that the preferred way to play Horizon Forbidden West will be on the PS5. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that Guerilla Games can manage that 2021 release window.


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The most passionate casual gamer about, Aaron is a filmmaking graduate, Premiere Pro aficionado, and film and gaming journalist hailing from the windy realms of Scotland. He loves to split his time between writing articles, hosting his film podcast, producing some top-notch video content and building up a backlog of games he’ll probably never complete.

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