During the livescast following the PlayStation Meeting held in New York, Guerrilla Games Art Director Jan-Bart Van Beek, Insomniac Games Co-Founder Brian Hastings and Naughty Dog Lead Programmer Christian Gyrling explained the advantages brought by the newly announced PS4 Pro from the perspective of their studios.
Interestingly, they detailed gains both for those who have TVs supporting 4K and HDR, and gamers that plan to stick with regular 1080p screens.
- Van Beek mentioned that the PS4 Pro is a little bit more than twice as powerful as the standard PS4, and the CPU is “a lot faster as well.” It “can do things very close to 4K,” and that’s an “amazing achievement.”
- According to Hastings there are also a couple of “extra little pieces of hardware” in the console that are “really clever.” The GPU isn’t just over twice as powerful in core horsepower, but there are a few “extra twists” that help it to achieve “4K-level of fidelity.”
- According to Gyrling, the support of HDR is what will help Naughty Dog to really show the immersive world they intended to really show. It was already present in the games, but PS4 pro can finally output it to the new TVs and fully showcase it.
- Hastings mentioned that developers see this internally, but then they have to squash the colors into the standard color space of standard TVs, and the chance to finally let it out is exciting.
- Van Beek explained that when the first 4K TV with HDR were delivered at Guerrilla Games, developers were impressed by how vibrant the sunrises were in Horizon: Zero Dawn.
- Gyrling explained that only when you experience a game in 4K you know what you have been missing on. The PS4 Pro enables more data to be sent from the console to the TV.
According to Van Beek, 4K is comparable to the move from PS2 to PS3, and it’s really hard to go back.
- Gyrling also mentioned that with standard 1080p there’s only so much developers can do with the pixels, and you end up getting artifacts. It still looks great, but you get shimmering, jaggies, and it tends to deter from the overall immersion of the game. When that gets toned down on the PS4 Pro, it’s almost removed, and you can really enjoy the game.
- Hasting explained that the new HDR TVs are able to display ten times the level of brightness than standard ones in key parts of the image, so details emerge that before just weren’t visible. You get an effect close to a resolution increase.
- Gyrling added that it’s not just the brights, but the darks are also affected, showing more detail. It’s another tool in the hands of the artists.
- Van Beek explained that PS4 Pro supports supersampling on normal HDTVs, helping in removing shimmering and aliasing, and creating a much crisper image even on a normal 1080p screen. Hastings added that you get “a sense of the detail” and “temporal stability” that is hard to achieve at standard 1080p, because you’re packing more information in each pixel, and the image quality improves. It’s not the same thing as in actual 4K, but it’s a noticeable improvement and it makes a difference.
- Gyrling explained that developers have access to information on what kind of TV is used, and they can use supersampling, or opt to crank up elements like ground clutter, making the world richer. There’s “definitely a benefit” whichever way developers decide to go.
- Van Beek also mentioned that there is of course the option of a much more stable frame rate. With the PS4 pro there are no frame rate drops any more, all games run perfectly smooth at 30 or 60 FPS.
- According to Hastings, the additional CPU power also allows developers to add more actors or improve physics. Supersampling is the “easy way” to get a solid improvement, but developers can be more creative about it.
- Gyrling mentioned that developers are being very careful to keep the playing field on the same level in multiplayer, having players on PS4 Pro and standard PS4 playing at the same frame rate.
- According to Van Beek, HDR has “such an enormous punch” in showcasing realistic sunsets, clouds and more, granting images the vibrancy of real nature.
- Hastings mentioned that Insomniac Games is trying to bring to life a realistic and detailed vision of New York with Spider-Man, and the city has so much detail. Seeing it in 4K and HDR adds a level of realism that your eye almost “craves,” increasing immersion.
- Gyrling concluded mentioning that the team at Naughty Dog is extremely excited especially for HDR. It’s where games will really shine. Building games from the ground up for HDR and 4K will bring “really exciting things.”