Next month, Aloy will face new threats in a land filled with danger as she embarks on a new adventure. Horizon Forbidden West’s Burning Shores expansion harnesses the power of PS5 to make this journey possible. We reached out to Guerrilla to find out how, and to learn more about the exciting details of the world design and combat we should expect on April 19. Game director Mathijs de Jonge offers his insights into development.
PlayStation Blog: What were your first impressions when you first learned about the power and capabilities of the PS5, from a developer’s perspective?
Mathijs de Jonge: Horizon Forbidden West is a very visual game, so the promise of more CPU power and memory meant we were going to be able to add even more quality to the image; and in terms of gameplay, I really wanted to be able to play at 60 fps. This was high on my wish list as it works really well with our combat game as you fight the machines.
When I first heard about the ultra-fast SSD, it was hard to believe it was so capable, but it seems like load times really are a thing of the past. This works brilliantly for a game like Horizon Forbidden West, where long loading screens can be a real deal breaker for immersion. From a development standpoint, fast loading also helped me review the game because I could jump right into any section without waiting.
How have you harnessed the power of PS5 to create Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores?
One of our key priorities with the Horizon games is to add a ton of detail and richness to our environments. On Horizon Forbidden West, anything we added or increased was something that we would also need to have a plan for how to optimize for PS4. At Burning Shores, since we can only focus on PS5, we have been able to move forward and we are very excited about what we have been able to achieve in creating this stunning post-post-apocalyptic version of Los Angeles.
Cityscape ruins in and around Los Angeles are highly detailed and require a lot of processing power as well as fast streaming technology to function properly; especially when the player is flying over the lands and can see a lot at once. One of the settlements is situated in and around those detailed ruins, and we were able to generate a lot of activity there.
Another notable one is a particular battle scene that requires a LOT of memory and processing power! To achieve this grand vision both technically and creatively, we definitely appreciated the many advantages that the PS5 hardware brings.
Horizon Forbidden West offers fantastic visuals, animations, and immersive audio during combat encounters, especially when fighting against some of the larger machines. How have you leveraged PS5 to deliver these rich visual performances, and what can we expect from Burning Shores?
Using the processing power of the PS5, we are able to run certain simulations at a higher speed creating more realistic results and a better gaming experience. On PS5, the base game Horizon Forbidden West runs at a higher resolution and frame rate than on PS4, and the assets are more detailed, making for a much better overall quality. There’s also a special lighting setup for Aloy that we normally only show during cutscenes, but it’s active on PS5 at all times. On PS5 we’re able to draw in much greater detail much further out, showcasing the stunning vistas our players find all over the map. We also support 40Hz mode and variable refresh rate on compatible TVs for even smoother gameplay.
What is your favorite PS5 game released so far? And from a developer perspective, how do you think you get the most out of the hardware?
I dove many hours into Elden Ring on my PS5 and was really impressed with everything it had to offer, but I think God of War Ragnarök wins it in terms of character designs and overall visual splendor.
Horizon Forbidden West is Available now on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 and is part of the PlayStation Plus Games CatalogThe Burning Shores expansion will be available on April 19.