When Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores was announced as a PS5 exclusive adventure, there was audible disappointment from those on last generation consoles. Given the base game launched for PlayStation 4, there were questions about the scope and ambition of its upcoming DLC – and why it would remain ‘next gen’ exclusive. Now, developer Guerrilla has spoken out about this choice.
Speaking to the PlayStation Blog, game director Mathijs de Jonge explained that Horizon Forbidden West is a very visual game, and relies on crisp image quality and smooth gameplay to immerse players in a realistic, well-lived world. The faster SSD on the PS5 aids this goal, as it allows for quick loading and transitions between cutscenes.
‘When I first heard about the superfast SSD, it was hard to believe that it was so capable – but it seems like loading times truly are a thing of the past,’ de Jonge said. ‘This works brilliantly for a game like Horizon Forbidden West, where long loading screens can be a real immersion breaker.’
When developing Burning Shores, this speed also allowed for an easier time in development, and the addition of sweeping details for new locales and gameplay features.
Read: Horizon Forbidden West review – a breathtaking journey
‘One of our key priorities with Horizon games is to add a ton of detail and richness to our environments,’ de Jonge said. ‘On Burning Shores, since we can just focus on PS5, we’ve been able to charge forward and we’re really excited about what we’ve been able to pull off in creating this stunning post-post-apocalyptic version of Los Angeles.’
‘The cityscape ruins of LA and its surroundings are highly detailed and require a lot of processing power as well as fast streaming technology to run properly; especially when the player is flying over the lands and can see a lot at once.’
According to de Jonge, these requirements grow significantly in major battles as they require ‘a lot of memory and processing power’ – far more than last generation PlayStation consoles are capable of producing. By leaving these consoles behind, Guerrilla has seemingly been able to better flesh out Aloy’s world, and boost visual fidelity and performance in the Burning Shores.
The change has allowed for higher speed gameplay and simulation, higher resolution and frame rate, a new lighting setup, and ‘stunning vistas’. In addition, it has allowed the game to support 40Hz and VRR on capable TVs. While this comes at the expense of players on PlayStation 4, de Jonge clearly believes there’s a strong incentive to upgrade consoles, and discover every dazzling new sight in Burning Shores.
Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores is set to launch exclusively for PS5 on 19 April 2023.