Sony Santa Monica is currently dissecting the PlayStation 5's hardware and architecture for its new games, and teases big advancements from the next-gen system
Like all first-party Sony developers, God of War dev Sony Santa Monica is currently experimenting with the PS5's hardware and software environments. The goal is to learn new tricks while trying to transition old PS4-era iteration, tools, engines, and know-how over to the new generation. According to creative director Cory Barlog, the cross-gen transition between PS4 to PS5 will be a lot smoother, and the high-end 5.5GB/sec PCIe 4.0 SSD will supercharge everything for developers.
"We're inside the guts of the PS5 like a surgeon. It's pretty exciting actually. There's a lot of stuff we've been messing around with, and seeing," God of War creative director Cory Barlog said in a recent interview on the Animal Talking podcast.
"Especially for me, the SSD is just amazing. I'm impatient, and I don't like any kind of load times.
"We've gone through great lengths in the God of War series--going all the way back to the PS2--to try and hide loading so you don't feel like there's an artificial layer of the game breaking you out of it. We let the menus do all of that instead."
Another interesting point Barlog made was about cross-gen compatibility and iteration.
Since the PlayStation 5's custom SoC was built from the ground up with PS4 backwards compatibility in mind, and fully emulates the PS4 on a logic level, the cross-gen transition will be a lot easier for developers. The PlayStation 5 is the start of a new generation, but it doesn't mean developers have to start from square one. There's radical shifts in storage tech, for instance, but a lot of the old tricks will still carry over.
The PlayStation 5 has two different legacy modes that enable backwards compatibility with older PS4 era games:
- Native Mode - Fully unlocks the Navi GPU at 2.23GHz for next-gen games
- PS4 Pro Legacy Mode - Downscales the GPU to 911MHz, 218GB/sec bandwidth, and 64 ROPs to emulate the PS4 Pro
- PS4 Legacy Mode - Drops the GPU to 800MHz with 176GB/sec bandwidth and 32 ROPs to emulate the base PS4
"There's some really cool stuff we'll be able to do. And with every new generation, it always feels like we master the old generation right before the one one comes out.
"I think the PS5 generation is going to be different. As the consoles progress, it feels like we have a really good foundation of understanding. So transition between generations is going to be less of a massive leap of faith like PS2 to PS3 was.
"I'm always a little sad at the change of a generation because I feel like we have to learn all new tricks, and you feel a little less in control. I think with the generations coming up it feels like we might not have to go back to square one. We have to kind of start wrapping our head around 'okay now we can do all these other things.'
"At the end of the day it's all about effort. Even if you figure out all the tricks in the first year, you still have to work for four or five years to really dig in and create something.
"It's exciting that people are going to figure out new clever concepts. I think we're going to have a lot of interesting surprises from game studios."
Sony's next-gen PlayStation 5 will release Holiday 2020. No release date, price, or pre-order info has been released yet. Check below for full specs:
PlayStation 5 specs and details:
- Custom SoC with second-gen Navi GPU, Zen 2 CPU
- 8-Core, 16-thread Zen 2 CPU at 3.5GHz
- Navi 2X GPU with 36 CUs on RDNA 2 at 2.23GHz
- Ultra-fast 825GB 12-channel PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD with up to 9GB/sec speeds
- Two SKUs: Digital-only, and standard with a disc drive
- Support for 4K 120 Hz TVs
- Ray-tracing enabled
- 8K output support (for gaming)
- Plays PS4 games, BC is on a title-to-title basis
- Separate games that ship on BD-XL Blu-ray discs
- New controller with extensive haptic and tactile feedback
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