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Horizon Forbidden West Dev: Cross-Gen Development Isn't Limiting in Any Way

Horizon Forbidden West Dev: Cross-Gen Development Isn't Limiting in Any Way - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 06 June 2021 / 1,748 Views

Horizon Forbidden West game director Mathijs de Jonge in an interview with Hardware Zone was asked if there are noticeable differences between the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 versions of the game, as well as if cross-generation development has been limiting in anyway. 

He doesn't think that developing for two different generations of consoles, the PS5 and PS4, has been limiting what they wanted to do with Horizon Forbidden West.

"I don't think the cross-generation development was limiting in any way," said de Jonge. "When we started with the concept of this game, we had so many great ideas that ended up being included - to the point that we didn't really think about hardware limitations or anything, we just wanted to design a really nice, unique experience for the player. An awesome adventure.

Horizon Forbidden West Dev: 'Cross-Gen Isn't Limiting in Any Way'

"That's how we also brainstormed all the quests and events the player is going to go through. I think that the big delta between these two consoles, apart from the 3D audio, quick loading and DualSense of course, is on the graphical side of things. On the PlayStation 5, we can add so much more detail graphically. We can see the tiny hairs on Aloy’s face, for example. You can also see a ton of detail from far away.

"I don't think many people notice in the demo, but you could see moss growing on the rocks. On the PlayStation 5, each individual strand of moss is rendered individually. So this machine is so powerful, and it can add so much more detail to the image. I think that's one of the biggest deltas, next to the processing power of the machine. We also use it for a specific lighting rig.

"This is a cinematic lighting rig that we normally only have time to use in cinematics. Because the PlayStation 5 is so much more powerful, we have it on all the time. During gameplay, there's a very high-quality rendering and lighting system on a lot. So there are all these extra features that make the game look even better."

Horizon Forbidden West is in development for the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. It is on track to release in Holiday 2021, however, that isn't 100 certain yet.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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21 Comments
IcaroRibeiro (on 06 June 2021)

And they are telling the truth. This game was made with Ps4 in mind on its core when PS5 wasn't even done yet. People who buys console at launch are deluding themselves thinking every game coming for a new hardware will be made from the ground thinking on said hardware, this may be true in 2024, but it's not 2021 reality

  • +5
ironmanDX IcaroRibeiro (on 06 June 2021)

They've also said in the past gliding wasn't possible on ps4 due to technical reasons. Are they lying now....? Then? Both?

  • 0
IcaroRibeiro ironmanDX (on 07 June 2021)

More likely lying back then

  • 0
Hynad ironmanDX (on 07 June 2021)

When and where did they say that?

  • +5
holzi ironmanDX (on 07 June 2021)

They obviously were lying back then. Or at least those technical reasons were not because of the PS4, but of how the game was made or the engine that was used.

  • 0
LivncA_Dis3 (on 07 June 2021)

As soon as hzd finished dev,
They went straight for hfw with ps4 as it's architecture,

Ps5 was just a bonus and they might of gotten the kit early 2019

So that's 2 years of dev on ps4
1 and a half year so far on ps5

If it releases on holiday it's going to be 2+ year development on ps5.

  • +3
holzi LivncA_Dis3 (on 07 June 2021)

The probability of dev kits for PS5 being existence as early as 2019 is exactly zero. Not even the Processor or Graphics architecture was done back then. And the SSDs used in the PS5 weren't available at all at that point.

  • 0
Tridrakious (on 07 June 2021)

It's a good thing they "believe in generations".

  • +1
SvenTheTurkey (on 07 June 2021)

In other news, a developer says the thing that justifies their decision.

But it's really a meaningless statement. It's possible they're right and the ps4 version is not holding back the ps5 version. Not only is it possible, it's likely. The issue is that it's always going to sound like a cover. It's not as though they would say the opposite even if it were true.

They would have been much better off giving no comment rather than providing oxygen to this conversation.

  • +1
Dante9 (on 07 June 2021)

Either side cannot tell me that the weaker consoles don't have at least some impact in the development. If these guys were given a PS5 kit and a told to make a game just for that, don't worry about anything else? Come on..

  • +1
Libara (on 06 June 2021)

They are capable devs so im sure this is true, will be interesting to see who believes these devs when calling out others who say Series S doesnt hold back Series X games.

  • 0
Alistair Libara (on 06 June 2021)

And the gap between the Series S and Series X is absolutely tiny compared to PS5 vs PS4 which is very large.

  • +9
holzi (on 07 June 2021)

The problem I have with the marketing that Sony does is not how they develop their games and why they make specific decisions. My problem is that they saw the backlash that MS was facing for their cross-gen development and decided to create their marketing material in such a way that they would have a lot of PS5 exclusive games in the launch period which obviously wasn't even realistic back then. Everyone assumed that a lot of those games shown at the PS5 showcase were going to be PS5 exclusives because that's what the marketing alluded to. They created a lot of hype for the PS5 based on misleading marketing and features that are still nowhere to be seen. They (Sony) deserve the backlash.

  • -1
EnricoPallazzo (on 07 June 2021)

This is pure bullshit, of course last gen is limiting. The game was built thinking about the PS4 primarily and whoever from sony says otherwise is just lying. At the same time, we know the shitstorm that would happen if they say "yeah it limited us on a few ideas we had, also we had to include those tight passages to hide loading times, etc", therefore we live in this world where they need to lie and we pretend we believe them.
It's ok to have PS4 as the primary target, this always happens when we have new generations, if the game would be released today only for PS5 it would sold MUCH less than possible to the point it could jeopardize the game's profitability. This is all normal and expected and to be honest, the right decision from the devs and Sony. The problem is with all the lying, but as I said, just imagine if they told the truth...

  • -2
IcaroRibeiro EnricoPallazzo (on 07 June 2021)

If the game was built from the ground for PS5 it would be released only 3 years away. Takes time to learn how to work with the new tech and overall games takes years to make. Unless people create time machines to send PS5 back to 2017 there was no way for making this new Horizon a 2021 release

Trust me every game release until next year is nothing but a PS4 game they decided to not release on PS4 for whatever reason

  • +1
EnricoPallazzo IcaroRibeiro (on 07 June 2021)

Yes I agree 100% and I definitely do not expect big AAA games focused on PS5/XSX at least until 2023. If people believe otherwise or believe what the devs say they are just kidding themselves.

  • -1
dane007 (on 06 June 2021)

But they weren't able to make grass and ground move when touched and for trees to sway against the win. Something that people notice more than moss growing

  • -3
dane007 (on 07 June 2021)
  • -5
mutantsushi (on 07 June 2021)
  • -5