QD Reacts: PlayStation Round 5!
Sony has finally revealed its long-awaited next gen home console. We couldn’t resist asking some of our lead devs their first impressions!
For months now, fans all over the world – us included, to be honest! – have been looking forward to seeing what the PlayStation 5 would look like. But with E3 unable to happen as planned this year, Sony went for a two-hour long livestream in its place, on June 11th, to unveil their console and first games. Oh wait… Did we just say “their console?” Well, we meant “their consoles,” since the PlayStation 5 comes in two versions: a classic model with a Blu-Ray player and a another one going full-digital! But rather than an endless analysis, we jumped on the opportunity to ask three of our developers for their first impressions of this new video game star.
What’s your very first impression of this reveal?
Jean-Charles – Chief Technical Officer
Very excited! It’s pretty impressive from a technology standpoint, I’ve seen some very nice things, including the use of the Unreal Engine 5, which seems to work very well. It’s a whole new generation of hardware though, and it’s going to take some time for developers and studios to cleverly use all this power and new tools. But I see great potential, for sure!
Besides, this next gen is going to be interesting regarding the different console models; I’m curious to see how the PS5 is going to be positioned, like if there’s some spec difference between the version with and without the Blu-Ray player, or if it’s just the reading system that changes. Anyway, what stands out for me here is that Sony seems to be keeping some surprises under wraps for now.
Now, the ultra-fast SSD is also great news to me! I think it’s going to be a real leap forward in the quality of future games. The boosted reading speed will allow us to have much higher resolution textures, for example, since we can load them at an unprecedented speed. That means games with much more detail that we’ve had before, even on PC. But let me say it again: it’s going to take a few years to deal with so much more horsepower, and so the change within the games won’t be visible right away in a very significant manner. For the time being, it’s mostly the loading speed that will be drastically reduced.
Angeline – Lead Animation
There are some very promising games, even if I don’t have a real crush yet. I expect this next gen to transpose into games what we’ve been seeing in movies for a long time: a photorealistic rendering that goes beyond the typical 3D aspect of video games. I want to see something more immersive; there’s some of that in Resident Evil Village, which was introduced during the PS5 livestream. What I want to see on my TV are tiny details that close the gap with reality, like smoke, dust or more vivid sounds. Anything that helps to immerse us deeper in the experience. That’s what I want! (laughs)
And yeah, that’s obviously my job talking here. For example, on the question of faces, with the additional computing power and ultra-fast access to data, we will be able to put more movement, more matter, more precise textures, wrinkles… We will make sure that we really feel the skin moving, the muscles underneath, all these micro details that will allow us to go beyond the infamous “uncanny valley”: this theory that the more an artificial rendering tends to imitate reality, the more the smaller details make us perceive the deception. So when a character smiles, I want to see all these details; and I want realistic eyes too, it’s crucial! Oh, and the hair, of course! (laughs)
In the Resident Evil Village trailer – yes, RE again! – it’s all these details that I like, the result is awesome. And as for the clothes, it’s the same story again: you create a model, but once it’s in motion, it has to live by itself. The fabric that glides, the movement, I love it! (laughs) So that’s it, that’s all I want to see coming to life. And from what I saw on the PS5 livestream reveal, if only with Ray Tracing, which makes the lighting effects incredible, we should have the generalization of these details, in the years to come. Until now, we were cheating, with camera movements or by misdirecting attention to main elements. I guess this PS5 reveal shows a few snippets of these advances, but I feel like not everything has been shown so far.
Ronan – 3D Engine Director
Overall, I was impressed by the good visual performance of all the games revealed. The PS5’s ultra-fast SSD is a strong argument, as we could tell; for me, the game that really showed its power is Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, which deals with various environments at a breathtaking pace! It’s the only game in this presentation that really seems to take advantage of this new feature for its gameplay.
Now, as a developer, it’s the eradication of load times that I think will mark the biggest change, both for us and for the players. In the case of an engine that really takes advantage of that, it should be possible to spawn in an open world extremely quickly. For example, a game like GTA V will no longer have to use subterfuge to move from one character to another, it’s going to be at lightspeed. And for game development itself, it’s going to be really handy because our testing teams won’t be spending long stretches of time in front of loading screens. You have to understand that this famous SSD has a speed comparable to that of the PS4’s RAM, which is just incredible! Loading tons of items into memory, then making them appear instantly on the screen, won’t really be a problem anymore since access to the disk seems to be so fast.
What’s the game that stood out the most, in your opinion?
Horizon and Spider-Man sequels, mostly because I loved the previous episodes of these two games.
Resident Evil Village, definitely! The thing is, I don’t think I want to see childish games on this console. When I think of next gen, what I want is the feeling I’m seeing a movie, like “I can’t believe my eyes,” it’s to good to be true. And then I like to be scared in front of my screen, so Resident Evil must have spoken to me right away, obviously!
I would say Horizon Forbidden West, and the Demon’s Souls remake, which are two visually impressive games.
Let’s talk a little bit about the design of the console and its new controller, the DualSense. What do you think about it?
They kind of remind me a of a certain android, white and blue, in a certain game! (laughs) Of course there’s something that reminds me of Connor, we joked about it in the team. But more seriously, as far as the console is concerned, there’s some research being done on the design to optimize heat dissipation. It’s radically different from the famous V-shaped development kit , which had been known for quite a while now, but had the same purpose in terms of heat flow management. Regarding the controller, I like its design and functionality, especially the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, although I’m waiting to see what it really brings to the table.
The PS5 is a dandy, in a good old fashioned way, with a “belle époque” vibe. The high fitting collar, I like it very much, it’s so elegant! And whether it’s the controller or the console, I like the two-toned design. And yes, it reminds me of Connor RK 900! (laughs)
To be honest, I’m not very sensitive to the design of tech objects, generally speaking. As for the controller, I need to see how it feels in my hands, because there’s a force feedback on the triggers that could be really cool if it’s cleverly implemented in games. Wait and see, then!
Based on everything we’ve seen of it so far, will you buy the PlayStation 5 on Day One or will you wait a bit?
Day One, of course! (laughs) First, because it’s my job to keep up with everything that’s going on in the video game industry, to follow every evolution. And secondly, because I think that its games are going to be crazy! In my opinion, the world of video games is meant to live through this kind of machine, that’s where the major things happen, so I’m obviously enthusiastic about it. I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be like! As for the model, for me it will be without a Blu-Ray player. I’m a full digital kinda guy! I like the idea of getting my games right when they’re available, without having to move from my couch. (laughs)
No, I don’t think I’ll buy it right away; instead of Day One, it’ll be Year One. As for the version I’m going with… Let’s see… The one with Connor’s head on top of it, of course!… Wait… What do you mean it’s not gonna happen?! (laughs)
I don’t think I will buy it on the day it’s released; I usally don’t throw myself on new consoles, I’m the kind of guy who waits a little while to see what happens. And anyway, I’ve got a backlog of games to play on the current gen! But I guess I’ll buy the PS5 with the Blu-Ray player, at some point, because I don’t want to have a lot of devices under my TV. It will replace my good old PS4.
So here you have it, our first impressions on the PlayStation 5! Oh, and since we’ve been asked a lot since this presentation if Quantic Dream is working on something for the PS5… The answer is: who knows? (ok, we do know, actually ^^)