Even before the PS5 was revealed, we've heard developers gush about the hardware and how the technological advancements will be showcased in upcoming titles like Horizon Forbidden West and Gran Turismo 7. The console is said to be 100 times faster than the PS4, with Fortnite developer Epic Games saying the SSD speed is "so impactful" that the studio rewrote its "core I/O subsystems for Unreal Engine with the PlayStation 5 in mind."
The PlayStation 5's SSD offers speeds of up to 5.5GB/s compared to the Xbox Series X's 2.4 GB/s, and it has a lot of developers excited. Naughty Dog's Neil Druckman is one of them, and the creative director and writer of The Last of Us Part 2 has shed a little more light on what developing a game for the next-gen hardware has been like, and what makes it so different from the current generation.
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Talking to former Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime, and games journalist Harold Goldberg on the Talking Games charity Podcast, Druckman was asked which aspect of PS5 development he was most looking forward to for the studio's "next great adventure" (around 17.30 mark). The Last of Us 2 developer responded:
"It's funny, at the end of a generation you always feel the constraints. You always feel like you're just pushing against a bunch of walls and finding the little cracks where you can take things a little further. Whether it's memory, or CPU, or hard drive speed.
"And it's just when you start a new generation there's… it's a double-edged sword because, on the one hand, you have to build new tech for the new hardware and that can be an uphill battle, but on the other hand, then all of a sudden you feel this freedom of like: 'oh my god, we can breathe again and we can break away from these constraints.'"
Druckman then goes on to talk about the much lauded SSD, and what means for developers targeting Sony's platform - and it sounds like a game changer.
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"One of the things we're excited by is the Solid State Hard Drive [SSD] and what it means for almost seamless loading. Because we do so much work on our end to, once you start the adventure, never see a load screen. And there's so much work that happens behind the scenes of how we design the levels, how we chop them up, and it's all invisible to the player.
"You never see any of that work, and now, knowing that we're going to be able to load things more quickly, it just means designers don't have to be asked constraints in how they lay things out; how we think about things; when we load new characters. So I'm excited to see what doors that opens for us."
It's not just the hardware front where Microsoft and Sony will be going toe-to-toe. The Xbox family of consoles is also offering features like Smart Delivery which the PS5 has answered with its own version, as well as borrowing the Xbox Series X's 'transformative' Quick Resume feature. We're even going to see Sony launch a Digital Edition of the PS5, with Microsoft set to follow suit with the reveal of its own digital-only console in August.
Players will get to see the fruits of the devs' labour this November when they get to tuck into the new games launching for the PS5 later this year.