From tactile sensations to bursts of emotional energy, here’s a peek at some creative uses for the DualSense controller.
Earlier today we revealed two striking new colors for the DualSense wireless controller: Cosmic Red and Midnight Black, both available starting in June. This update was paired with an insightful Returnal deep dive that highlighted Housemarque’s amazing implementation of the DualSense controller’s many features.
To round out today’s news, we’ve also gathered a few updates from upcoming games that take advantage of adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, and more. If you’ve played titles like Returnal and Astro’s Playroom, you know how integral the DualSense controller can be to the full experience. We’re excited to see (and feel!) how developers use the controller to further pull players into the game.*
Here’s what they had to say:
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Insomniac Games: We love how the fidelity of the controller’s haptics allow us to give so many things in the world a distinct feel and the range allows us to support bombastic responses like explosions all the way down to footsteps without the sensation getting old. Although firing weapons and striking different surfaces with your wrench were no-brainers for haptics, we found that we could also use many more subtle cues that make the haptic canvas feel full.
For example, the simple act of picking up bolts from a defeated enemy is that much more satisfying when you feel a tiny impulse from each on in your hands, complemented by a subtle controller sound. Simply using the weapon wheel or scanning the map become more enjoyable when you feel a faint click as you highlight objects.
Subnautica: Below Zero
Unknown Worlds: When we first held a DualSense controller in our hands, we knew we had to take advantage of its awesome features in Subnautica: Below Zero (launching on PS4 and PS5… tomorrow!).
We’ve taken advantage of haptic feedback by connecting players to certain powered tools. You’ll feel like you’re actually turning on the Flashlight’s switch, or feel the coil of the cable in your PrawnSuit as it launches from your Grappling Arm. The drilling sensation as you drill for resources with your Drill Arm also adds to the immersion.
When players use the new Metal Detector tool and select a target resource, we use rumble and vibration to help players actually feel where their target is through the controller. Varying levels and speeds of vibration rumble in the correct direction of the resource helps let players know if things are on their left, to their right, or right in front of them, simply by holding their controller.
To help emphasize how close players are to their target, we also use the new RGB Strip of the DualSense controller to pulse faster as players get closer to their resource objective. Driving both the directional vibration and the RGB pulse is the actual data that the in-game tool is receiving in real-time, so it’s always dynamic and accurate to what the player is seeing and feeling while playing.
With these great features combined, it really feels like you have a working Metal Detector tool in your hands.
Tango Gameworks: The opportunities that DualSense controller technology presents for Ghostwire: Tokyo couldn’t excite us more. The combination of haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and built-in audio lets players further immerse themselves in the supernatural world of the game.
With haptic feedback, players attune themselves to their surroundings, aided by otherworldly voices emanating from the controller’s speakers. This lets you use your “sixth sense,” perceiving things normal humans cannot and using that insight to help solve the many mysteries enveloping the city of Tokyo.
In combat, players weave elemental powers with their hands to take on malicious spirits, and the DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers bring these powers to life by offering each their own distinct, tangible feeling. Even with your eyes closed, you can tell the difference between wielding snappy, precise bursts of wind; the destructive rush of water; and the raw devastation of fire. Attempting risky exorcisms at close range is even more intense, as the triggers help simulate the act of pulling a spectral enemy’s core out with your own hands.
As players hone their supernatural prowess, the controller’s capabilities will also “power up.” The stronger their abilities become, the stronger the feedback from the controller will be, creating a noticeable sensation of real progress that we cannot wait for Ghostwire players to experience themselves.
Life is Strange: True Colors
Deck Nine: At its core, Life is Strange: True Colors is about connecting with people through Alex Chen’s psychic power of Empathy. Alex’s supernatural ability allows her to view and experience the strong emotions of others through their brightly colored auras – and so the burning red of Anger, sharp purple of Fear, deep blue of Sadness, and shining gold of Joy will all blaze into life through the new light bar as you connect with each of them.
As you explore the streets and spaces of Haven Springs, reaching out with Alex’s growing power using the left trigger, you’ll find the trigger feedback strength ramps up as the power builds in intensity, haptically hinting at the volatile, supernatural sense that’s just barely under Alex’s control. Even as Alex becomes more confident in her power across the arc of the game, it’s never something she taps into lightly.
Bandai Namco: In Scarlet Nexus, players will wield psychokinetic abilities to lift and hurl objects at enemies. The DualSense controller is a great match for this power, as both the haptics and adaptive triggers enhance the sensation of smashing pieces of the environment into foes.
When you lift and toss objects, you will feel the flow of the hero’s power, no matter if it’s from left to right, or front to back. When the object moves from left to right on-screen, the sensation is achieved by having the left motor vibrate then move along to the right motor.
Moreover, adaptive triggers provide players with a more realistic game experience. Just like you sense weight and resistance while picking up objects in real life, you’ll feel like you’re lifting an in-game object with your own strength.
Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation 2
Bandai Namco: The PS5 version of GBO2 utilizes the DualSense controller to better imitate the feeling of firing various weapons, from resistance when pulling the trigger to feedback that indicates your projectile hit its target.
When using L2 or R2 for attack, pilots will notice a resistance to simulate the pulling of an actual trigger. For example, with the bazooka the resistance will cause the trigger to catch at the input position just before the bullet is fired, and as you continue to pull the trigger, the bullet will fire and release the tension. We have also created a stronger rumble at the time of discharge, and a longer trail (the rumbling will last longer) to recreate the discharge of a larger caliber bullet.
We also made modifications to the vibration patterns of different weapons – you’ll have a unique sensation whether you are using a machine gun or beam rifle. For melee attacks, we’ve recreated the effect of your hands feeling tingly after you hit something. When your attack lands on an opponent, the effect is meant to feel like you’ve dealt a heavy blow to them.
This new tactile experience is based on the sound file for each weapon to provide both the audio and haptic feedback, while the weapon fire and weapon switch audio will output from the DualSense controller’s built-in speaker, making your experience as immersive as possible.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Ember Lab: Development with the DualSense controller has allowed us to add a deeper level of immersion to the experience in Kena. As a Spirit Guide, Kena can transform her staff into a bow and this mechanic takes full advantage of the DualSense adaptive triggers. When Kena draws her bow, players can feel the resistance in the triggers as the wood bends and strains under pressure. In combination with the haptic feedback, the player has the sensation of drawing a bow.
Housemarque: The immediate new potential DualSense brought to the table is the ability to fully convince and immerse with haptic feedback detail that simply was not possible before. We can now provide subtle details that cross the threshold for what the hands and brain believe to be real and truly bring the players consciousness into the world on screen.
As an example, the rain in Returnal is complemented by subtle raindrop haptic pulses, that are procedurally synthesised at runtime, which allowed us to refine and tweak the feel of them on the fly whilst playing in-game. The end result of that approach is that along with the visuals and audio, the haptic sensations produced by the DualSense controller give your subconscious brain yet another indication that it really is in the world of Atropos, standing in the rain. (Check out the full article for more details!)
More on today’s DualSense controller updates
- Devs reveal their upcoming DualSense wireless controller implementations
- How Housemarque created Returnal’s immersive DualSense controller effects
- Two new DualSense wireless controller colors hit shelves starting next month
*Available in games that support these features.