Devs reveal their upcoming DualSense wireless controller implementations

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Devs reveal their upcoming DualSense wireless controller implementations

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.*

Devs reveal their upcoming DualSense wireless controller implementations

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.

Ghostwire: Tokyo

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.

Scarlet Nexus

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

*Available in games that support these features.

Comments are closed.


  • Would be nice, if dualsense worked… but both of mine got extreme drift…. never had problems with dualshocks, but dualsenses went wrong really quickly….

    • weird….I have 3 Dual Sense and none of them have drift. Guess I got lucky… I hope the black and red controllers I just ordered are good!

    • Speaking of bad controllers, anyone know how to fix the triangle button feeling stuck down? It doesn’t click, it just feels like a rubbery push

    • @mushy_hiccup3 try this: take a cotton swab and dip it in medical alcohol, then circle around the button and press the button multiple times. After the alcohol evaporates it should be better. Repeat if necessary. This helped with my X being sticky, now it’s like new. If you don’t have alcohol at home, you could try something else, but don’t use cleaning products with scents or additives that can become sticky after drying..

    • We have 3 DualSense pads at my house and all work perfectly. On the contrary I’ve had about four Dualshock 4’s experience right stick drift.

      Anyway, imo the DualSense is the biggest next gen addition other than the SSD. Housemarque has utilized the tech better than anyone outside of Team Asobi. Returnal truly has spectacular haptics and the best adaptive trigger implementation yet. The rain, different guns, portals, secondary fire, jumping, dashing all use the haptics wonderfully. The Hollowseeker feels insane in your hands. WRC 9 and Destruction All-Stars have nice DualSense implementation but Returnal blows them away. The DualSense really is next gen.

    • Thx spookie–boogie, I’ll try that.

  • Can’t wait for Ghostwire Tokyo. The combat in the game sounds very unique and fresh in comparison to other first person games.

  • As someone who strongly hates controller gimmicks, I have to admit I like the haptic feedback. I wouldn’t say it revolutionizes immersion like some claim, but at least I don’t find it annoying and intrusive like the old rumble (it feels more nuanced). The adaptive triggers I’m less enthused about, they do manage to break my immersion and feel awkward at times, offering the least added value to me. Also love the joystick grip (sometimes there’s actual specs of dust stuck on there that don’t just blow off).
    One thing I think is backward is that the mic is on by default (I imagine for voice support, but I don’t use that), and the (ugly) green light turns on when you put the mic off. So I just leave the mic on to avoid that green light, but I imagine it eats batteries. To me, it just seems more natural to put the light on when the mic is on, and put both off by default.

    • I do love the trigger effect in context of turning the trigger in a simple button press (or only having to slightly push it) like in Demon’s Souls – and would love to see that implemented regularly. In any case, I haven’t turned the trigger effect off in any game so far, so it doesn’t bother me either (I was very worried about these features being introduced to my beloved controllers :p).

    • To me the dual sense controller is a revolution and this is only the beginning. Play Returnal and Astro and tell me it’s not something special with enormous potential.

      I also believe the adaptive trigger is wonderful. A game like Returnal utilizes it beautifully. It simplifies the control scheme and you really do get used to it after a little while. The implementation really is perfect in Returnal because you can’t even launch your secondary fire by accident because even if you were to fully press down L2 it just charges or sets up your secondary fire and you still have to press R2 to fire it. The only way you would accidentally fire off your secondary with the adaptive trigger is if you were just blindly firing and not paying attention at all.

      For anyone interested here’s a list of some of the best dual sense implementation I personally have experienced.

      Astro’s Playroom
      WRC 9
      Mortal Shell Enhanced
      Destruction All-Stars

      That list is in order and all five games have impressed me enormously with their haptics and/or adaptive triggers. And while Astro probably has the most nuanced and the most impressive use of the dual sense, the game was built specifically as a showcase for the controller. Returnal is a 40+ hour full-fledged game via a third party developer. It’s just more impressive to me that Housemarque was able to Master the technology in a game of this magnitude.

  • Zero search results for gyro :(

    Sony must be preparing a system-wide configuration for motion controls/aiming, no other reason to bother tucking it in the controller yet another gen and have almost no games that make use of it.

    • Ugh, hate motion controls :) Having to sit there awkwardly moving around my controller trying to aim or whatever when it’s so much easier and more precise to use physical inputs. It ruined the last Star Fox for me.
      Just curious, what do you like about motion controls?

    • Hopefully, I don’t play much with gyro because it’s not universally supported. A system-wide update would be very cool.

      Also small typo in the Ratchet piece, I believe “on” should be “one” in the second paragraph second sentence.

    • Gyro can help with fine tuning my aim, compensating recoil, or even making aim snaps (this one requires more effort, of course).

      In theory, gyroscope movement is the best way to reproduce mouse movement with a controller (esp with the Dualsense’s sensor, as Astro showed us) – and that’s how it works on PC, we use the controller gyro to control the mouse aiming. But it can get far more tiring than a mouse, of course (and even gyro can have drift…)

      I won’t expand on bad implementations (they exist) and on how gyro being mandatory instead of optional is a mistake (it is).

      If you ever want to mess around with gyro again, I can recommend Rogue Company. It’s f2p and has good gyro, with good options (individual axis sens, always-on or ADS only, aim recenter button binding). Fun game too. Just make sure to disable aim assist and enable raw gyro input – just like when using a mouse.

      (TLoU2 and Days Gone have gyro aim too, but still need to get to those two, so I can’t vouch for their gyro)

    • Days gone has always utilized gyro aiming extremely well.

      Rogue Company and Last of Us II also make great use of the feature, but I would agree that it is highly underutilized.

      It’s great to have on select titles and it can make a very nice difference, but it’s not a widely used feature. Regardless I’d still rather have it than not. Xbox controllers for example still do not have the gyro feature. It’s actually wild to me how under stocked the Xbox controllers are. No gyro, no advanced haptics or adaptive triggers, no speaker, no mic, no touch (I know touch is an afterthought), no internal battery, etc. The XB1 controller didn’t even have a headphone jack for more than half of the generation. I loved the dualshock 4 but the dual sense blows it away and I’m thrilled that Sony is finally getting credit for all of the innovative technology they always put in their controllers. The dual sense is easily the best standard controller around.

  • How about we fix the rest mode issue before we introduce new hardware, Sony?

  • The rain effect on the controller in returnal is amazing

    • The first time I felt the rain haptics in the dual sense controller I just stopped playing because I was in awe. Similarly the first time I heard thunder in the game while wearing the 3D Pulse headset I jumped. In both scenarios I took a breather and just admired the incredible use of technology and how it has enhanced the immersion.

      I find it ironic that one of the PS5 games that will push haptics the most is going to be Ghostwire Tokyo. I actually feel bad for Xbox fans because it’s their studio but they won’t get to experience that feature and in a sense we’ll be playing an inferior version of the game a year later. The dual sense controller has been a revolution rather than just an evolution. It’s truly a game changer and this is just the beginning.

    • ronaldo_slayer21

      Ya it’s nice but is it durable…👀😶

  • Is the Returnal walking animation always that weird looking or is something weird happening in that scene?

    It was kind of hard to pay attention to the dual whatever thing when all I could see was something doing some foot sliding leg twist thing.. 😜

    • Seriously?

      After combing over the clip with a fine tooth I guess I could notice a slight foot/ankle twist. I have no clue if it’s like that in the actual game and I’ve put 80 hours into eternal.

      If Selene does do a weird slight twist with her ankle I never noticed and neither will you. There is usually thick fauna at your feet and the game is typically very fast-paced. The amount of time you actually walk to destinations in the game is maybe 1%.

      But back on topic, yeah, the haptics are stunning in Returnal and that’s the point. The clip above is trying to show how you feel each raindrop in the controller, and u do, but that’s just a minuscule appetizer to what is a robust five course meal.

      Returnal is easily the freshest game I have played on PS5. It’s also probably the best game I’ve played on the system. A true masterclass in using new technology. From DualSense to 3D audio to SSD. Returnal is a PlayStation 5 showcase.

    • How can we not notice something we’ve already noticed? It’s not exactly hidden, so you could find it with a large toothed comb.

      The animation was probably slightly badly edited from the mocap or there’s an error in foot levelling. It’s minor but it kind of ruins the clip her leg being out to the side and twisting like that.

      But seriously now, take this in the kindest way. Unless you’re being paid you should try talking more like a “normal person” and less like an advertiser. I know you’re a super fan but it’s really, really cringeworthy half the things you come out with. It really doesn’t convince anyone hearing those kind of weird fakey churned out phrases. There’s paid blog staff doing that kind of thing already so be yourself instead. 😁

  • Would like to see a back button attachment for dualsense.

  • How about we upgrade the components used in the analog sticks. 6 months into using the Dual sense controller and my left stick has some nasty left drift.

    Since it’s the controller I got included with my PS5, it is still under warranty so I’ll be sending it back to Sony for repair/replacement.

  • ronaldo_slayer21

    Ya it’s nice but is it durable…👀😶

  • Returnal is a robbery, and instead of the new colors for the dualsense you should do the back buttons!
    Wake up Sony!

  • The greatest controller in gaming. Perfect for me no issues so far

  • I hope every ps5 game will have gyro/motion sensor aiming. Don’t know why Returnal doesn’t have it. Iets hope Ratchet and Clank rift apart will have gyro…

  • This controller is a game changer

  • Your console needs backwards compatibility for older gen machines and I’m not talking about PS Now I mean proper backwards compatibility where you can put in PS3, PS2 or PS1 discs and play them or at least play some of them.
    PS1 and PS2 games at least should be doable.

    Your PS5 needs a web browser. Not having a web browser in 2021 on an expensive 500 euro console is just ridiculous and a giant step backwards.
    A browser is handy I often used it.
    It’d cost nothing you could just reuse the PS4 browser and maybe update it occasionally.

    Also you need to fix the CMOS problem and I mean on the PS4 and PS3 also.
    That should never have been the case that a CMOS battery running out stops you from playing your games.
    That is also just ridiculous.

    There’s some things that devs really should be working on.

  • Imagine being so creative in the making of these controllers and then see it paired with the disgusting absolute greed of Sony…
    Gotta be frustrating to see… Not as frustrating as buying a $70 controller everytime I turn on the console… But frustrating nonetheless…
    Just fix the the joysticks ffs greedy af

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