How PS4 Pro will enhance Horizon Zero Dawn

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How PS4 Pro will enhance Horizon Zero Dawn

Guerrilla Games reveals how it’s harnessing the power of Pro

Horizon Zero Dawn is an action RPG set in a lush post-post-apocalyptic open world in which humanity is no longer the dominant species. Machines, not mankind, rule the Earth.

We’re very excited about HDR, 4KTVs, and PS4 Pro in general, but to be clear, the game we demonstrated at the past two E3s was running on standard PS4 hardware. We’re dedicated to making a game that looks great regardless of the model it’s played on; it will look beautiful on PS4, and will look even better on PS4 Pro, particularly if you own an HDR-compatible 4KTV.

Horizon Zero Dawn

As we showed at the PlayStation 4 Pro reveal event last month in New York City, the extra power of the new hardware allows us to get even closer to our vision for a lush and vibrant living world. The extra detail in the natural environment and the enhanced colors really add to the experience.

We’ve used the PS4 Pro’s enhanced hardware to do some exciting things for Horizon Zero Dawn’s art style. For us, Horizon Zero Dawn is all about scope, scale and visual splendor. Though the game is technically post-apocalyptic (or perhaps more accurately, post-post apocalyptic) we wanted to create a vision of nature reclaiming the Earth. PS4 Pro’s power afforded us a number of interesting possibilities to expand this vision even further.

For starters, for players who still possess standard 1080p HDTVs, we’re able to offer far better image quality. We’ve got a number of techniques at our disposal. The most logical one is supersampling. This is a very high-quality anti-aliasing technique, which basically means we internally render at a higher resolution (close to 4K) before shrinking it down to the final 1080p resolution.

Horizon Zero DawnHorizon Zero Dawn

As our internal calculations are done at a resolution much higher than 1080p, more detail survives before we shrink it down to 1080p, resulting in smoother edges – virtually no jaggies – and a more stable image.

We’re also looking at enhancing the quality of our shadow maps and increasing the quality of our anisotropic filtering. This is a technique which increases the quality of texture sampling, resulting in more detailed environment textures. We still have to tweak these elements of the 1080p output quality for the final game, but we have quite a bit of power yet to play with.

In addition, Horizon Zero Dawn on PS4 Pro will fully support users with 4KTVs, outputting at a much higher resolution. We’re rendering 2160p checkerboard, which is a special technique that looks incredibly good on a 4K TV. You’re going to notice a ton of subtle details, from stitching on Aloy’s outfit, individual leafs and branches swaying in the wind, kilometers away in the distance and more detail in all machines and NPCs in the world.

Horizon Zero DawnHorizon Zero Dawn

Then there’s HDR, or high dynamic range, which is a brand-new feature that enhances the range of colours we can display. It’s very exciting and hard to explain, as it’s something which most people haven’t ever seen before, so they don’t know what to expect. You can’t print it, it’s not in cinemas, your phone’s screen can’t do it. The only thing that you can compare HDR with is reality.

We normally have to do a lot of work in the engine to take an internal high dynamic range image and then make it suitable to be displayed on a normal TV. A lot of colour fidelity gets lost in the process. If you own an HDR-enabled TV, we don’t have to lose that data and you’re looking at the image in its full glory, with brighter and deeper colours, more contrast and vibrancy, in its pristine state. The benefits are truly awesome.

For me as a developer, the most exciting thing about the PS4 Pro is that it provides a lot of extra processing power. It will be interesting to come up with different ways to put that additional horsepower to use – from finding more efficient ways to output at high resolution, to giving non-4K players more display options, and much more.

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  • This paragraph is key: “We’re very excited about HDR, 4KTVs, and PS4 Pro in general, but to be clear, the game we demonstrated at the past two E3s was running on standard PS4 hardware. We’re dedicated to making a game that looks great regardless of the model it’s played on;”

    To all developers – please remember there is 40 million PS4 users out there – yes some hardcore will buy the Pro, but please don’t forget the rest of us. Also please make it clear what footage you are showing. Pro or standard PS4. I hope I don’t get left behind just because I can’t afford a Pro.

    • If you trade your old ps4 in at EB they give you a fair bit for it as they are having a deal atm. Also 3 days before it comes out, they are having a deal where you get more for your games.

      I think its a no brainer to trade the old ps4 in and get the pro, it will be worth it in the long run.

    • Not all people can sell a console for a good buck, also the money you get wont be half what you will need to dish out for the new console. I don’t think it would be fair to tell my misses to buy a new ps4 to replace a working ps4… for slightly better graphics. The PS4 is already great, the visuals they CAN get if they want are already great.

      Besides i dont game on my 4K tv.

    • I also wanne add,

      Its me personally that sais this.
      Everyone needs to decide for themselves if the upgrade is worth it or not.
      We all have our reasons, to upgrade or not and everyones financial pocket is different.

      I say kudos to GG to give us the nice details, and the game will be great on any ps4 u play :D.

  • Sony. Not giving a **** about you since 2006. (Aside from a brief spell during 2013/2014)

  • ps4 pro bundles ??

  • Nice to hear more about enhancements for PS4 Pro on a 1080p display. I hope you can do even more with the hardware in this area up until launch. :)

  • It’s nice to see enhancements for those of us still rocking expensive 1080p sets. I’ve absolutely no intention of upgrading my 3D 1080p TV to 4K for the foreseeable and I’d pretty much scotched the idea of going for a Pro, but if there is a performance benefit to running one with (just) a 1080p TV I “may” just take the plunge.

  • I’ll stick with my Plebstation 4. I can play everything, except the few exclusives that interest me, on my vastly superior PC.

    Console gaming didn’t turn out that well this generation. PS3 was great as it had lots of “B-tier” games that were great, such as Vanquish, El Shaddai, Shadows of the Damned, Lollipop Chainsaw and many other zany, wacky and fun games. PS4 lacks unique content. There’s only a handful of games coming out for it exclusively in the near future that interest me, most of the titles are brain-dead AAA titles from the big publishers that I could play elsewhere should I want to.

    Buying PS4 “pro” seems pointless.

    • It may be hard to recall but this generation has actually started much the same way as the last gen did, there wasnt a lot going on for the first few years of 360/PS3. All the games you mentioned from last gen came out after 2010. Give it time and this gen will have some good B-Tier games, just gotta see it through.

      On a related note I do wish Platinum Games would work one more original games and less Activision licensed crap, Transformers Devastation has been the only decent game to come of that partnership.

    • PS4 and PS4 Pro prices are very hard to beat

    • Completely ridiculous post. The main reason most of us gamers own high-end PCs is almost exclusively due to image quality and FPS outside of controller preference. The entire reason I sold my PS4 to upgrade to the Pro was purely about image quality. I cannot stand jaggies in games. FPS is also a problem on MP games and any other game that is going for the gold.

      Pointless? To someone that has no idea what they are talking about it’s pointless. So while I have a 1070 in my PC and enjoy all those benefits I will now enjoy a superpowered PS4 experienc every similar to that with Sony’s wide array of exclusives. Just in the next couple months there is Last Guardian, Horizon, and Show 17. Way more than enough to justify the small 150 dollar investment after I sold my PS4.

      So yeah not pointless. Totally reasonable in fact.

  • Good to see we’re clearly getting shafted for those who care about graphics over anything else instead of working with what you have.

    Thanks for selling out guys, good job.

  • I reserved my PS4 Pro for day one and just bougth the Sony 49X800D 4K HDR TV for 1099$ in cad dollars ( 949$ in USD ). Also will, sell my Standard PS4 for 250$ and will put this money on PS4 Pro. Just want to say, in my opinion, that all these “Upgrades” are quite affordable. I’m ready for november 10th !! ;)

  • People crying here are so funny, don´t like? Go away!

    Very happy GG to make this Ps4 Pro game with so many features for us who already bought a Pro, mine arrives next week, can´t wait to replay Uncharted 4, Last of Us and play MwR, Horizon, FF XV, Mass effect and much more on it, excited levels over 9000!

    Go Sony!

    • No [DELETED] the consoles tweens are crying themselves to sleep as we speak. WAH guys they are releasing a better PS4 like every other kind of technology does in the 2-5 year timeframes. WAH.

    • Quite ironic that while you rip into “tweens”, you do it with a high level of immaturity yourself. Bravo.

  • The Pro isn’t really worth shelling out again for imo.

    • Eh, if I take into account that I can sell my old PS4 for about £150 and the 2TB drive I installed in it for another £50 it only comes out at £150. Not bad for a decent upgrade, cheaper than a new graphics card for my PC that’s for sure.

  • You know something is badly wrong with Sony when they keep hyping the Pro and basically stopped talking about the “powerful” PS4 — you know, the system that was bought by 50 millions idiots like you and me.

    Thankfully I’ll rebuild my PC next year, after my pathetic PS+ membership runs out.

  • F**k 4K ! What about fps ? I dont need 4k to enjoy game what I really need is fluid 60fps+ :) pls make a 60fps option

  • Typical comments seen on any post where spec is mentioned

    * Superior Pc Gaming – Then why are you using all that power to comment on a playstation forum? Go and play a game we will NOT miss you.

    * It’s not really worth it – Then don’t buy it. Nobody is forcing you too. Sony have said there will not be any exclusive pro titles so if you don’t want / can’t afford it then don’t buy it.

    * I’m going to cancel…etc – Well done you, in other news that nobody cares about I had weetabix for breakfast.

  • Glad the post points out the benefits for people with 1080p TVs. There hasn’t been much talk about the benefits in other games.

    I will be getting a Pro at launch and I am looking forward to getting one.

    Finally lol to all the negative comments above.

  • “We’re also looking at enhancing the quality of our shadow maps and increasing the quality of our anisotropic filtering. This is a technique which increases the quality of texture sampling, resulting in more detailed environment textures. We still have to tweak these elements of the 1080p output quality for the final game, but we have quite a bit of power yet to play with”

    I want to know if those improvements are just for the 1080p mode only or are regular for the PS4 PRO version in any mode, because I noticed more and increased particle effects in Infamous Last Light too. I hope such enhanced graphical effects aren’t exclusive to the 1080p mode. Thanks.

    • More than likely they might be in some respects. Pushing checkerboard is no easy feat.

    • People finally need to deal with the fact that your precious console should not and now WILL NOT be the only thing available for ten [DELETED] years. THANK GOD Sony grew some balls and realized not all of us want the cheap [DELETED] version of the console with weaker graphics for near a decade. THANK GOD.

    • Why do you get so angry about others’ opinions? Learn to relax.

  • Glad the game is wonderful on my normal PS4 too and even better if a get a Pro (but for now, no 4k HDR TV, can’t afford it, yet).
    I really hope other games will benefit even if played on a 1080p TV.

  • In other words “We’ve been working on the PS4 pro for ages as we all knew Sony were doing it” – cheers Sony. Not even three years in and the supposed most powerful console ever now isn’t and you expect us to buy a whole new console for a few minor adjustments? Screw that. How about you prove you’re “for the players” and let everyone with a PS4 trade in their console for the Pro for a tiny or now fee? Nah, course not. “For the players” my backside.

  • This looks awesome. Only thing holding me back from a Pro purchase right now is customisation – I love my Destiny-themed PS4. Can we get some colour /theme options?

  • If every game was guaranteed to have a 1080p/60fps mode i wound buy in a heartbeat but as it stands i see little reason to get one.
    I’d take 1080p/60fps upscaled to 4k any day over “checkerboard” 4k 30fps

  • Woah, did I miss the blog post where Sony announced that non-Pro PS4s would be downscaled to 480p resolution? Because, otherwise, I’m pretty sure that the PS4 will continue to perform exactly the same way it has until now. So, no, nobody is getting shafted or ripped off or whatever: the console you bought will keep delivering the service that you bought it for.

    If you were happy with the PS4 when you bought it, nothing has changed. You want a little bit of extra horsepower, because maybe you’ll be getting a 4k TV soon or those fps are making sexy eyes at you? Get the Pro. You don’t think it’s worth it for whatever reason (cost, limited tangible benefits, your original PS4 was consecrated by Mark Cerny personally)? Then don’t get the Pro.

    It seems that the only thing that would satisfy some people is if Sony either a) gave away the Pro for free to all PS4 owners – you know, like Samsung and Apple do every year when they release their new phones… – or b) used their technomancy secret arts to magically infuse all current PS4 with the Pro’s capabilities.

    Me, I’m going to trade in my PS4 for €200, throw in a couple of games too, and upgrade to the Pro for about €150. It’s worth it **for me**. As they say, your mileage may vary.

  • The game looks great and I’m excited for the PS4 Pro. I want to make sure that both resolutions will run in HDR? Will this be the default color display mode? The reason I ask is because this weekend I just watched my first HDR movie and when I fired up the movie my TV switched to HDR and I had to adjust the picture a little bit. Secondly, HDR uses a lot of TV processing features by default which adds input lag. What about games in the future that have online play that should be played in the Game Mode setting on your TV, which from my understanding doesn’t display HDR content?

  • Hello,

    When will PS4 Pro be available in India.

  • For racers, fighters and shooters i want a frame rate bump above anything else. Especially racers, give me 60fps and you can keep your graphical upgrades.

  • Come to think of it, I want choice. Give us a few options like on a PC. Some people want more frames others want it to be more shiny. I want CHOICE.

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