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Here’s Why Horizon Forbidden West Burning Shores Is Only On PS5

In Horizon Zero Dawn, the closest you got to flying was getting on a Longneck and riding it to the tippy top of its disc-like head. In Horizon Forbidden West, flying mounts gave Aloy a bird’s eye view of the post-apocalyptic landscape, and to make sure players were convinced they were soaring through the air on the back of a robot dinosaur, Guerilla Games spent a long time making sure that the clouds were just right.

Burning Shores will take Forbidden West’s clouds and dial them up to eleven. It’s a computationally difficult process creating volumetric clouds and rendering them in real-time, and unfortunately, the PS4 just couldn’t do it. That’s why Burning Shores is only coming out on the PS5.


Related: Burning Shores Will Get Me To Finish Horizon Forbidden West

“The cloud systems that we developed for Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West were fast because they didn’t store clouds as 3D objects, but rather instructions on creating 3D clouds from limited 2D information,” Guerilla Games FX artist Andrew Schneider explained over on the PlayStation Blog. “The PlayStation 5 can handle larger datasets. So, after Forbidden West wrapped, we set to work writing a voxel cloud renderer prototype that could live up to our standards for quality, and actually allow the player to fly through highly detailed cloud formations.”

Unlike Zero Dawn, which still had 2D cloud layers, and Forbidden West’s occasional 3D “fog-like” objects that provided the illusion of cloud density, Burning Shores will have true volumetric cloud layers at both low and higher altitudes. This creates a “huge quantity of volumetric voxel data” that renders through a combination of upscaling low-detail voxel into higher detail and faster accessing of compressed memory. Throw in some lighting optimizations to make the clouds diffuse light in a way that’s believable and you get Burning Shores’ clouds.

“The clouds are not simply immersive scenery but an explorable landscape in themselves,” Schneider adds. “Among the clouds, players will be able to explore tunnels, caves, and other surprises that make for fun flying.”

Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores arrives on April 19 only for the PS5.

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