In June, during an 85-minute event called “The Future of Gaming,” Sony finally revealed the PlayStation 5. Between the presenters who may not have been human, we got a thorough look at plenty of video games (and some technical stuff, too). The info feed surrounding the PS5 has been a slow drip, but, several months ahead of its “holiday 2020” launch, a clear picture is starting to shape up. Here’s everything we know about the PlayStation 5.
[This post originally ran on 6/12/20. We’ve bumped it up after more information about the PS5 has become available.]
First things first: Talk to me about the games.
As Microsoft handily learned the hard way back in 2013, a console is only as strong as its library. Sony nailed things in the runup to the PS4’s launch. Based on yesterday’s reveal — which was largely dedicated to showing off an impressively robust slate of games — the same can be said about the runup to the PS5.
Fans of robust open-world games will be happy to hear that Horizon Forbidden West, the followup to 2017’s well-regarded Horizon Zero Dawn, made a splashy appearance. Like the first game, there are more robot dinosaurs than people. Aloy (voiced by the inimitable Ashly Burch) makes a welcome return, as does Lance Reddick’s character. But best of all, it appears developer Guerrilla Games took a page out of Tolkien’s book and introduced mechanised oliphaunts.
Insomniac Games teased Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It’ll be a standalone adventure — perhaps not quite a full-blown game, but not mere DLC, either. According to Insomniac’s Brian Horton, the game will be akin in size and scope to Uncharted: Lost Legacy. It could be a bundle, too. Word on the street is it’ll come with a full version of 2018’s Spider-Man, itself a terrific game. (At the moment, that’s an unconfirmed rumour, though.)
In the Department of Remakes, Remasters, and Definitive Editions, Demon’s Souls is apparently getting the top-to-bottom treatment. The 2009 action role-playing game will be remade for PS5 by Bluepoint Games, the very same remaster masters who brought a new version of Shadow of the Colossus to the PS4. Thus far, Demon’s Souls looks to be coming along quite nicely:
As Kotaku reported yesterday, a Demon’s Souls remake is coming to the PlayStation 5. Let’s see how the screenshots compare to those from the PlayStation 3 original.Read more
The PS5 is already shaping up to have plenty of third-party support. Gearbox is publishing an action-fantasy game called Godfall. Bethesda has two games it’s publishing in the hopper, Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo. There’s another Hitman, another NBA 2K (which, by the way, will retail for $US70 ($98) on next-gen consoles), and another Resident Evil on the way.
Sony showed off plenty of smaller games, too, many of which look terrific. Solar Ash and Stray continue the tremendous pedigree of publisher Annapurna Interactive (If Found…, Outer Wilds, Sayonara Wild Hearts). A game called Goodbye Volcano High wowed many Kotaku staffers. Personally, I’m counting down the minutes until I can get my hands on the mystical Kena: Bridge of the Spirits.
Some of these games, like Forbidden West and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, are PlayStation exclusives. Some, particularly many of the third-party games, will come to other platforms, including PC and [gasp] Xbox Series X. Here’s a full roundup of all the games Sony teased in June, and a clarifier on which games are (and aren’t) PlayStation exclusives.
That’s cool, but when can we actually play them?
As yet, only one game is confirmed as a launch title: Astro’s Playroom. The effervescent platformer will come preinstalled on all PS5 consoles. (Yes, the PS5 is available as a bundle right out of the gate.)
Specific release dates weren’t announced for any of the games shown yesterday, but plenty are broadly scheduled for the fall and holiday 2020 season. Expect to see NBA 2K21, Bugsnax, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Arkane’s Dishonored-like Deathloop, and the fantastic-looking Kena: Bridge of the Spirits in those first few months.
If all goes as planned, the new year will start off with a (silenced) bang with Hitman 3. Agent 47’s next adventure will wrap up the trilogy that started with 2016’s episodic Hitman. The rest of 2021 seems pretty full too. Resident Evil Village and Ghostwire: Tokyo will assuredly scare some people, but not me, because I am too tough and strong. Both of the Annapurna games, Solar Ash and Stray, are planned for 2021, as is Goodbye Volcano High. Before 2021 wraps up, Grand Theft Auto V will release on the PS5, marking the third console generation for Rockstar’s open-world bad-boy game. It’ll be free for PS5 owners for the first three months.
Just one game is currently scheduled for 2022: Pragmata, a game about… Um… Well, there’s a feline hologram. Times Square makes an appearance, looking not unlike how it does currently. Then it’s off to the moon. Whatever else you hear, Pragmata can only be described right now with two words: “Who knows!”
What’s the box art look like for these games?
Well, those who enjoyed the PS4 box art won’t complain. The PS5 box art is more or less identical to the PS4 box art, except with a white banner and black text, rather than a blue banner and white text. Really, that’s not a joke. See for yourself:
After months of rumours, pleading, and undercover operatives gone missing, Sony’s finally revealed the final look of PlayStation 5 retail game cases. Please contain your excitement. Also, I hope you like white rectangles.Read more
Speaking of the PS4, what’s the deal with PS5 backwards compatibility?
Good news: The PS5 will be backwards compatible! Bad news: Only kind of.
As revealed in March, Sony is targeting the top 100 most-played PS4 games, ranked by playtime, for backwards compatibility, but the PS4’s catalogue is more than 4,000 titles deep. According to Mark Cerny, the console’s lead architect, due to some technical restrictions, each game has to be hand-tested for PS5 functionality, so it’s only natural the biggest games get first crack on the shiny new console. Sony hasn’t shared yet but fingers crossed for God of War!
One potential workaround could be PSNow. The monthly games-on-demand subscription allows gamers to play more than 800 PlayStation games dating back to the PS2 era. It’s a terrific service, particularly when compared to what it looked like at launch. But at the moment, Sony hasn’t offered up any official word about its possible availability on the PS5.
What’re the technical specs for this thing?
In May, Epic Games showed off an eye-popping tech demo “running on PS5.” For the tech enthusiasts, Kotaku’s Mike Fahey has the full rundown of the stuff under the hood. For everyone else, here are the key tidbits:
- It’ll have 825 GB of internal storage. That’s significantly more than the 500 GB included in first-edition PS4s, but still less than the 1 TB promised in Microsoft’s Xbox Series X.
- That storage will be a solid-state drive (SSD), rather than a hard disk drive (HDD). SSDs tend to offer faster load times than HDDs. Technical footage we’ve seen thus far corroborates this.
- But worry not! The PS5 will support external HDDs via USB.
- A digital edition will also be available. It won’t have a disc drive, so you’ll have to download all of your games.
- The PS5 will have ray-tracing, which, to put it simply, will make lighting effects work much like light works IRL.
- Thanks to proprietary tech called Boost, the PS5 will be able to automatically adjust GPU and CPU usage to make games run smoother.
- The I/O throughput is–
Yeah, yeah, yeah… How many teraflops?
What’s the word on virtual reality?
So far, VR has been discussed in terms that are as tepid and vague as possible. Speaking to CNET, Sony’s Jim Ryan confirmed that “the current PlayStation VR is compatible with PS5.” The camera seen in Sony’s big PS5 event was “peripheral” and won’t be included with launch editions of the console. Beyond that? Zilch. Hey, at least those expensive PSVR units won’t go unused next generation!
Why does the PS5 look like that?
We got our first look at the console during the event, and the internet writ large immediately went to town. Within a matter of minutes, social media meme machines went into overdrive and compared the PS5’s design to [deep breath] default ISP routers, the Barclays Centre, a Wii cosplaying as Batman, Destiny helmets, air humidifiers, popped collar polos, ducks, and Detroit: Become Human characters.
Personally, I think it looks magnificent and belongs in a museum — preferably behind four-inch thick glass, where cats and children will never be able to besmirch that pristine powder-snow plastic. But I’ll let you judge for yourself:
You’d think the PS5 controller would be called the DualShock 5. Think again — this one’s called the DualSense. Whatever you think of the design, it’s a marked improvement over the already-solid DualShock 4. The DualSense will have adaptive triggers, meaning you can feel the tension shift as you do in-game tasks. It’ll also feature haptic feedback. And the Share button is gone, replaced by a “Create” button. (Sony hasn’t shared what, exactly, the difference is between the two.)
How are the memes?
Amazing. Top-notch stuff.
Are we still talkin’ ‘bout Bugsnax?
Oh, most definitely.
Will I have trouble getting one at launch?
Maybe — but maybe not. According to reports in Nikkei and Bloomberg, Sony plans on ramping up initial production from around 5 or 6 million units to roughly 10 million. For context, according to The Verge, the PS4 sold 5 million or so units in its launch window. This nearly doubled PS5 output likely indicates that Sony is anticipating a lot of excitement for the latest console. Of course, the covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating any time soon, and we have no clue how it will impact the supply line later this year; shipping these units across the Pacific could prove difficult. Only time will tell on this one.
OK, so, what are we still in the dark on?
We haven’t heard anything about the God of War franchise (sad trombone). We know that the PS5 has a planned holiday 2020 release, but we don’t know exactly when. And, above all else, we haven’t the faintest clue what it costs. Is Sony in for another “five-hundred and ninety-nine U.S. dollars” debacle? Only time will tell.
We’re still months away from the “holiday 2020” season, which means we’re months away from the Xbox Series X existing in the wild. There’s a new Halo on the horizon, and we’ve all heard plenty about those teraflops, but beyond that, information has come out slower than self-serve frozen yogurt....Read more
Update: 7/30 1:30 p.m.: We’ve updated text throughout for relevancy and also added information about virtual reality, console production, and game box art. We’re also still talking about Bugsnax.