As is often the case between video game generations, several high-profile PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X games will also be available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But when it comes to the ability to start a game on a last-gen console and pick right up where you left off in the game’s next-gen version, there unfortunately isn’t one simple answer.
The one blanket response Kotaku received while researching this topic came from Microsoft, a rep for which was more than happy to explain the benefits of Smart Delivery. While every purchase of an Xbox One game coming bundled with a free upgrade to the Xbox Series X version is great, an often-overlooked aspect of Smart Delivery is that transferring game saves between generations will also be supported at the platform level.
We know for sure that the Xbox versions of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, DIRT 5, Marvel’s Avengers, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon will make use of this feature. But a whole host of games have been announced as utilising Smart Delivery in some way, too. This means that high-profile releases like Halo Infinite, Gears 5, Borderlands 3, Cyberpunk 2077, Destiny 2, Far Cry 6, Watch Dogs: Legion, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Psychonauts 2 will also support save transfers from Xbox One to Xbox Series X, despite their developers not having made explicit announcements to that effect.
The topic gets way more complicated when PlayStation 5 enters the conversation. Unless Sony says otherwise — our emails on the topic have gone unanswered — there is no system in place that will allow the transfer of saves from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5 à la Smart Delivery. As far as we can tell, this is being left up to individual developers to figure out on their own, with some deeming the feature more necessary than others. And much like with the Xbox Series X, only a few have clearly detailed their plans for the PlayStation 5.
As of now, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and Marvel’s Avengers are the only games known to support transferring progress made on PlayStation 4 to the PlayStation 5 versions. But some developers already have systems in place that may come into play.
Ubisoft, for example, introduced cross-progression via Ubisoft accounts earlier this year, and while the company hasn’t hyped the feature for PlayStation 5, that’s what a rep pointed us toward when asked about save transfers. It wouldn’t be a shock if games like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Watch Dogs made use of that existing infrastructure. Destiny 2 has a similar system in place that could also presumably carry over to PlayStation 5, but Bungie has not responded to Kotaku’s request for comment.
And finally, while DIRT 5 and Yakuza: Like a Dragon will utilise Smart Delivery on Xbox Series X, their respective developers have confirmed that neither game will support transferring saves from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5.
A lot of this confusion comes from Sony being mum on the subject. It’s currently unknown whether progress will carry over in other high-profile games, even when it comes to first-party fare like Horizon Forbidden West and Sackboy: A Big Adventure. This would be a bummer under any other circumstances, but with Microsoft pushing save transfers as a core component of Smart Delivery, the lack of a similar system from Sony is definitely a knock against the PlayStation 5.
We’ll update if Sony chooses to comment or further information comes to light.