For years people have wondered what Bloodborne could truly be like at a higher frame rate, especially if it was released on PC. Well, as it turns out, the game’s capable of running on 60fps on existing consoles thanks to the tireless work of one Australian.
Melbourne developer Lance McDonald is a regular on this site, first for his early work with Black Annex and in later years for his peerless skill in uncovering the many secrets and hidden enemies in Dark Souls and Bloodborne.
Removing Bloodborne‘s 30fps cap was an immense amount of work. In the video below, McDonald explains how it was only possible by analysing the PS4 Pro enhancement update for Dark Souls 3. From there, McDonald then back-ported the game’s use of delta time into Bloodborne.
It works “across the majority” of the Bloodborne campaign, and the expansion, without issue. Some effects, particles, elevator movement and more requires manual patching to function as normal, although the cut scenes automatically worked perfectly with the higher frame rate.
Unsurprisingly, the experience in particular is markedly different. The extra responsiveness and fluidity in combat is an obvious benefit, and it’s hopefully the kind of experience we’ll get with the PS5 (given that Bloodborne is included as one of the initial PlayStation Plus subscriber games).
“Hopefully the future of Bloodborne is bright in the hands of PlayStation Studios and with the PlayStation 5 hardware, but if not, at least we have this in the meantime,” the video description says.
I asked McDonald how long this patch was in the works. “It’s hard to say cause I’ve been studying Bloodborne and learning assembly for like 2 years now,” McDonald said over private message.
One of the bigger headaches was the cloth physics, which weren’t functioning properly under the higher frame rate. McDonald eventually got it working by using a network test version of Bloodborne. That had its own Havok physics debugger built in, allowing the Australian to troubleshoot the issues within a couple of days.
McDonald says he’ll release the patch publicly after the PlayStation 5 has released, to give Sony the first opportunity to bring 60fps Bloodborne to all players. He doesn’t expect that the PS5 version of the game will target 60 FPS unless a developer has specifically sat down to re-engineer the game, similar to what McDonald did. “You can’t just throw more power at the game,” McDonald said.
So, for everyone else, there’s McDonald’s Bloodborne patch. It won’t run unless you’re brave enough to go through the steps of making your PS4 Pro (since it requires the PS4 Pro’s Boost Mode) capable of running unsigned code. McDonald’s video doesn’t provide any assistance on that front, but if you’re interested in seeing the patch nonetheless, it’ll be released later this year after the consoles ship. You’ll also get more updates through McDonald’s Patreon page.
Update 2/12: With the PS5 not offering any advancements for Bloodborne, McDonald has since tweeted that he’ll work towards releasing his 60 FPS patch early next year. “If Sony announce a Bloodborne remaster in the meantime, I’ll delay the release of my patch,” he wrote.
For everyone waiting for my Bloodborne 60fps patch, I’ve updated the pinned comment on my YouTube video. pic.twitter.com/P4Eu3F1LPr
— Lance McDonald (@manfightdragon) December 2, 2020