Is Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores available on PlayStation 4?

Is Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores available on PlayStation 4? (Image via PlayStation)
Is Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores available on PlayStation 4? (Image via PlayStation)

Horizon Forbidden West, the long-awaited sequel to Guerrilla Games' open-world action role-playing game, was easily one of the biggest PlayStation releases of 2022, and still holds up as one of the most technically and visually impressive games out there. Despite being a cross-gen title, Horizon Forbidden West still reigns as the perfect showcase title for the PlayStation 5.

With the base game being quite popular among PlayStation fans, it is no surprise that the upcoming Burning Shores DLC for the game also has fans very excited. Burning Shores is a single-player story DLC for Horizon Forbidden West that takes Aloy to an entirely new part of the map, filled with new stories to experience, characters to interact with, and hostile machines to go up against.

With Burning Shores' looming release date, some players might be wondering whether the DLC will be available on both PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4, considering the base game is a cross-gen title. Unfortunately, Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores is releasing exclusively for the PlayStation 5, leaving behind the game's PS4 version.


Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores will be released exclusively for the PlayStation 5

Among the many things that Burning Shores brings to the table are the cloud simulation techniques that Guerrilla Games has implemented to deliver a truly breathtaking experience while flying around on a Sunwing. Simulating dense clouds is something that would've been an impossible task on the PlayStation 4, especially considering the console's aging CPU and slow HDD bandwidth.

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In a PlayStation Blog interview, Andrew Schneider, Principal FX Artist at Guerrilla Games, had the following to say on the cloud simulation system and why it wasn't feasible to get the system running on the old console hardware:

"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. 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.”
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Talking about the advantages PS5's hardware and SSDs bring to the table and how it affects Burning Shores, Mathijs de Jonge, Game Director of Horizon Forbidden West, stated:

"One of our key priorities with Horizon games is to add a ton of detail and richness to our environments. On Horizon Forbidden West, everything we added or increased was something we’d need to have a plan around how to optimize for PS4 as well. On Burning Shores, since we can just focus on PS5, we’ve been able to charge forward and we’re really excited about what we’ve been able to pull off in creating this stunning post-post-apocalyptic version of Los Angeles."

He also spoke about the hardware required to support the detailed environments in the game:

"The cityscape ruins of LA and its surroundings are highly detailed and require a lot of processing power as well as fast streaming technology to run properly; especially when the player is flying over the lands and can see a lot at once. One of the settlements is situated in and around those detailed ruins, and we were able to squeeze a lot of activity in there."

Mathijs de Jonge also stated that Burning Shores features a "particular battle scene" that requires a lot of processing power as well as GPU bandwidth, which would've been an impossible task to execute on the PlayStation 4, especially the base PS4. While he did not mention any specifics, it can be speculated that the resource-intensive battle scene might be against Horus, aka, the Metal Devil.

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The PlayStation 4, at this point, is nearly a decade old, and while some new games are still being ported to the console, there has to be a time when developers eventually have to make the switch over to current-gen hardware.

With most flagship PlayStation titles this year, including Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores, Final Fantasy XVI, and Marvel's Spider-Man 2, releasing exclusively for the PS5, it seems 2023 is the year that finally sees the developers making the transition to current-gen console hardware.


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Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores is scheduled to be released on April 19, 2023, for the PlayStation 5.