The Witness is getting updated to work with PS4 Pro

Following yesterday’s big PlayStation 4 Pro news, you can expect a whole lot of games to get swanky patches to bring them up to speed with the new ultra-high-def shenanigans of the new console. One of those games is The Witness, with Jonathan Blow sending over this quick message.

We’re doing a PS4 Pro patch! Here are the technical details.

Sounds like they’ve been waiting quite a while to make this announcement, and it’s a pretty good one to make. As The Witness already runs at a consistent 60fps on the standard PS4, the update doesn’t need to do anything with regard to framerates. Instead, the developers have been able to focus entirely on visual quality.

When you boot the game on a PS4 Pro, the console will check to see what your display device is, and one of two things will happen.

  • When using PS4 Pro with a 4k display, we will render at 1440p or possibly higher, all while keeping a consistent 60 frames per second. This image will then be upscaled to 4k, and we will draw text, menus, and other UI at native 4k resolution. (This is similar to what happens on the base PS4, where we render the 3D scene at 900p, then upscale to 1080p and draw UI at 1080p). We might be able to achieve resolutions higher than 1440p based on various engineering tradeoffs (for example, if we boost the resolution of the main scene to a greater degree than we boost the resolution of the reflections in water, which tend to be distorted anyway). We’ll post again when we finalize these specs.
  • When using PS4 Pro with a display that is 1080p or lower, we will render the scene at 1080p (instead of the old 900p), and increase antialiasing quality from 2x to 4x MSAA, again while keeping a solid 60 frames per second. We are exploring additional visual quality increases, like increased streaming distance for high-resolution meshes, or decreasing the noticeability of the fade-in between faraway LODs and high-res close-up meshes. Again, we’ll post details when this is finalized!

“Please don’t take the specifics mentioned here as absolute promises; things might change by release,” Blow warns.

We’re also working on HDR support. Here in the office we just got a new LG B6P television, which is very bright and has low black levels, providing a lot of dynamic range, and it’s been fun so far tweaking the look of the game on HDR displays like this.

Also, in case you thought developers knew all the big console secrets before you did, it seems that HDR for everyone came as a bit of a surprise to The Witness team, as well! Rather than working on HDR support only for the PS4 Pro, it seems they’re now working on it for all PS4 gamers. Hooray!

We think it’s great that Sony are doing this. We don’t know the technical details of how it will work, yet, but provided that nothing prevents us, the Witness patch will use HDR on all PS4s when available. (You will, of course, need an HDR TV or monitor for HDR mode to kick in!)

Nothing’s set in stone yet, but “if all goes well”, this new patch for The Witness will be downloadable on the same day the PS4 Pro launches – bring on November 10!

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