The Callisto Protocol’s PS4 graphics were compared to Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us series as its developers wanted to “punch above [their] weight” on the last-generation console.
The Callisto Protocol was “built for current generation consoles” like the PS5, according to Striking Distance Studios CTO Mark James, but the game is set for a last-gen PS4 release as well. While the developers acknowledge that means “no ray tracing” for last-gen, it seems The Callisto Protocol will still look graphically stunning on PS4 thanks to comparisons with Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us.
The Callisto Protocol PS4 Graphics compared to The Last of Us
Talking to James at Gamescom 2022, we started to talk about the game’s design, and how the team initially strove to distance the game from comparisons to ‘Dead Space 4.’ Though when it came to The Last of Us, and in particular the tremendous graphical prowess of the series that Naughty Dog was able to eek on the PS4, it seems the developers were less averse to the idea.
“No ray-tracing for last-gen — back to the old techniques on there,” James told us, when we asked about how the PS5 version of The Callisto Protocol would be scaled down for PS4. “You will see a quality reduction, but yeah, we compared it to some of the hit titles from last generation, like The Last of Us and things as well. We punch above our weight in those areas as well, because if you start from a really good capture source, you can always move down into how you render it”.
Given the context and the look of The Callisto Protocol, we would presume James is talking about one of the best PS4 games, The Last of Us Part 2, here — as opposed to the ported PS3 graphics of The Last of Us Remastered. That said, we can’t actually confirm ourselves, so we’ll have to wait until The Callisto Protocol releases to find out which end of Naughty Dog’s PS4 era James meant.
In regards to that “really good capture source”, James elaborated: “We’ve got some of the best-looking characters in the industry and I stand by the way that we do that. That starts from first capturing the actors in a way that makes it very easy to have that physical information about light interaction to be represented in the game. You kind of have to start investing there, in just the capture technologies, before you even try to work out how you’re gonna render those guys in-game.
“So we started off by just taking a physical 360 of Josh [Duhamel, star of the game alongside The Boys’ Karen Fukuhara] — we used this technology used a lot in film called OLAT (this stands for One Light at a Time). We light the face, and then we just try to physically represent just that shot in our render. And then every day we added a bit more quality and a bit more quality until our head of rendering was sending around both shots and he got people to guess which one was the real one.”
James explains how this translate better to PS4 graphics by calling back to how he compared designing PS5 audio to ray tracing: “It’s the same way we’re handling 3D audio — if I start capturing audio that way, I can always like kind of dumb it’s down in the way it’s representative when your audio system doesn’t sound bad, but I’ve got that base data which makes sure the detail I’ve added into that area is much richer.” In that sense, if you’ve got the kind of cutting-edge level actor performance captures Naughty Dog use, you’ll likely get Naughty Dog level character renders even when you scale down to PS4.
It’s good news that PS4 players can not only continue to keep up with The Callisto Protocol’s trophy list, mark their own trophies checklist, and do it all in quality that aims to punch up to Naughty Dog standards. Let us know what your thoughts are on the above, and don’t forget to read up on how The Callisto Protocol’s environmental hazards will bring your mind right back to that one time you doomed yourself in Prince of Persia The Sands of Time.
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