PlayStation requires that all online multiplayer games deliver the same experience to players whether they’re using the PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro, Christian Gyrling, lead developer at Naughty Dog, told Polygon during a press event last night.
Chief among that requirement is that the frame rate for an online mulitplayer game has to be the same on both systems.
"That is a big no, no," Gyrling said about giving the Pro version of a game a higher frame rate in multiplayer. "It’s part of the requirements for PS4 Pro, for multiplayer games in particular, you can not have an advantage. It has to be the same frame rate as on the standard PS4.
"Frame rate wise, controller wise, lag, all of that will be identical."`
That said, it doesn’t mean that the Pro version of online games will look identical.
"We’re not capping the frame rate," Gyrling said. "Instead what we’re doing is making use of all of the performance of the PS4 Pro to increase resolution. So we’re not leaving anything on the table, we’re increasing things as much as we can while maintaining the same smooth frame rate and adding visual fidelity."
While the current PlayStation Pro development rules seem built around ensuring that Pro players don’t get an advantage over standard PS4 owners, there will likely still be some benefits that gamers on the Pro will receive online.
"Conceptually, if you have a 4K TV there will be more pixels and you are conceivably having slightly higher fidelity," Gyrling said. "That would be the one and only thing. But you would have that today if someone has a 720p TV or a 1080p TV, it’s a similar thing. Obviously the step up from 108op to whatever you have in your game is larger. But it’s still a matter of whatever TV you have and those settings."
Gyrling said that close combat probably won’t be impacted by the higher fidelity, but if you’re playing on a large enough map, players on a Pro will likely have an advantage from a distance.
"If there are large maps then being able to identify small objects or small movements is easier," he said. "It’s easier to pick up things like that on a 4K TV; there is more fidelity in small objects."
Single-player games can still have a higher frame rate on the Pro than on the PS4, Gyrling said, but he added that it's likely developers working on AAA games will use that power to increase visuals, not frame rates.
"Developers are free in single-player modes to make their games run at a higher frame rate if they can," he said. "For triple-A titles in particular, we tend to use everything in the machine.
"When we’re moving over from standard PS4 to PS4 Pro we have double the GPU. On the CPU side we don’t have double the CPU, we have a higher clock rate. But what it would mean is that we would be bottle-necked by the CPU.
"There are definitely games out there that don’t have that same pressure on the machine to begin with and they can definitely go and render 60 Hz instead. There is no mandate or requirements. For us it made the most sense to go high resolution but same frame rate."
Last night, PlayStation officially unveiled the Playstation 4 Pro, a console that will come with more than double the GPU power of the current PS4, a boosted CPU clock speed and a 1TB internal hard drive.