12.20.2019 7:22 PM

Gaming

'Last of Us 2' leaks hint at a massive leap forward for future PS5 games

A major gameplay headache may finally be a thing of the past.

Naughty Dog

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will come souped up with solid-state drives, which will greatly reduce the time spent waiting for games to load. Now, it seems that the next Sony console could do away with this pesky headache altogether.

The Last of Us Part 2 co-game director Kurt Margenau suggested that the Sony exclusive might not include loading screens at all. He responded to a tweet from independent developer Rami Ismail, who asked how game-makers could make loading screens more bearable.

“What’s a loading screen?” he wrote back on Thursday.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that a PS5 remaster of TLOU 2 might offer seamless gameplay without hard cuts into loading screens. Sony and its partner studios have already proven that they’re on the cusp of achieving this, and the PS5 hardware could be the final piece of the puzzle.

Modern games already use creative techniques to create the illusion of no loading screens. For example, God of War (2018) was largely presented as a single, unbroken tracking shot. However, the main way to travel between realms in the game was actually a sneaky loading screen. The process was visually stunning and more enjoyable than watching a loading bar, but still became repetitive over the course of a full playthrough.

The PS5’s SSD could eliminate the need to design games like this, ushering in new open-world environments that can seamlessly be explored.

Back in May, Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki tweeted footage of Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida demoing how the PS5 can render the environment of the 2018 hit Marvel’s Spider-Man roughly ten times faster than the PS4 Pro. With that kind of speed, loading game segments in real time is within reach. Sony has already patented a technique it may use to make that kind of gameplay experience a reality.

A visual representation of how the patent describes splitting a game map into various segments and pre-loading all adjacent areas players move to different places on the map.USPTO

The company filed a continuation patent over the summer that described how a future gaming system could split up game environments into various pieces to enable smooth loading transitions.

The Last of Us Part 2 has been delayed until May 29 and the PS5 is set for launch in late 2020.

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