Callisto Protocol’s PS4 graphics were compared to Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us series because its developers wanted to “hit it above [their] weight” on the latest generation console.
The Callisto Protocol was “designed for current-gen consoles” like the PS5, according to Striking Distance Studios technical director Mark James, but the game is also slated for a next-gen PS4 release. Although the developers acknowledge that this means “no ray tracing” for the latest generation, it seems Callisto Protocol will still look graphically stunning on PS4 thanks to comparisons to Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us.
Callisto Protocol PS4 graphics compared to The Last of Us
While chatting with James at Gamescom 2022, we started talking about the game’s design and how the team initially strove to steer the game away from “Dead Space 4” comparisons. However, when it came to The Last of Us, and in particular the series’ tremendous graphical prowess that Naughty Dog was able to achieve on PS4, it seems the developers were less opposed to the idea.
“No ray tracing for the last generation – back to old techniques there,” James told us, when we asked how the PS5 version of the Callisto protocol would be scaled down for PS4. “You’ll see a reduction in quality, but yeah, we’ve compared it to some of the last gen blockbuster titles, like The Last of Us and such. We’re punching our weight in those areas as well, because if you start from a very good source of capture, you can always lean on how you render it”.
Given the context and look of The Callisto Protocol, we’d assume James is talking about one of the best PS4 games here, The Last of Us Part 2, as opposed to ported PS3 graphics from The Last of Us Remastered. That said, we can’t confirm ourselves, so we’ll have to wait until The Callisto Protocol is released to find out what end of the PS4 era of Naughty Dog James meant.
Regarding this “really good source of capture”, James explained, “We have some of the best looking characters in the business and I stand by the way we do it. It starts with the first capture of the cast of a way that makes it really easy to have that physical information about light interaction to represent in-game. You kind of have to start investing there just in capture technologies before you even try to figure out how you’re going to make these guys Ingame.
“So we started by taking a 360 physical from Josh [Duhamel, star of the game alongside The Boys’ Karen Fukuhara] — we used this technology widely used in movies called OLAT (it stands for One Light at a Time). We light up the face and then just try to physically represent that plane in our render. And then every day we added a little more quality and a little more quality until our renderer sent in both shots and had people guess which one was the real one.”
James explains how this translates better to PS4 graphics by recalling how he compared PS5 audio design to ray tracing: “It’s the same way we handle 3D audio – if I start capturing the audio this way i can still like a bit dumb as long as it’s representative when your sound system doesn’t sound bad but i have this basic data which ensures that the details i added in this area are much richer.” In that sense, if you have the kind of cutting-edge acting performance that captures the use of Naughty Dog, you’re likely to get Naughty Dog-level character renders even when you upgrade to PS4.
It’s good news that PS4 players can not only continue to follow the Callisto Protocol trophy list, score their own trophy checklist, and do it all with quality that aims to meet Naughty Dog standards. Let us know what you think of the above, and be sure to read how the environmental hazards of the Callisto Protocol will take you back to the time you doomed yourself in Prince of Persia The Sands of Time.
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