Posted Fri Nov 20, 2015 at 06:30 AM PST by Justin Clark
Sony field-testing PS2 emulation with 'Star Wars'.
'Star Wars: Battlefront' just this past week, and with it, the special edition PS4 bundle that includes four older 'Star Wars' titles: 'Super Star Wars', 'Bounty Hunter', 'Racer Revenge', and 'Jedi Starfighter'. When the bundle was announced, all anybody was told was that it'd include digital vouchers for the games. The rabbit hole, apparently, goes a little deeper than that.
While 'Super Star Wars' appears to just be a simple downloadable title from the PSN, the other three aren't just individual store-ready re-releases, but the ACTUAL PS2 games, running off of what appears to be a PS2 emulator. Digital Foundry has done a full breakdown of what's happening in the background when the PS4 plays these games, but the tl;dw of it is that each game loads into sort of a custom framework built into the PS4 that doesn't just emulate the PS2--though it does go so far as having the trackpad emulate the memory card slots--but uprezzes each game, cleans up the jaggies, even beyond what early, backward compatible PS3s were doing, and enhances framerate. Digital Foundry's video shows both 'Jedi Starfighter' and 'Racer Revenge'--both of which had moments where the framerate would horribly poop itself--running smooth as silk at a consistent 60 frames per second on PS4. The only flaw appears to be that the graphical enhancements only apply to 3D graphics. 2D sprites look as jagged as ever, but it's not like there was a whole lot of that on PS2.
What does this mean? Well, right now, very little. Sony's made no announcement that PS2 emulation will be going widespread anytime soon, (UPDATE: They have now!) and many an insider has speculated if it does, changes are low they'll involve anything but digital copies. But the technology appears to have reached the promised land already, and considering how beloved the PS2 was--it is still, to date, the greatest selling home game console of all-time, by a wide margin--they have to realize there's an audience that'd be eternally grateful if they get this right. For right now, all we can do is hope this marks the start of something big. See for yourself below:
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