Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart might not use the PS5 SSD to its full extent, but we can’t wait until games do


The founder of Traveller’s Tales, the developer behind the wildly popular Lego games, has made claims that Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart isn’t only possible thanks to the PS5’s SSD. 

In a YouTube video on his channel – Coding Secrets – Jon Burton states that by using a couple of common software tricks you could easily get the game to work on older hardware (even going as far to show off similar effects in a PS3 game).

In his roughly six-minute video, Burton explains that while the PS5 and its SSD hardware are almost certainly helping to do everything properly, what Ratchet and Clank achieves isn’t especially complex. 

For example, the bonus Rift stages aren’t as difficult to pull off as you might first believe. The Rifts always take you to the same location, there’s only one in each level, and they’re fairly basic (using only a handful of generic objects to populate the space). Burton explains that if you’re smart about freeing up memory by only loading in certain aspects at any one time, you probably wouldn’t need to use an SSD at all.

Burton goes on to explain how he believes that the game’s biggest set-pieces – which see Ratchet quickly move between multiple dimensions – could also be achieved without an SSD thanks again to their simplicity. He shows how a trick used in Lego Star Wars 3 was able to pull off much the same effect back on the PS3.

While some fans may take this as an opportunity to get angry at Insomniac and Sony for overselling the unique capabilities of the PS5, we instead see this as a sign that the true power of current-gen hardware hasn’t yet been fully realized. If that’s the case, it could mean that games coming in 2022 and beyond might truly blow us away.

Opinion: Current-gen gaming can only get better

An SSD (or solid-state drive) performs the same basic function as a hard drive (HDD), storing digital data. However, an SSD is able to read and write data much more quickly as it isn’t limited by how fast-moving parts can spin like an HDD. For video games, this means files can be read much more quickly, vastly reducing load times between changing levels.

While what it achieves might not be unique to SSD hardware, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart shows us the first examples of what could be done with the new system. Sure its features are fairly simple but as one of the earliest exclusive games on the PS5 it was never going to be the biggest leap forward.

This has been true of previous console generations too, with the most technically impressive games coming several years down the line as developer’s understanding of the hardware improves. Just look at God of War and the Last of Us Part 2 on the PS4 compared with what came out for the console in 2013.

Now that it has learned about the PS5 from creating Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Insomniac could take its lessons and ensure that its next Ratchet and Clank (or Spider-Man) game is even more astounding. It could create set pieces that give players more control than ever (finally making them feel a bit less like cutscenes), or Insomniac could create intricate sub-areas that you can enter into seamlessly and might change with each visit to a level.

We’ll have to wait and see what the future of current-gen gaming holds but we’re optimistic that what we’ll be playing in a few years’ time will be an experience that older hardware couldn’t dream of delivering.

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