PS5 DualSense Haptic Feedback Has Been Improved In PS4 Backward Compatibility Mode
Sony has updated the DualSense controller to improve the Haptic Feedback for the PS5 DualSense controller as explained by a senior developer at Naughty Dog.
Kurt Margenau has worked on several of the recent games released by Naughty Dog and he was also the co-director for The Last of Us Part 2. In a thread on Twitter, he explained how they approached Sony to improve the Haptic Feedback for games that run in the backward compatibility mode on the PS5.
Margenau praised the work done by the PlayStation Hardware team particularly Toshimasa Aoki in taking their feedback and implementing it for the DualSense controller. Have a look at his explanation of how it all occurred below.
As many of you are jumping back into TLOU2 on PS5, you may notice the haptics feel better. This is actually thanks to a firmware update to the DualSense controller back in April. A few months ago, I got to give feedback to the Sony DualSense team to help improve certain timing, intensity, and “texture” of haptics when in backwards compatibility (BC) mode to closer achieve the feeling we authored for the original DualShock 4 for our games. Which is pretty wild considering the physical mechanisms for achieving the haptics in the two controllers is quite different. How can a backwards compatibility mode even work in the first place? The DS4 has two different-sized rotating weights inside, and the DualSense has two weights that move forward and back and can express frequency and amplitude at extremely high fidelity and low latency (almost like a speaker). So the controller firmware in the DualSense has to receive the “old” signals that are meant to spin up a motor (which has much higher latency), and emulate the resulting FEELING in the controller using a completely different mechanical method. This includes accounting for all the timing differences in the authored rumble that’s built-in when designing for the DS4, and emulating the inherent variation and “rumbly” feeling that comes with a rotating motor. This is all done inside the controller without the game code changing at all.
So it turns out that due to the difference in the two controllers, some of the feedback that the developers had implemented for the DualShock 4 triggers couldn’t translate into the Haptic Feedback for the PS5. This has been improved with the update that was released last April.
Naughty Dog has just released an update for The Last of Us Part 2 that enables support for the game to run at 60 FPS on the PS5. However, the improved haptic feedback is not a part of the update code but instead was a part of the controller update that launched back in April.