Horizon Forbidden West’s PlayStation 4 version won’t come with a free PlayStation 5 upgrade. At all.
In fact, based on what Sony revealed yesterday, there’s no upgrade path from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5 whatsoever. Instead, if you purchase the Digital Deluxe, Collectors or Regalla Editions of post-apocalyptic action-adventure Horizon Forbidden West, you’ll get “dual entitlement”. This essentially means you have a licence to play both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 edition.
But people, as it turns out, aren’t happy about that, and we’re not talking about the background rage that secretly fuels Twitter. So what’s the problem? The Digital Deluxe edition is only £10/$20 more than the standard edition, surely that isn’t such a bad deal? However, there are a few other factors to take into consideration.
Firstly, this is a major, major release and, unless it’s a complete mess, it will almost certainly be a flagship PlayStation 5 title and sell a ridiculous amount of copies. A first-party title, you can count on it being bundled with the PlayStation 4 and 5 at some point. Not offering a free upgrade from the PS4 to PS5 version seems mean spirited (yes, we know we’re talking about a major corporation) and potentially damaging to sales.
Secondly, first-party PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 games cost more than Xbox Series X|S games. Forza Horizon 5 is £54.99 to pre-order digitally, while the standard version of Horizon Forbidden West (see what we did there?) costs £69.99 on PS5 and £59.99 on PS4. To add insult to wallet injury, all upcoming first-party Xbox games and the vast majority of other titles come with Smart Delivery. That means, whether you purchase a game such as Forza Horizon 5 digitally or on disc, you get a free upgrade to the Xbox Series X|S version.
On top of that, the only PlayStation 4 versions of the games that comes with dual entitlement are the Collector’s Edition and the Regalla Editions. Yes, they both come with a cool figure of protagonist Aloy and an even cooler mecha-monster model, but they’re a massive £169.99/$199.99 and $259.99 respectively.
Confused? There are in fact five versions of Horizon Forbidden West; Standard Edition, Digital Deluxe Edition, Special Edition, Collector’s Edition and Regalla Edition, each available as a Playstation 4 and Playstation 5 version. You can find out exactly what comes with each edition here, but the disc-based Playstation 4 Special Edition, which you can expect to cost as much if not more than the digital-only Digital Deluxe Edition, will not give you the ability to play the PlayStation 5 version of the game.
Finally, and this is what’s really sticking in some people’s craw, Sony has previously stated that you would be able to upgrade from the disc and digital version, without any proviso.
“Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy A Big Adventure, and Horizon Forbidden West will also launch on PS4…. The PS4 digital versions of launch games include a free upgrade on both PS5 consoles, while the PS4 disc versions of these games include a free upgrade on the PS5 with Ultra HD Blu-Ray disc drive.”
So, while the Digital Deluxe and Collector’s Editions of Forbidden West have dual entitlement, Sony is not delivering the free upgrade they promised. Yes, you can play the PlayStation 4 version on the PlayStation 5 without the need for an upgrade, but since it’s not PS5 native it won’t be anywhere as pretty, nor will it run as smoothly.
Is this going to put us off playing Forbidden West? Probably not. We loved Zero Dawn and even if we weren’t in the business of writing about games we’d still buy it. However, we are disappointed in the decision Sony has made and we wouldn’t be surprised if this made a dent in Horizon Forbidden West’s sales.
If you’re not boiling with rage at Sony’s backtracking, you can pre-order Horizon Forbidden West digitally from Sony, or from various online retailers. GAME in the UK and GameStop in the US have the game to pre-order physically, but Amazon have yet to catch up.
Whichever version you choose, or if you decide to sit this one out, Horizon Forbidden West will land on the PlayStation 4 and 5 February 18th next year.