When PlayStation 4 update 4.00 goes live tomorrow, high dynamic range (HDR) imaging technology support will be added to all PS4s, enabling “the reproduction of brightness and darkness while realizing a much wider range of colors,” provided you own an HDR-compatible TV. Some first-party developers have already discussed HDR, and in an interview with VG247, Naughty Dog Lead Programmer Christian Gyrling explained that it costs almost nothing to expose the HDR, and the benefits are huge:
Oh, we’re changing already [because of the PS4 Pro]. It’s kind of like… you’re adding a few more components to the artist’s palette in terms of what they can do. We’ve never been able to intentionally show the range of colors we have here. I mean, they wanted to but they couldn’t really do it. Now, we’re really allowing especially our lighters but also all of the artists to create content that is pushing the boundaries over the restriction that was there before.
They’re also knowing they can do that without having to restrict things down. We have color grading, we have all these various things like tone mapping to make sure we’re still getting all the colors we want but within the existing HDTV color spec. Knowing we can do more, like why should we only use the dull color of green when we can use the really, really bright one? We’re not really doing that, but now we can realize the full potential of the image.
We’re really excited to start with that process from the ground up; the artistic choice can be in the hands of the artist even more. HDR games from now on, moving forward – I think almost every single game will start supporting HDR. This is the future. We see little to no reason to not support this. It’s almost no cost, close to zero cost, to expose the HDR… but it’s an enormous benefit.
Discussing the PS4 Pro and its ability to deliver increased visuals, and whether Naughty Dog is at a disadvantage because they don’t have high-end PC ports for their games, Gyrling said, “When it comes to taking the PS4 Pro, really what we’re doing here is nothing more than just removing the smudge from your glasses, we’re changing your prescription so you get to see everything more clearly. That’s the direction we’re going. We’re not comparing with a PC version or something else. I mean, yes, we’re keeping an eye on what other people in the industry are doing, but we feel that we’re always pushing the envelope, we’re always trying to improve.”
Naughty Dog’s patches for Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us Remastered will release alongside the PS4 Pro in November, and “will allow both PS4 Pro owners and regular PS4 owners with an HDR-compatible TV or a 4K TV to enjoy the [visual] benefits.”