Rumor: Dev Leaks Alleged Details About PS5 UI, Special PS5 Themes, and Activision PlayStation Partnership (Update)

Update: Roberto Serrano, yes the same infamous Roberto Serrano who “leaked” the PS5 price reveal and preorder date that never happened, originally alleged that the dev from the Reddit post was a designer named Paulo Manso. Manso has responded to Serrano’s claims saying he never worked at Activision, and there is no additional evidence to suggest Manso is in any way connected to the original Reddit post/leak, which leaves its anonymous source and veracity questionable.

Original: Don’t get a developer angry and drunk, or they’ll spill the beans on privileged information. That’s what appears to have happened with the latest PS5 UI leak, with details allegedly coming in from an artist on Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War. As with most leaks leading up to next-gen, this information should be taken with a grain of salt for now. The Reddit account is an anonymous throwaway and the information hasn’t been verified. The post has also been removed by the Reddit mods, but of course the internet has captured it for all to see.

The dev says that he has this information thanks to Sony approaching Activision to work on a custom PS5 theme as a preorder bonus for Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War. Allegedly the UI is “very similar to the PlayStation 4 UI in a lot of ways,” which goes against reports that it was 100% redesigned. He says that the games and app are now along the bottom of the screen, peaking out halfway until they are selected. Hovering  over a game changes the center of the screen to a developer-selected image, and selecting it “zooms into the image like you’re jumping into a portal to your game.”

Much like the PS4, it seems individual games will reveal details about friends who are playing and special events. He also says that these game panels can be animated, as well as updated more frequently be developers, including to call out specific events like double XP weekends. The news tab is now accessed by pushing down on a game panel.

He details the top row of options, which he says is almost the same as the PS4. “PS Plus, PS Now, Alerts (replacing Notifications), Friends, Party, Forum, Profile, ???, ???, Settings, and Power Off.” He says the question marks were things they told them to leave blank for now, but be ready to design icons/art for in the future for the custom PS5 theme. Perhaps more interesting is listing both PS Plus and PS Now along the top row of options, which seems to indicate two major things. One, Plus and Now are not being combined, and two, Now is going to be pushed by Sony as a main service a lot more. The leaker says he saw five different designs of the UI before the above details were the “finalized” one, which he expects was a misdirect to prevent leaks.

As for details on the PS5 theme, he says Sony is offering “4D” themes that change the background, music, and UI icons/art. He says the themes can also play sound through your controller, make it rumble at specific times, and change the color of the lights. The background art of the theme will show when there’s no other game or app selected, similar to the PS4. Apparently Sony mentioned themes being able to overlap UI elements, but his “team decided not to do that,” so don’t expect it on the Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War PS5 preorder theme (assuming it’s real). PS4 themes can also feature elements that overlap the UI in some ways, so this feature isn’t surprising.

Finally he details some general information about PlayStation’s partnership with Activision and the upcoming Call of Duty Black Op Cold War. His team was told to get promo material ready and finalized this week, which he says is expected to start being used “around the 28th.” With the Black Ops Cold War reveal confirmed to be happening on August 26th, the timeline matches up. (Note, this post was written before today’s puzzle was solved to reveal the teaser trailer.) He says that for this Call of Duty, Activision and PlayStation are working “VERY closely” together, more so than on other projects. “Sony has had a bit more influence.”

“Why am I leaking?” he explains the reason for his leak. “Activision are assholes who leave friends without a job and homeless while the boss gets a couple extra million to his bank account. It’s dehumanizing and I’m sick of it.” At the end of the post he says he’s just drunk and tired. “I hope this helps to fuck over Activision in some way. We just want to make a game that’s fun and not filled with all the Black Ops branding. It is quite late and I’m just a drunk tired dude who is tired of corporate bullshit.” Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was recently criticized by shareholders for his exorbitant salary.

Previous rumors have said Sony is getting ready to show off the PS5 UI soon as developers were starting to get access to it via devkit updates that supposedly enabled “retail mode.” Whether or not this is what the anonymous dev meant by the PS5 UI being “finalized” is unknown, but with more people having allegedly having eyes on what the PS5 UI actually looks like, we can probably expect a look at it fairly soon. After all, Sony’s next-gen console is only three months away at this point. So far the only thing we’ve seen of the PS5 UI is a teaser shown during the reveal stream.

Again, none of this info is verified at this time, but details do seem to line up with what we know so far and it sounds largely believable. However, best to take this with a grain of salt until Sony itself shows off what the PS5 UI actually looks like and details how custom themes will work.