At first glance, the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller doesn’t look like a huge level-up over its predecessor, the DualShock 4. The shape is similar, the layout is near-identical, and the iconic button quadfecta (Square, Triangle, Circle, X) sure hasn’t gone anywhere. But there are a few subtle improvements. One Sony has trumpeted in recent months is the upgraded haptic feedback, and how it pertains to the new “adaptive” triggers.
In a post today on the PlayStation blog, developers of PS5 games shared some thoughts on how haptic feedback works in the DualSense. The coolest nugget of info comes courtesy of Arkane Studios’ Dinga Bakaba, game director for the upcoming first-person assassination game, Deathloop. Apparently, when your gun jams, the DualSense’s triggers will too. This “[gives] to the player an immediate feedback even before the animation plays out, which prompts the player in a physical way that they have to unjam their gun,” Bakaba said.
We can talk all we want about teraflops and processing power and high-fidelity graphics and other blatantly obvious technological advancements the next generation of consoles will bring. (Indeed, we at Kotaku have. A lot.) But I’d argue that subtle tweaks like this are just as big a deal. Sure, having your triggers jam up in the middle of a match sounds like the type of frustration that makes you want to pull your hair out. It also sounds, to toss out an overused buzzword, immersive as heck. Those who like Arkane’s particular flavor of immersive sim (Dishonored, 2017’s Prey) will likely get a kick out of it.
The blog also goes into other uses of the DualSense haptics. For instance, according to creative director Brian Horton, Spider-Man: Miles Morales will apparently feature a sort of rolling vibration. If you use a special move—say, Miles’ “Venom Punch”—you’ll feel the vibration start on the left-hand grip and move rightward across the controller, ending as you wrap up the attack. It’s a far cry from the typical, unlocalized rumble you’d feel while punching, or getting punched, in 2018’s Spider-Man.
Gran Turismo 7 will use the DualSense triggers’ haptics to mimic the feeling of a real vehicle’s anti-lock braking system. Sounds interesting to me, but maybe someone who better knows how cars work—someone who didn’t get in a minor collision just last week—would be better suited to explain it.
The DualSense will also help the weapons in next year’s Horizon Forbidden West “feel even more unique and satisfying to use,” said Mathis de Jonge, game director at Guerilla Games. He did not elaborate.