The founder of Traveller’s Tales stated that the effects of cracks in Ratchet & Clank: In Another Dimension they don’t need the PS5’s SSD to work and could “easily” have been realized even on the PS3. Jon Burton, who founded Traveller’s Tales (now TT Games) in 1989 and directed dozens of LEGO crossover games before his departure in 2019, made the claims in a video on his new Coding Secrets channel (via VGC).
Burton accuses developer Insomniac Games of being somewhat “misleading” when he claimed that the mechanics of traveling through the portals “wouldn’t have been possible without the PlayStation 5’s SSD.” The programmer goes on to claim that “the way the gameplay was represented before release was quite misleading”, and that what was shown as “amazing sequences of Ratchet going through many other worlds all strung together in stunning action sequences” turned out to be “mostly only very short scenes or sections with very limited gameplay”.
Burton makes it clear that he’s not saying the PS5 isn’t using the SSD’s fast loading speeds to “get it right,” but that it’s not true to say that these things aren’t possible to do on older hardware. In his video, Burton breaks down the two main tricks in the game and explains how he believes they could be performed on PS4 or even PS3.
Moving on to an explanation of streaming techniques for those unfamiliar with the process, Burton then points out: “the dimensions [onde ficam partes do traje] they are really graphically basic and actually seem to use many of the same generic objects as boxes that would already be available in generic memory. So it’s basically a dome of the sky, some small platforms, generic objects and good lighting, so on older hardware it wouldn’t take up much memory, especially as it also uses the generic objects, which makes loading fast.”
Moving on to when players quickly jump from crevice to crevice, Burton explains that this, too, could already have been done. Using an example section where Ratchet is on a speeder bike, goes through a portal and lands in another section, Burton claims that the game is deliberately putting the player in very small stages and giving them limited control to help manage the data in which it is broadcasting.
“You only move a very small part of the world and have very little ability to move during this section – that means the game has all the time you’re playing the section to load into the next section. So imagine the game has two memory buffers. The first buffer contains the section you are currently playing. While you’re playing, it might load the next section into the second buffer. To transition between buffers, you can just have a very simple intermediate empty location permanently in memory to hide any swap failures that might happen.”
After explaining the method in more detail, Burton explains that it’s entirely possible that the game is using the SSD to “do everything right”. “I’m just explaining how other very simple techniques can be used to achieve exactly the same thing on older hardware,” he says.