Although a formal program for releasing them has not yet been announced, Sony has signaled its intention to launch so-called director’s cuts of various first-party PS4 games. So far, two such projects have been announced: Death Stranding and Ghost of Tsushima. But with more potentially on the way, which games would we most like to see get this re-release treatment?
It’s worth noting that it’s unclear if these are really director’s cuts in the literal sense, with their respective directors being able to release their un-cut or original visions for the games. The term director’s cut is traditionally used in the film industry to describe versions of movies that are more in line with a single vision, restoring content that was originally cut from the final product because of other considerations–like studio mandates, early feedback, and what have you.
Sony’s director’s cuts, on the other hand, appear to be more like amped-up versions of the original games, with new features specific to the PS5 and new content. But they don’t necessarily reflect the original creative vision of the developers–or if they do, we haven’t really heard about how they do.
Regardless, whatever they may be called, suggest that more than just Death Stranding and Ghost of Tsushima will get this new treatment, and with that in mind, we’ve dreamed up the first-party PS4 games that we’d most like to see get director’s cuts.
God of War
It’s true that there is very little that feels superfluous in God of War as it exists today. The game’s presentation mimics a long-take film, making it virtually impossible for there to be any new story segments–and it doesn’t need them, but the game would certainly still benefit from the PS5’s upgraded power and unique features. Swinging Kratos’ Leviathan axe feels outstanding as is, but imagine it with just a little bit of extra tension that gives way to a swift slash as it hits an enemy, or a sudden halt as it collides with armor?
That’s not to mention the benefits it would get from the console’s newer guts, building on the 4K resolution and 60fps from the PS5 patch for more environmental detail and ray tracing. My only stipulation is that if there isn’t any brand-new content included, it has to be a free upgrade for existing owners, as third-party publishers are offering similar upgrades for free. — Gabe Gurwin, Associate SEO Editor
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn is a splendid open-world action RPG that astonished me with its visual fidelity and ambitious scope when it first came out. I spent a solid 15 hours playing it before eventually falling off–something I deeply regret because I tried picking it up again a few days ago and felt utterly lost. That, and I am sad to report that the game doesn’t quite hit in the same way it did for me visually, especially now that I’ve recently experienced the graphical splendor that is Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. So if there’s one last-gen Sony game that I want to be upgraded for PS5, it would be Horizon Zero Dawn. I’d love to see the game with enhanced visuals while running at a fluid 60fps–not to mention having adaptive trigger support, which would give its fast-paced strategic combat a greater tactile feel.
But this would be a “director’s cut”–whatever that means for Sony–so I’m inclined to hope that Guerrilla Games could use such an opportunity to capitalize on adding a few choice elements that didn’t make it into the game the first time. Maybe that’s an extra weapon or a separate challenge mode where you fight the game’s toughest foes in an arena space. I imagine another mini-expansion of sorts would be unrealistic; the studio is still finishing up Forbidden West, after all. Still, I’d love something more to help bridge the gap between the two games.
Given the circumstances, the more I think about it, the more unrealistic a Horizon Zero Dawn director’s cut is, but I’d still love to see it happen. It would certainly help kickstart my initiative to finally finish this expansive odyssey so that I and others who missed the boat can prepare for Forbidden West’s story. At the very least, I’d love a Ratchet & Clank 2016-style patch to amp up the game’s performance. Come on, Sony, make my dreams come true! — Matt Espineli, Editor
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Let me just start by saying it’s criminal that there isn’t even a PS5 update for Uncharted 4, director’s cut or not. It’s hands-down one of the best-looking games on the PS4, and just imagining what it could look like on modern hardware is making my brain hurt. Ray tracing would bring the game’s damp, foreboding caverns and picturesque tropical beaches to life. And that’s not to mention the wonders that the DualSense’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers would do for Uncharted 4’s grappling hook and gunplay. Playing Uncharted 4 on its highest difficulty is already a satisfying shooter experience, but feeling the pop pop from a small handgun would bring it to the next level.
As a director’s cut though, I want more content from the game, and for that, I would turn to the elder Drake brother, Sam. By the end of Uncharted 4, Nathan Drake’s story is done, but it’s clear that Sam’s is far from over. One last adventure with him and Sully against impossible odds is the perfect way to add a touch more to Uncharted 4’s story without spoiling its otherwise excellent ending. — Otto Kratky, Freelance Writer
Nex Machina: Death Machine
Housemarque is, as of June 2021, an internal studio at PlayStation. Prior to this acquisition, the company had proclaimed that “arcade is dead” and announced it would be moving into larger-scale development for games like the on-hold Stormdivers and the new roguelite Returnal. The latter game was a huge success for the company, and that likely contributed to Sony’s purchase.
But with this newfound financial stability, why not dabble back into classic arcade shooting, too? Nex Machina is arguably the best game the studio has ever made, and it ran quite well on PS4, but it did still have loading times that could break up the action a little bit–even when played on a PS5. A director’s cut that optimized the game and made those voxel graphics pop even more could give it new life, as it didn’t sell very well at launch, and if a few more levels or extra survival modes got added in, too, it would be a home run. — Gabe Gurwin, Associate SEO Editor
On the topic of games that haven’t gotten their fair share of attention from PlayStation, Bloodborne is right there at the top. The 2015 From Software title is one of the developer’s best, combining the studio’s penchant for disturbing aesthetics with fast, punishing gameplay. But there’s one problem with the game that could easily be fixed with a director’s cut version on the PS5 (and a port to PC): its frame rate. Bloodborne is a gorgeous game, but playing it at 30fps is like watching your favorite movie at 480p. Will I still enjoy the experience? Sure. Could it be miles better? Absolutely.
It’s not like From Software is a stranger to re-releasing its own games with extra content either. In 2018, Dark Souls: Remastered made its way to every platform, with the PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions being developed by an outside company, QLOC. If it could remaster the (and I say this from a place of love) janky mess that is the original Dark Souls, it could do the same for Bloodborne on PS5 with a director’s cut version. — Otto Kratky, Freelance Writer
The Last Of Us Part II
The case for The Last of Us Part II getting a director’s cut is pretty simple when you consider the standalone expansion, Left Behind, that released for the original game. It expanded on Ellie’s backstory and introduced a character we’d only heard mention of in the main story, and there are certainly several opportunities for similar episodes in The Last of Us: Part II. The Seraphites, in particular, are one of the more interesting factions we’ve seen from the universe thus far and learning how they came to hold so much power could help strengthen the rest of the game.
One signature of The Last of Us and its sequel is a weighty, purposely “sloppy” shooting system that emphasizes the brutality of the weapons and that civilians are handling them. The DualSense’s adaptive triggers would certainly help hit that point home, as well, making every shot feel important as you watch your ammunition count slowly dwindle down to zero. — Gabe Gurwin, Associate SEO Editor
Helldivers never got the attention or acclaim that Sony’s initial batch of director’s cuts did, but it’s nonetheless a terrific Sony-published PlayStation console exclusive that could really benefit from this treatment. The core gameplay still holds up well today–unsurprisingly, a co-op isometric shooter with friendly fire, frantic scrambles to avoid getting crushed by incoming drop pods, and a Starship Troopers-inspired vibe is a lot of fun, whether the year is 2015 or 2021.
A new version of the game that incorporates an expanded array of weapons, planets, and/or enemies seems like a natural fit, and it’s easy to see how the game could benefit from DualSense features like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Beyond all of that, the opportunity for the game to receive improved matchmaking (network issues were a common nuisance far more annoying than being shot in the back by a friend) and an influx of new players would make Helldivers a brilliant game to revive for PS5. Toss in the ultra-fast load times that the new-gen hardware enables so that you can easily and quickly jump in whenever a friend is playing, and a Helldivers director’s cut looks like a mighty appealing proposition. — Chris Pereira, Senior Editor
The Order: 1886
If there were ever a PS4 game that I wish could see reach its full potential, it would be The Order: 1886. This alternate history third-person cover-based shooter inherited all the hallmarks of nearly everything wrong about games from the seventh console generation. But what if developer Ready at Dawn could attempt to correct the mistakes of the game’s drab design, painfully linear structure, and inadequate storytelling?
Say what you will about The Order: 1886, but its universe was one of its most intriguing aspects–something it did little to capitalize upon throughout its six-hour campaign. There was so much wasted potential in its premise of a victorian-era Knights of the Round Table fighting mythical threats. I’d love to see developer Ready at Dawn return to iron out its rougher parts like combat and character development, while focusing more on reframing the game as a standalone experience unhindered by IP foundation-setting.
It would also be lovely to see The Order: 1886 running with enhanced visuals, effects, and frame rate. Experiencing Sir Galahad being pursued by a Lycan in that dark hospital again, but with modern atmospheric lighting techniques, would be brilliant. The game’s art design and production values were undoubtedly its most remarkable qualities, so a graphical facelift could really emphasize any adjustments made to its overall structure and narrative.
Alas, I can’t imagine Sony sees The Order: 1886 as a feasible candidate for its director’s cut treatment. Still, if we’re following the word’s actual definition, it would seem like the best game to receive it, as I’d love to see Ready at Dawn give the The Order: 1886 another pass. Unfortunately, the developer was acquired by Oculus Studios last year, making the possibility for this particular director’s cut closer to nill. — Matt Espineli, Editor