God of War’s 2018 reboot arrives on PC in January 2022

Sony’s bullish-if-slow attitude toward launching its biggest PlayStation exclusives on Windows PCs will continue in January 2022 with a release that pretty much everybody saw coming. The critically acclaimed 2018 reboot of God of War will be coming to PC.

What fans probably didn’t expect, however, was for Sony to ally with Nvidia for the release.

The PC version of God of War, arriving on January 14, 2022, will retail for $49.99, and its Steam listing already includes some technical details as of Wednesday morning. The most interesting addition is entirely new for Sony Interactive Entertainment launches on PC: support for Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) standard.

More “super” for Sony than FSR, apparently

DLSS requires Nvidia graphics cards from the RTX 2000 and RTX 3000 series because the feature needs those GPUs’ dedicated processing cores, which use machine-learning algorithms to analyze and upscale lower-resolution gaming images on the fly. Run a game at a native resolution of 1440p or 1080p with DLSS enabled, and that system will up-rez the real-time action to full 4K—not only with missing detail automatically inserted but often with fine details and anti-aliasing that beats the common temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) standard.

Sony has long had a hardware alliance with AMD, Nvidia’s biggest rival in the dedicated consumer graphics space. Sony has relied exclusively on AMD CPUs and GPUs for both its PS4 and PS5 console families (as has Microsoft for its Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles). Up until now, Sony’s loudest “upscaling” pronouncements came during the PlayStation 4 Pro era, in which Chief PlayStation Architect Mark Cerny talked extensively about how “checkerboarding” could fill in missing pixel gaps to supercharge PS4 games from 1080p to a faked 4K signal.

But this checkerboarding process merely spreads out existing pixels in ways that look splotchy upon close examination. While AMD’s own burgeoning FSR system provides smarter upscaling than that, DLSS is even sharper and more accurate in terms of processing lower native signals to higher pixel resolutions. (We’ve yet to see FSR formally land on any console games on either PS5 or Xbox Series X/S, but both console families support the standard.)

Kratos’ PC-gaming future is wide (screen) open

God of War PC version trailer.

As of press time, Sony Interactive Entertainment and Sony Santa Monica have not announced “minimum” or “recommended” specs for God of War‘s PC version, but we do know that the port will support up to 21:9 ratios for widescreen monitors. The port will also support fully remappable keyboard-and-mouse controls, and it will natively identify both DualShock 4 and DualSense controllers—though it’s unclear whether there will be support for the newer gamepad’s enhanced trigger or rumble functionality.

If you already own the game’s console version and a PS5 console, you can get a taste of what steps God of War on PC will take above the original PS4 version. The game’s PS5 console patch landed in February and jacked performance up from 30 fps to 60 fps at its “4K checkerboard” pixel resolution of approximately 1920×2160. (To be clear, checkerboarding works by removing every other pixel on every row, which isn’t exactly the same as halving one of its axes.) Whether God of War‘s 2018 code can be optimized to easily surpass 60 fps at your ideal resolution, with or without DLSS in the mix, remains to be seen, but we assume unlocked frame rates are in Kratos’ PC-gaming future.

Sony’s announcement hints at above-and-beyond graphical tweaks not seen in the console version thus far: “higher resolution shadows, improved screen space reflections, and enhancements to the ambient occlusion pipeline with GTAO and SSDO.” We don’t know whether this means the game’s rendering pipeline has been touched up to support improvements over the console version or if the statement merely refers to options toggles to scale the game to weaker PC hardware. Today’s reveal trailer lingers over scenes with significant touch-ups to the ambient occlusion model (along with a few very high-res textures, in case you’ve been waiting for a God of War game to finally flex your PC GPU’s VRAM).

Though Sony’s recent acquisition spree included the PC-porting powerhouse studio Nixxes, today’s announcement didn’t say whether that studio was involved in this port. Neither Sony’s announcement nor the listings at Steam and EGS clarified anything about work by outside studios. Sony reps did not immediately reply to Ars’ questions on the port’s developers.

Today’s news will arguably tide Sony fans over while they wait for the series’ announced sequel, God of War Ragnarok, to land at some point in 2022. For now, at least, the game is a console exclusive (albeit for both PS5 and PS4). And this PC port will likely arrive before Sony’s other recently announced PlayStation-to-PC port of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, which currently has a vague “early 2022” launch window (and which will land on PS5 before its PC version). We’re still wondering if and when Sony-owned teams like Nixxes will flex their PC-porting muscles on long-awaited ports of games like Bloodborne.

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