Horizon Zero Dawn PC Port – What Performance Gains Are Expected From Decima Engine?

    What could this once PS4 exclusive have to offer on PC?

    Horizon Zero Dawn PC PS4 Decima Engine
    Horizon Zero Dawn PC PS4 Decima Engine

    Recently, a new rumor pointed out that Guerilla Games’ PS4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn, might be coming to PC this year. Of course, while Sony hasn’t confirmed this themselves, there’s a strong possibility. Death Stranding, which uses the same Decima Engine as Horizon, is also coming to PC after being a timed PS4 exclusive. And it’s probably not an accident that both games use the same engine. Reviewers and analysts have talked about the engine’s potential before. It has produced some amazing looking visuals on the aging PS4, so a port to PC might be what it takes to get a taste of true next-gen looking visuals.

    Let’s break it down then, and for that, we have to go back to the PS4’s hardware. The base PS4 has the following specs:

    • x86-64 based AMD “Jaguar” CPU with 8 cores clocked at 1.6 GHz
    • Integrated GCN based AMD Radeon APU at 1.84 TFLOPS
    • 8GB GDDR5 unified RAM
    Horizon Zero Dawn PS4
    Horizon Zero Dawn

    While these specs are very underpowered by today’s standards, developers have still managed to deliver excellent looking games on the platform. So what will a move to PC bring? Well, for starters, better everything. A mid-range PC today has at least a quad-core CPU with better clock speeds, dedicated GPU with better (and faster) memory support, and independent memory. These are the things that have limited the current-gen consoles for a long time. Of course, most of that will change with the PS5 and Xbox Series X, which are more similar to a modern-day PC.

    A PC for Horizon Zero Dawn will, of course, see better framerates and graphics, but let’s go deeper. The game, much like other PS4 exclusives, uses certain gimmicks to take advantage of PS4’s architecture. Look at how Horizon Zero Dawn streams in assets to create the beautiful open-world:

    In 2017, Kotaku reported on how the developers used the Decima engine to circumvent the limitations of the PS4 hardware. The source of the behind the scenes documentary was from a video by VPRO. It was revealed that the game was using clever tricks like drawing a 2D image of surfaces when viewed from a distance, hence conserving memory. With modern hardware, that might not be necessary. That, in turn, could lead to things like less pop-in. Combine that with the gorgeous open world of a Horizon Zero Dawn PC version, and smooth framerate of 60 (or up), and it’ll make for something special.

    In any case, it seems like Sony wants to make the Decima Engine more publically available, once people see the potential of the engine on PC. Beyond that, I’m excited to play both the rumored PC port as well as Death Stranding on PC.

    Horizon Zero Dawn PC version is rumored to release sometime in 2020, presumably right after the PS5 reveal. After all, we all know that a Horizon Zero Dawn 2 is in the works, so what better way to draw in everybody to a PS5 launch title than making it available for everyone?!

    Further Reading:

    Leave a Reply