Yesterday, Insomniac Games released a new update for Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart on the PS5 and the patch notes mentioned something strange. The update included a new 120Hz Display Mode. Now, it is normal for games to get a 120Hz mode, especially on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. However, Insomniac Games has approached this new render mode from a different direction by making it a 40fps Fidelity update. For those wondering what this does, we have you covered.
Up to now, a 30fps, 60fps and 120fps update was your typical viewing experience. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart was previously locked at 30fps on certain modes. This was the best way to experience the game from a visual perspective. It included the highest resolution and the highest ray-tracing quality in the game.
Of course, you could choose the performance mode too. This disabled ray-tracing in favour of a 60FPS mode. Lastly, there was RT performance mode that enabled ray-tracing but used an adaptive resolution and frame rate to keep the game’s quality intact. However, users now have an option to enable the 120Hz Display Mode. Keep in mind that you need a supported 4K 120Hz TV or high-refresh-rate HDMI 2.1 monitor to get this working.
Before you get happy about Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart running at 120Hz that is not the case. Instead, Insomniac Games now makes use of the 120Hz HDMI standard to create a super-low latency experience thanks to HDMI 2.1. In addition, the HDMI 2.1 format allows the developers to create a more adaptive frame rate lock.
Think about this, up to now, games have always been locked at either 30fps, 60fps, 120fps etc. This is due to monitors and displays being unable to keep other frame rates in between these decimals. However, thanks to the extra bandwidth with HDMI 2.1, Insomniac Games, and other developers if they wish, are able to fix frame rates at other targets. In this case, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart on PS5 is locked at 40fps. They could have chosen 55fps, 70fps. Whatever works better for the game.
This means supported TVs and monitors can now render the game at a more adaptive frame rate and developers aren’t restricted to the common 30fps, 60fps etc. Why 40fps then? Well, it could be because this was the sweet spot for this game. No doubt Insomniac Games ran performance tests in order to find this perfect middle ground.
This render mode does come with its downside though. All TVs on the market, when 120Hz mode is enabled, changes the HDR Chroma Subsampling signal from 4:4:4 to 4:4:2. This does affect the colour accuracy and quality of the image. But it should not take away from the experience.
While many don’t have access to 120Hz TVs, this sort of render approach might open up new doors in the future. Instead of locking games at 30FPS, developers might be able to squeeze a few extra frames, in this case, 10, out of a game by making use of the HDMI 2.1 capabilities on the PS5. It will result in a smoother, lower latency experience with frames stable for the most part.