Update 11:45 p.m.: Sony has confirmed it is working on utilizing PS2 emulation technology to bring PS2 games to PlayStation 4.
Original 1:46 p.m.: Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunter—which are included as PlayStation Network downloads with the new Star Wars PlayStation 4 hardware bundle—are all running on PlayStation 4 via PS2 emulation, Eurogamer has discovered.
Here’s how Eurogamer explains its discovery:
- The “Start” and “Select” buttons are mapped to the left and right sides of the DualShock 4 touchpad. A message from the PlayStation 4 OS tells you this before the game is launched. Third-party game developers cannot access the system OS in this manner.
- There is an emulation system in place for handling PS2 memory cards, just like PlayStation 3’s PS2 emulator.
- The classic PS2 logo appears when you boot each title.
- All in-game button prompts are for PS2’s controller. Nothing has been changed at all to match the DualShock 4.
Eurogamer notes the following improvements have been made via the emulator:
- The emulator substantially upscales PS2 games. While this unfortunately means 2D elements are upscaled, 3D elements are upscaled, as well. First impressions suggests the emulator upscales the games to a native resolution of 1292×896.
- It looks like some kind of post-process effect is in place mimicking anti-aliasing. Eges are smooth, and there’s little in the way of shimmer.
- Trophy support has been added. This might have originally ruled out this being an emulator, but Sony filed a patent to add trophy support to games that don’t natively support them without modifying the original game way back in 2013.
- The emulator is clearly running these games more smoothly, with Jedi Starfighter hitting 60fps while the game running on PS2 hardware has nothing like that level of output.
Here are a couple of Star Wars: Bounty Hunter and Jedi Fighter PlayStation 4 and PS2 comparison screenshots:
And here’s a video:
PS2 emulation is available now on PlayStation 4. And while it’s currently only available in the form of three Star Wars titles, more support seems to be on the way. Back in September, the Pan European Game Information board rated Ape Escape 2, Dark Cloud 2, and Twisted Metal: Black—all PS2 titles—for release on PlayStation 4. The question that remains is, will PS2 emulation be restricted to digital titles like they are with PS2 Classics on PlayStation 3? Or will we be able to use discs?