PS5 developers make the DualSense controller sound like magic in new breakdown

(Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

On the heels of a new ad for the PS5, nearly a dozen next-gen developers have explained how their games make use of the DualSense controller's feature set. 

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales creative director Brian Horton, for example, says that "we’ll be hinting to players which direction attacks are coming from by providing haptic feedback from the appropriate direction on the DualSense wireless controller." This applies to everything from Miles' stealth ability to his "Venom punch," which is presumably the lightning-like charged attack seen in the game's artwork. "As you hold down Square to do a Venom Punch, you feel Spider-Man’s bio-electricity crackle across from the left side of the controller, culminating in the right side on impact," Horton says. 

Several developers stressed that the DualSense triggers and haptic feedback make weapons and other interactable items feel more potent and realistic. Deathloop game director Dinga Bakaba, for example, says that when your weapon jams in-game, the trigger for that gun will be blocked, "which prompts the player in a physical way that they have to unjam their guns." 

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Creative director Marcus Smith of Insomniac Games says that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart uses the triggers in a similar way. "For instance, the Enforcer is a dual-barreled shotgun type weapon," he says.  "As you pull the trigger, you’ll fire from one barrel, and you can feel resistance around halfway down the trigger. Need a bigger blast? Pull the trigger through that resistance point and you’ll fire both barrels at the same time." 

Gran Turismo 7 uses the DualSense triggers to mirror the sensation of ABS (which stands for anti-lock brake system) , according to Polyphony Digital president Kazunori Yamauchi. "The adaptive trigger is suited for recreating this pedal feel, and it will allow the player to accurately feel and understand the relationship between the braking force they want and the tire’s grip," he says.  

Mathijs de Jonge, game director at Guerrilla on Horizon Forbidden West, added that "the DualSense wireless controller adaptive triggers will help us to make the weapons feel even more unique and satisfying to use." Keith Lee, CEO of Godfall developer Counterplay Games, concurs that, "As a player, I’m excited to finally FEEL which weapon I’m holding in my hands without looking at any UI. I can also sense where an enemy is spatially, even outside of my field of view." 

(Image credit: PlayStation)

Kenji Kimura, director of Ghostwire: Tokyo, agreed that "the haptic feedback, in comparison to the vibration function of previous generations, allows us to utilize a much wider range, starting from a very strong vibration that is much more powerful than before, down to extremely light vibration." 

Gavin Moore, creative director at SIE Japan Studio, offered a more specific example from the Demon's Souls PS5 remake: "Metal strikes metal when your foes block your attacks or you block theirs. That extra sensory feedback through the controller allows you to know your attack hit home and your perfectly-timed parry was a success, so you can react faster and more decisively. We can also turn the simple act of pulling a lever to open a gate into a sensory experience. This is something that rumble could never do."

To round things out, Nicolas Doucet of Japan Studio and Ned Waterhouse of Sumo Digital stressed that DualSense haptic feedback enables texture-specific sensations for the terrain you cover in Astro's Playroom and the items you hold in Sackboy: A Big Adventure. This also applies to Sackboy's grappling hook, with the "weapon mode" on the right trigger amping up the sensation of firing the hook. 

These developer testimonies line up with details at the Summer Games Fest DualSense reveal, and they also go much deeper on some of the specifics.

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.