Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon: Forbidden West coming to PS4 is an unexpected surprise, but one we should probably welcome

(Image credit: Sony)

There's a few lines of small print that you may have missed amidst all the God of War: Ragnorok and Final Fantasy 16 reveals during tonight's PS5 showcase, which also confirmed the PS5 price and PS5 release date at the end of a hefty 45 minute live stream. We're pretty sure Sony earned itself a few more PS5 pre-orders tonight too.

Writing in a lengthy post on the PlayStation Blog, Insomniac Games community director James Stevenson revealed that Spider-Man: Miles Morales – the title that Sony has been pitching as the flagship, proof-of-concept launch title for PS5 until now – is also coming to PS4, while 2018's Spider-Man PS4 is conversely being remastered for PlayStation's next-gen console at the same time. 

That remaster, according to Stevenson, is "no simple up-res", but includes "better-looking characters with improved skin, eyes, hair, and facial animation [...] ray-traced reflections and ambient shadows, improved lighting [...] three amazing new Spider-Man suits, new photo mode features, and even new trophies for those of you looking to Platinum the game all over again."

(Image credit: Sony)

It's an attractive proposition, but a quick scroll through my Twitter timeline reveals that some members of the PlayStation Nation feel somewhat misled to learn that Miles Morales wasn't, in fact, built from the ground up exclusively for PS5, and so perhaps isn't quite as next-gen as they first believed. 

Of course, it wasn't that long ago that commentators were complaining that Sony was stubbornly sticking to the concept of generational exclusivity (more on that in a sec), but Miles Morales' PS4 release confirms PlayStation is far from blind to the gradualism of console transitions. On the contrary, the news suggests Sony has finally learnt some lessons from the strides Microsoft has been making into consumer-first business practices, and is starting to make its own plays in response, as also evidenced by tonight's reveal of the PlayStation Plus Collection

If that's the case, prospective PS5 owners shouldn't be disappointed that Miles Morales is a cross-gen title. In fact, it suggests the company that once shuddered at the very idea of cross-play is finally recognising the value of access, and opening up the borders of play to as many people as possible. Microsoft is still miles ahead in this regard, of course, but it's a start. 

Greatness awaits

(Image credit: Sony)

"We know that some of you may transition to PS5 at different times," writes Stevenson, "which is why it was important to us to release the latest title in the Marvel’s Spider-Man universe on both consoles." 

That statement arrives as a comforting palette cleanser to recent comments from PlayStation VP Eric Lempel, who recently seemed to stress Sony's commitment to next-gen exclusive software, telling Geoff Keigley earlier this year that: “PlayStation 5 is a brand new generation, and we believe in generations."

Perhaps we took Lempel's comments too literally but, either way, today's news suggests PlayStation isn't in the business of leaving anyone behind in the pivot to PS5, at least not in its first few years. 

Anyone who picks up Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PS4, for instance, will be able to play the PS5 version for free once they purchase PlayStation's next-gen console, adding another title to the ever growing list of PS5 upgrade games which offer a path free of paywalls for the millions of people who transition to the next console cycle in the years ahead. 

(Image credit: Sony)

"Today's news suggests PlayStation isn't in the business of leaving anyone behind in the pivot to PS5."

What's more, a separate blog post on PlayStation's website confirms that both Horizon Forbidden West and Sackboy: A Big Adventure are also heading to PS4 too, revealing that Sony's commitment to its existing platform extends well beyond PS5's launch day.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales' extended gameplay demo looked fantastic in action, but the fact is that Insomniac buried the lede somewhat by relegating the news of the game's PS4 release to a blog post.

That lede is this; Microsoft's goodwill (and, granted, a 100 million+ player base on PS4) is starting to rub off on Sony, and that can only mean good things for the entire industry as we head into the next-generation of interactive entertainment.

For more, be sure to check out all the biggest upcoming games of 2020 on the way, or watch the latest episode of Dialogue Options below. 

Alex Avard

I'm GamesRadar's Features Writer, which makes me responsible for gracing the internet with as many of my words as possible, including reviews, previews, interviews, and more. Lucky internet!