The release of patch 1.16 for Horizon Forbidden West has finally fixed visual issues in the 60fps performance mode of the game, making it our new recommended way to play on PS5 versus the 30fps mode we preferred at launch. To find out exactly what changes were made behind the scenes, we spoke to Guerrilla Games, who provided some fascinating detail on the game’s anti-aliasing solution, and how it’s changed since launch.
So what were the original image quality complaints surrounding the 60fps performance mode at launch? In short, this mode gave an aliased, shimmery look to many objects, while even the higher fidelity 30fps mode exhibited a different kind of noticeable shimmering within foliage. Patch 1.07 included ‘tweaks to vegetation to improve image quality in performance mode’ but it only had a minimal impact on final image quality and any remained unhappy with the result.
Thankfully, Guerrilla’s second bite at the cherry in the form of patch 1.16 has produced much better results. Looking at moss and vegetation that demonstrated distracting shimmer in the launch version, the issue seems to have been completely fixed. The image is stable and clean in motion, with virtually all shimmering vanquished. It’s a similar situation if you look at the problematic red mist, with obvious visual aberrations in the launch code and a much more coherent appearance in 1.16. However, it seems that the red mist is actually no longer visible at greater distances – it only appears close to Aloy now. Ultimately though, the improvement here is dramatic – so what exactly has changed under the hood?