Back in August, Sony unveiled Star Wars-themed PlayStation 4 bundle for Star Wars: Battlefront. Tantalizing details included a Darth Vader-themed DualShock 4 controller, Battlefront itself, and four additional downloadable games available via a code voucher. These extra titles are re-releases of classics and include Super Nintendo's Super Star Wars, and PlayStation 2 releases Star Wars: Racer Revenge, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, and Star Wars Bounty Hunter.
The latter three are adding credence to speculation that the the long-rumored ability for Sony fans to play PS1 and PS2 titles on the PS4 is on the way. Let's take a closer look at the evidence.
Reddit user Krvavi_Abadas released a lengthy post presenting information gathered from a Twitch stream of Star Wars Bounty Hunter. Discovered during the session was the PS2 controller layout detailing the different controls in the options menu, a sign that the game wasn't ported or updated to be used specifically for the PlayStation 4 but instead is possibly running via an emulator, in a similar fashion to how the Xbox One can now emulate select Xbox 360 games.
Of the four classic Star Wars games available in the included bundle, only the Super Star Wars is currently sold separately on the PlayStation store. It’s believed that the other games - the PS2 ones - are all running on emulator software which may explain why they're still under wraps for consumers who haven’t bought the Darth Vader bundle pack.
The speculation and rumors for potential PS4 emulator software to run older titles has been around since the platform's launch, but the stars seem to be aligning right now. That PEGI recently rated a handful of PS2 titles (Ape Escape 2, Dark Cloud 2, and Twisted Metal: Black) for release is the strongest evidence for this, but Sony is also currently holding the patent for trophy support in PS1 and PS2 titles. With these Star Wars PS2 games already available in the bundle not being in the store for others to download, it’s speculated that they’re being held back until Sony makes the official announcement for backwards compatibility. If there is one to be made...
Shots were fired by Sony when they were mocking Microsoft’s at-the-time out of control Xbox One DRM policies. So, last week Microsoft fired back, mirroring that same shot in the below Xbox UK ad. It remains to be seen if Sony is going to be returning fire once again with the possibilities of two generations of console games becoming available on the PlayStation 4, but the evidence seems to be all but screaming it from the rooftops. Then again, last month Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida flat out said "no" to backward compatibility when it came to the PS3, likely so they can re-release their own titles and double-dip with their remasters (see: Uncharted trilogy and The Last of Us). Hopefully they feel different about their older games...
With the recent PS4 price drop helping Sony continue to boast high sales, Microsoft won the month of October in hardware sales with the Xbox One thanks to exclusive releases including Halo 5: Guardians and the buzz surrounding Rise of the Tomb Raider and the sold out Xbox Elite Controller. That trend is expected to continue, according to Microsoft, and the Xbox One's dashboard relaunch last week - which features their own jump into backward compatibility support - is something the Sony camp will need to compete with. Adding in support for previous generations of PS consoles would exponentially increase the PS4's game library beyond what the limited and criticized PlayStation Now streaming service offers.
Is it realistic to expect PS1 and PS2 support or is all of this just wishful thinking? Share your thoughts in the comments!
The Darth Vader PS4 Star Wars: Battlefront bundle was released on November 17th, with further details on PS1 and PS2 titles TBA.