Hey, did you know that Bloodborne is still a PlayStation exclusive? Of course you do–the internet will never let you forget. Recently, Sony deleted a Bloodborne-related tweet after a legion of fans dogpiled it in the vain hope that an announcement was in the works. Indeed, it doesn’t take much for the 2015 game to trend on popular social media sites like Twitter. Even a pointed tweet from a noted figure in the Souls community like Lance McDonald can stir up the hornet’s nest.
But while the constant swirl of fan fervor can be annoying at times, it’s ultimately based on a fundamentally sound fact: Bloodborne is one of the few modern classics that’s limited by aging hardware. Regardless of where you stand on the console/PC divide, the fact that the version of Bloodborne that you can play on your shiny new PS5 is still locked to 1080p/30fps borders on publisher malpractice. But I would much rather play it at 144fps on my shiny gaming PC, and I’m far from the only fan who feels that way.
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Fellow high-profile PS exclusives like Ghost of Tsushima, God of War, and even the humble Days Gone have received patches that improve their performance on PS5, supporting 4K and higher frame rates. And it’s clear that Sony is committed to porting its exclusives to PC, as God of War and Days Gone are both on Steam. Despite this, Bloodborne remains stuck in the past.
These games were all made by Sony’s own first-party studios, of course, but Elden Ring showed that developer From Software is more than able to deliver great performance on these new machines. As such, it’s clear that FromSoft has the technical expertise to make Bloodborne run well on a PS5, or a PC for that matter. Indeed, McDonald himself developed an unofficial 60fps patch for Bloodborne that is only playable on modded PS4 consoles. So what’s the holdup?
Bloodborne has some of the best video game art of the 2010’s, but the frame rate leaves a lot to be desired.
From a pure business perspective, you might make the argument that holding back or pausing certain IP is beneficial to a company as big as Sony. Building anticipation for new titles is a strategy that’s worked well in the past for some. That’s exactly what happened with From Software’s cult progenitor Demon’s Souls, which was stuck on the ancient PS3 until Bluepoint’s remake brought it to a whole new generation of gamers on the PS5. While that’s a decent point, even Sony’s big franchises that haven’t seen a new entry in a few years (like Uncharted) have received collections, ports, and remasters.
In the seven years since Bloodborne’s release, From Software’s legacy as an all-time great developer has only grown, with the immaculate Sekiro and the massively-ambitious Elden Ring pushing boundaries of their achievements even further. That said, many Souls fans insist the Bloodborne is still their finest achievement–including me. Surely Sony is leaving money on the table by ignoring Bloodborne to this extent?.
In a world where already good-looking games like The Last of Us Part 1 can receive full-blown remakes–after already being remastered once, mind you–it seems unthinkable that a game with Bloodborne’s popularity and reputation would lie fallow for so long. Yet that’s exactly the situation we’re in.
Fans have a variety of theories that explain this radio silence, and they run the gamut from plausible to ludicrous. For years, rumors have circulated that Bluepoint is secretly working on a Demon’s Souls 2020-style Bloodborne remake, or perhaps even a sequel. Given that Sony owns the rights to Bloodborne, and Bluepoint just delivered a well-received FromSoft remake, this seems well within the realm of possibility. But some fans go so far as to claim that Sony has specifically halted production on a 4K patch in order to drum up hype for such a hypothetical remake. Needless to say, this seems pretty far-fetched as a business strategy.
Even the lowly Cleric Beast would look a lot better in 4K.
Recent reports from reliable insiders like Jeff Grubb indicate that Bluepoint is working on an original project rather than another remake. Grubb also stated that Bloodborne’s messy code would make it difficult for any developer other than From Software to actually craft a remaster, and that From itself is too busy with Elden Ring to tackle such a project.
The PS3 was a notoriously difficult console to work with, yet Bluepoint managed to capture many of the original Demon’s Souls’ eccentricities in its remake with minimal input from FromSoft. It’s hard to know for sure, but I think it’s within the studio’s abilities–it’s just whether or not management wants to commit to it.
For my own part, I think Miyazaki’s well-established love for Bloodborne has likely contributed to the current situation. Considering that it’s Miyazaki’s favorite project, it makes sense that the director would want to craft a remaster or remake for himself. However, given that DLC for Elden Ring is no doubt in the works, it’s likely that the developer is prioritizing it over any hypothetical Bloodborne-related project.
Regardless of the peculiarities of the situation, the bottom line is that Sony could issue a patch to fix Bloodborne’s performance on PS5 to modern standards. We’ve seen the fan-patch in action–we know it’s possible.
Even if you aren’t a fan of the game, there’s no denying that Bloodborne is an important exclusive for Sony, as well as one of the most critically-acclaimed games of the past 10 years. And so, though the fans might annoy you with their memes and overreactions to every breadcrumb of news, it’s important to remember that they really do have a point here. Bring Bloodborne to PC, cowards. The Old Blood demands it.
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