Bloodborne is one of the most celebrated platform exclusives for the PlayStation 4, but similar to the original Demon’s Souls on PS3, there’s the sense that momentum for the series has tailed off, despite enormous critical acclaim. There was never a sequel to the game, and not even a PlayStation 4 Pro upgrade was delivered. In the here and now, if you play Bloodborne on PlayStation 5, you have a 1080p experience at a wobbly 30 frames per second that is barely improved over the PS4 original. However, today, we can show how the game looks running flat out at 60fps via backwards compatibility, along with an additional pass of AI upscaling taking the action up to 4K. Put simply, you’ve got to see this.
The story behind the video is actually a bit of a saga. Back in May 2020, Digital Foundry showcased an unofficial unlocked fps patch for Bloodborne, coded up by Lance McDonald. McDonald tapped into changes to the code of Dark Souls 3’s PS4 Pro patch that enabled an unlocked frame-rate, bringing them into Bloodborne and essentially allowing the game to run at up to 60fps. But the problem was that the game was never designed to run on PS4 Pro, it couldn’t tap into all of the power of the machine – boost mode was as far as you could get. A locked 1080p60 was off the table while even 720p60 had issues, presumably because having removed the GPU bottleneck, CPU limitations became the issue. McDonald’s patch was released publicly a while ago now and could be run on development PS4 hardware and exploited retail machines.
A few weeks back, we received footage from someone who we understand to have taken McDonald’s patched rendition of Bloodborne and had somehow managed to get it running on what we can safely assume to be PlayStation 5 development hardware. We’ve not actually seen the console running the game, but there are two definitive pieces of evidence in the capture we have that confirm that this is indeed running on Sony’s new console. First of all, trophy notifications are of the PS5 style, while performance is essentially a flat 60 frames per second from start to finish at 1080p with just the occasional dropped frame – something we had never seen before. This was legit, it was indeed Bloodborne running faster and smoother than we’d ever seen before and it looked great, but we wanted more.