The PlayStation 2 isn’t just Sony’s best-selling games console. It’s still the best-selling console ever. Now, it’s finally possible to play PS2 games on the current PlayStation 4 – in theory and, in three instances, in practise as well.
It’s a major breakthrough, but not one announced by Sony PlayStation itself. Instead, tech-focused outlets have been picking up on the discovery.
“The arrival of PS2 emulation on the PlayStation 4 is a big deal… [It’s] one of the classic pieces of console hardware, and the ability to access that back catalogue with enhanced visuals is a tantalising proposition,” wrote Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter.
The community was alert to the possibility of emulated PS2 games in January 2014. By September 2015, Gematsu had found fresh age ratings for three classic PlayStation 2 games – “Ape Escape 2,” “Dark Cloud 2” and “Twisted Metal: Black” – concluding that emulation was nearly here.
But instead of September’s suspects, it’s actually a clutch of “Star Wars” tie-ins that show the PlayStation 2 back catalogue – or part of it, at least – is coming to PlayStation 4.
The achievement was flagged up after 2002’s “Star Wars: Racer Revenge,” “Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter,” and “Star Wars: Bounty Hunter,” part of a promotional Star Wars Classics bundle, were this week released as PlayStation Network downloads.
Each of the older games start up by showing the PlayStation 2 logo, the PlayStation 4 touchpad subs in for the PS2’s Start and Select buttons, and the PS4 pretends that game data is stored on PS2 memory cards.
Original, low-resolution graphics are now not quite High Definition, but are certainly much better suited to HD displays; there’s also support for progress-related Trophies, a PlayStation Network feature that didn’t arrive until 2008.
“You can safely say that none of this would be happening if this were [remastered for PS4.]” Leadbetter remarked in an explanatory video.
The news comes after the Xbox One was made compatible with a 104-title roster of old Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade games on November 12.
Those Xbox 360 and XBLA games could be played at no additional cost, and after completing a digital download, upon the presentation of a retail disc or relevant Xbox Live account.
PlayStation confirmed to Wired that it was working on PS2 emulation for the PS4, but did not outline how that would work in terms of release schedule or pricing practices.