Hitman is already a visually impressive game. From snowy landscapes to ornate French mansions, the game isn't short on variety and an undeniable level of graphical polish in its levels. This graphical quality is going to get even better come January 31st 2017, as the game gets 4K and HDR support for the PS4 Pro.
4K is the next step for high-definition gaming and is growing faster and faster each day, with many households already using 4K TVs. HDR however isn't as well known, though it has been around for much longer.
HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is a technique that has been used in real-world applications since film-based photography in the mid 1900's. Mainly used in landscape photography, this practice combines images of different exposure values to mimic the same range of light the human can observe. With both film and digital photography being limited in the sort of light it can capture, HDR allows a much wider range of light to see details in both the highlights and the shadows.
In gaming, although the process for rendering these HDR images is different from real-life photography, the end result is still the same. HDR technology will allow for not only a much deeper range of detail in the shadows and highlights at any given time, but it will also allow for even brighter lights, meaning a more realistic effect from looking at bright objects such as spotlights and the sun.
IO Interactive programmer Anders Wang Kristensen had this to say:
As an example, think of 47 in a dark room looking out a bright window. Without HDR you would not be able make out what's outside, whereas with HDR you can simultaneously see details inside the room and outside the window. Another extreme example is the sun. Without HDR we could not render the sun brighter than a white piece of paper, so we had to ‘simulate’ the sun being blinding. With HDR we can draw the sun several times brighter, so that it is actually close to being blinding, just like in real life.
With Hitman being the latest game to receive these graphical improvements on the PS4 Pro, gaming is sprinting faster and faster towards a future of intense, photo-realistic graphical fidelity.