Cyberpunk 2077’s PS5 and Xbox Series X upgrade can’t hit 4K

Cyberpunk 2077’s PS5 and Xbox Series X upgrade promised to deliver a 4K dynamic resolution in the game’s ray tracing and performance modes, but it reportedly doesn’t come close to hitting that target.

Technical experts Digital Foundry have discovered that Cyberpunk 2077’s next-gen patch is a clear improvement over the back-compat version we had before, but can’t meet the resolution targets promised by developer CD Projekt Red.

Cyberpunk 2077’s ray tracing mode on PS5 and Xbox Series X appears to run at a native 1440p. Digital Foundry said: “Dynamic resolution scaling may be in effect, but all results on all consoles deliver the same value in every scenario”, which doesn’t meet the proposed dynamic 4K resolution that CD Projekt Red highlighted in its consoles performance overview infographic.

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Cyberpunk 2077’s performance mode thankfully fares a little better but still can’t hit 4K. PS5 now operates in a 1260p to 1729p dynamic resolution window, and Xbox Series X now runs between 1382p to 1782p after the next-gen update. That’s a significant improvement for both consoles – PS5’s resolution previously came in around 972p and 1200p, for example – but it's still a far cry from the 2160p target of 4K.


Opinion: 4K isn't the be all and end all

Judy from Cyberpunk 2077 leaning on a table

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

It’s clear that CD Projekt Red’s 4K claim was a touch ambitious, then, and it’s a trap too many developers fall into. We’ve seen plenty of other studios claim that a game is running at a 4K resolution, when really it may only hit that target in ideal scenarios, like staring up into the sky. 

While it’s easier to market 4K to consumers than 1440p, we’ve seen plenty of titles deliver pristine image quality at that resolution. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, Death Stranding, and Ghost of Tsushima run at a lower resolution in performance mode and look extremely pleasing on higher resolution displays. The same goes for Cyberpunk 2077 on PS5 and Xbox Series X.

The problem is, Cyberpunk 2077 is a game that was previously criticized for overpromising and seriously underdelivering. The next-gen update will undoubtedly repair some of the bridges the developer burned after the release of the shocking PS4 and Xbox One versions, but it needs to avoid falling back into the same pitfalls that got it into trouble in the first place.

Cyberpunk 2077 on PS5 and Xbox Series X comes with a free five-hour trial so you can see whether Night City is worthy of your time and attention. The game has received multiple updates since its December 2020 release that have substantially changed how the game plays and performs. 

However, we’d still advise avoiding the PS4 and Xbox One versions and picking the game up on next-gen consoles or PC. If you do own Cyberpunk 2077 on last-gen consoles, the game can be upgraded to the PS5 and Xbox Series X version for free. 

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