Exclusive: Death Stranding: Director’s Cut PS5 ultrawide support isn’t really ultrawide at all

Kojima Productions Death Stranding
(Image credit: Kojima Productions)

The announcement of Death Stranding: Director’s Cut for PS5 back in July came with one surprising detail that may have caught your eye: ultrawide support on PS5.

In a post on the PlayStation Blog, under PlayStation 5 features, it said players would be able to “Choose from two picture modes - Performance Mode with upscaled 4K and up to 60FPS or Fidelity Mode in native 4K – both with ultra-wide and HDR support”.

(Image credit: Future)

Considering that the PS5 is unable to output at 1440p, let alone display common ultra-wide resolutions like 3440x1440 or 2560x1080, I was curious as to how Death Stranding: Director’s Cut ultrawide support would work exactly. Would the PS5 really output at 21:9 when connected to compatible displays?

The short answer is no. The PS5 doesn’t support ultrawide monitors, but Death Stranding: Director’s Cut does offer its own take on the aspect ratio that has become popular with PC players due to the immersive experience it provides.

A Sony spokesperson told TechRadar: “Death Stranding Director’s Cut offers a Widescreen Mode for an ultra-wide play experience, using the console’s standard 16:9 aspect ratio to display letterboxed gameplay equivalent to 21:9 aspect ratio.”

The original PlayStation Blog post for Death Stranding: Director’s Cut has since been updated to reflect what TechRadar was told.

Analysis: Ultrawide support on PS5 did seem too good to be true 

Death Stranding

(Image credit: 505 Games)

We were always sceptical of ultrawide support on PS5, but it would have been nice to see Sony supporting more video outputs, especially for players who connect their PS5 to a monitor. 

Unlike Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One consoles, the PS5 only outputs at 1080p when connected to 1440p monitors, which is one of the most common resolutions for PC gamers. Ultrawide monitors, while less common, provide an incredibly immersive experience when gaming, but not every PC title has ultra-wide support.

It also wouldn’t have made sense for the PS5 to only support a few titles in ultra-wide, and would require work to ensure that the UI and other elements of Sony console were also compatible with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

Death Stranding: Director’s Cut widescreen support isn’t the same as The Order 1886, though, which was displayed in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio to make the game feel more cinematic. We’ve also seen letterboxing used in Tango Gameworks title, The Evil Within. Hideo Kojima, creator of Death Stranding, clarified that more information is shown when using the game's wide mode, which lets players see a wider range of backgrounds, enemies and items.

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As TechRadar's Computing Editor Matt Hanson notes: "For PC gamers, ultrawide monitors are some of the best purchases you can make. The sheer immersion of a 21:9 aspect ratio is unrivalled, and by giving you a wider field of view, it can also grant you a competitive advantage - allowing you to see enemies you might have missed." 

However, Hanson isn't convinced that ultrawide support on PS5 makes sense just yet.

"But do I want ultrawide support on the PS5? Not really. Consoles like the PS5 are designed to be played in front of a TV, and those are all 16:9. The percentage of PS5 players who will be using a 21:9 monitor is probably tiny - so Sony and it's devs would be better off concentrating on less niche features."

So will Death Stranding: Director’s Cut be worth playing in 21:9? That depends. It’s certainly a neat extra for players to experiment with, but those who were hoping to see proper ultra-wide support on PS5 may be disappointed.

Death Stranding: Director's Cut releases exclusively on PS5 on September 24, 2021. Those who own the game on PS4 can upgrade to the PS5 version for $10 / £9.99.

Adam Vjestica

Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.