Horizon Forbidden West is so large it needs two discs on PS4

Aloy in Horizon Forbidden West looking into the distance
(Image credit: Guerrilla Games)

Horizon Forbidden West is now out in the wild, but if you were to pick up a physical copy of Aloy’s next adventure in a good old-fashioned brick-and-mortar store, you might find a surprise inside.

The PS4 version of Horizon Forbidden West comes on not one, but two discs, splitting the massive 97GB, open-world game between them.

Spotted by one Twitter user, the game’s PS5 version is more typical, requiring only a single disc to play.

While often seen as a remnant of the past, it’s not uncommon for large contemporary games that require lots of storage space to be split across several discs. Red Dead Redemption 2’s 100GB was broken across two, as was The Last of Us 2.

Both of those titles, as is presumably the case with Horizon Forbidden West, required two discs to install, but only one to play. Once you’ve transferred the games' data onto your hard drive, you only need the ‘play disc’ to boot them up and run them. 

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 Analysis: PS5's Ultra HD Blu-ray struts its stuff

So, why does the PS5 version of Horizon Forbidden West require only one disc? As you’d expect of the next console generation, hardware improvements mean two discs simply aren’t required.

The PS5’s disc drive can read Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, which have a maximum storage capacity of 100GB. The PS4 meanwhile, is only compatible with standard Blu-ray discs. They have a lower storage size of approximately 50GB, which means larger games like Horizon Forbidden West have to be split across two of them. Of course, if you picked up the PS5 digital edition, then your console won’t be able to read any discs at all.

On top of the additional storage space, many PS5 games require fewer gigabytes than their PS4 versions. Using Sony’s in-house compression tech Kraken, next-gen games can be developed to eat less of your SSD. Subnautica, for instance, requires 14GB of space on PS4 but only 3.5GB on PS5. It doesn’t look like that compression tech has been implemented here, however, with Horizon Forbidden West actually demanding an extra gigabyte on PS5. But the possibility remains for future releases.

Find out what all the critics had to say with our Horizon Forbidden West review roundup, and look out for TechRadar Gaming’s own thoughts later.

Callum Bains
Gaming News Writer

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.