PS5 might not support these PS4 games — including some big ones

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

For months, Sony was pretty cautious about the extent of the PS5's backwards compatibility, but things seemed to be moving in the right direction. First, the company said that the “top 100 PS4 titles” would work at launch, but then added that it believed “the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5.”

When a list of 10 incompatible titles was revealed by the company, most were relieved — barring a few hardcore fans of We Sing. But now Ubisoft has cast some doubt on this rosey picture, before causing more confusion by going back on itself.

First, as spotted by The Verge, Ubisoft published a backwards compatibility list of its own stating that nine of its PS4 games wouldn’t work on PS5, including five Assassin’s Creed titles. The full list was as follows: 

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate 
  • Assassin’s Creed: Chronicles Trilogy Pack 
  • Assassin’s Creed: Chronicles India
  • Assassin’s Creed: Chronicles China 
  • Assassin’s Creed: Chronicles Russia  
  • Risk 
  • Star Trek: Bridge Crew
  • Werewolves Within  
  • Space Junkies 

But hours later, the company pulled the list, telling The Verge that “there may be inaccuracies involving the Ubisoft titles that will be playable on PS5.” 

While the withdrawal is good news, as it suggests some of the games above may work on PS5 after all, it seems pretty unlikely that every title mentioned worked flawlessly, which raises a number of big questions.

Firstly, if Ubisoft needs to publish its own list of backwards compatibility, it seems pretty clear that the reassuring selection published by Sony was far from complete. And while you may not care about Assassin’s Creed spin offs, you might feel more strongly about the back catalogue of Activision or EA.

Secondly, two of the games in the list — Star Trek: Bridge Crew and Space Junkies — are for PSVR. That’s alarming, as Sony had previously said that the PS4 PSVR headset would work fine with PS5, as long as you apply for the free camera adapter. Ubisoft’s list suggests things may not be that simple after all.   

So what explains this disconnect between Sony and Ubisoft? Well, one possibility is that the latter just has higher standards over what constitutes as a backwards compatible game. Sony’s own explainer article, after all, does caution that “some PS4 games may exhibit errors or unexpected behavior when played on PS5 consoles.” Maybe Ubisoft’s original list included games that presented small, non game breaking bugs, and the company decided to err on the side of caution?

We won’t know until Ubisoft publishes a revised list, but if you were planning on selling your PS4 straight away, this may make you think twice. At the very least, you can guarantee compatibility by streaming from old console to new.  

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.