Apple unveiled its new iPhone 15 lineup at its Wonderlust event on Tuesday, announcing plans to bring some AAA console and PC games to the mobile platform. That is if you purchase an iPhone 15 Pro, which is powered by the cutting-edge six-core A17 Pro chipset that allows for the games to run natively on the device with ray-tracing enabled. Games like Resident Evil 4 remake, Resident Evil Village, Death Stranding, and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Mirage will be out on the iPhone 15 Pro later this year and into early 2024. The company has historically boasted about its mobile devices’ gaming performance, but this would be the first time we ever actually get to see it in action.
This partly has to do with AAA game developers’ reluctance to ship the titles on Apple’s latest devices, which is understandable considering its hardware previously wasn’t strong enough to run high-profile titles at decent framerates. Hideo Kojima was the first to embrace the company’s new claims, announcing that his genre-defying package delivery game Death Stranding would be headed to macOS, later this year. At the time, we got to see some slightly laggy raw footage of the game utilising the Metal 3 graphics processing system, though there was no confirmation of a mobile port until now. AAA gaming on mobile previously relied on cloud-based technologies to stream PC and console games onto handheld devices, where the performance was heavily affected by varying internet speeds.
It’s insane to think that the newly-released Resident Evil 4 remake will soon be playable on a mobile device, throwing us back into the ghoulish Spanish village to save the US President’s daughter from the clutches of the Los Illuminados cult. Even more remarkable is the fact that Assassin’s Creed Mirage — out October 5 on PC and consoles — is headed to iPhone 15 Pro by early next year, marking the first time a mainline entry from the franchise will be playable natively on mobile. The Baghdad-set chapter has you play as Basim Ibn Ishaq, a small-time thief who gets indoctrinated into the Hidden Ones clan and rises the ranks to become a professional assassin. With this entry, Ubisoft is also taking a back-to-basics approach that’s focused on crafty stealth assassinations, rather than the open-world RPG affair the franchise veered into in the last few years.
Another Ubisoft title coming to the iPhone 15 Pro is The Division Resurgence, which is a mobile game through and through, set in a post-crisis New York City after a deadly virus outbreak led to the collapse of society and the government. It will also be available on Android in autumn/ fall 2023.
While all this sounds cool, I find it hard to imagine anyone would be willing to pay AAA prices to play these games on a tiny screen. Not to mention, having to deal with the translucent on-screen buttons that would take up the left-hand side for a movement analogue stick and the right for action buttons. Sure, some of this can be mitigated by connecting the iPhone 15 Pro to a detachable mobile controller via USB-C — Backbone’s Android controller, for instance — though I really hope that the games come with an option to disable touch-screen controls. Then there’s also the battery and heat management factor. There’s so much we still don’t know.
Apple’s latest iPhone 15 series goes on sale on September 22, but there are no concrete release dates for the games coming to iOS.