The issue initially came to light on Twitter, where assets captured by Digital Foundry were being discussed.
Now, Beyond: Two Souls developer Quantic Dream has exclusively provided Eurogamer with assets from Beyond's game files, along with a detailed explanation for why the PS4 edition of the game is different.
Below are images showing how the character models differ between the game's two versions.
Quantic Dream boss David Cage has also responded personally, and discussed the changes in character models in full.
In each case, a character model from the PS3 version can be seen to have been updated for Beyond on PS4.
Cage's statement addresses claims made on social media that the game's characters had been deliberately altered with the intention of making them appear lighter-skinned.
The Quantic Dream director also details the processes affecting the PS4 version - such as updated lighting, a new skin shader, and why the character models seen above have been updated.
Finally, Cage also points to Quantic Dream's previous emphasis on promoting characters from different cultural backgrounds.
Here's the text in full:
It has been brought to our attention that someone on Twitter published screenshots from BEYOND: TWO SOULS PS4 with comments mentioning that some characters in the Embassy scene would have been "white-washed" compared to the original PS3 version. Some internet sites also echoed this tweet.
So here is the explanation:
Beyond is a game featuring 300+ unique characters. The cast features many different races, including some Arab characters in the scene called THE EMBASSY. The scene takes place in what is obviously a middle-eastern embassy, with characters who are obviously from the middle-east, wearing obviously Arabic clothes and speaking obviously Arabic.
What was reported is that a couple of guards and passers-by in the Embassy appear to have a lighter skin compared to the original game.
This is due to two reasons:
1. the lighting has changed as well as the skin shader we use, leading to slightly lighter skins in general (which can also be seen on Jodie's white skin), although some black skins are a little bit darker (which has not been reported...).
2. All characters have been upgraded on the PS4 version compared to the PS3, which sometimes led to creating a new face that can be different from the previous one (as well as different clothes or accessories). The skin tone or type of few characters may have changed in the process, although only a couple of characters out of 300 have seen their skin getting slightly lighter (without changing their racial type to keep the consistency of the characterisation).
Talking about the skin colour of two guards in the context of a game like Beyond is absurd, and for me personally, upsetting. Quantic Dream has been actively promoting cultural, gender and racial diversity in all of its past and present games, as well as in our own company. Quantic Dream is a studio in which people from around the globe, of all races and religions work together and share the same passion for crafting meaningful emotional experiences.
We sadly regret that we have to justify ourselves when the skin color of a passer-by has slightly changed for technical reasons, but we would like to reassure our fans and tell them that Quantic Dream will continue to promote racial and gender diversity in games, as well as positive human emotions and values.