Last week Ubisoft reintroduced Watch_Dogs with a brand new story trailer and also announced that the game will release on May 27th. Unfortunately for Ubisoft, the supposed downgrade in visuals over shadowed the release date announcement. The community backlash was so intense that Ubisoft had to arrange for a live stream Q&A with the developers to answer any questions that the community may have and also to assure gamers that there is no downgrade in Watch_Dogs visuals.
First of all, comparing the PS4 version of Watch_Dogs to the E3 2012 reveal trailer is a bit unfair, since the demo was running on a pretty high end PC, and Sony never announced the PlayStation 4 back then. The PC version ‘should’ look as good if not better than the reveal gameplay video, provided you have a beast gaming rig. The moment Sony announced the PlayStation 4, Ubisoft have demonstrated Watch_Dogs either on a PC that had specs comparable to the PS4 or on the actual hardware itself. These demonstrations happened during the PS4’s reveal event, E3, via a developer walkthrough and last week at a press event in Ubisoft Montreal. Neogaf user DieH@rd posted an in-depth comparison of all four demos which indicates that a significant downgrade never happened for the PlayStation 4 version.
First of all at the PS4 reveal event, Watch_Dogs was demonstrated on a PC which had PS4 level specifications. The results as you can see are below. This build apparently had a bit of screen tearing.
Fast forward June 2013. Ubisoft demonstrated Watch_Dogs running on the PlayStation 4. You will obviously witness the lack of expensive AA, depth of field and water physics. This is a given because the PS4 is reported to have an AMD 7000 series custom GPU and as expected will lag when compared to a high end modern PC GPU. Regardless, the game seemed locked at 30fps with v-sync enabled on the PlayStation 4.
Then in November of last year, Ubisoft revealed yet another demonstration, this time in the form of a developer walkthrough. The only difference when compared to the E3 demo was that this time the gameplay took place in day which meant that several effects like lower quality time shadows and lack of an expensive AA were clearly visible.
Six months later, Ubisoft showed off the PS4 version which apparently does not have any downgrade when compared to previous versions above. Yes, this car shot does look a bit odd due to the complete lack of lighting and shadow effects, but if you negate that, the GIFS below do indicate that there has not been any significant downgrade to the PS4 version.
It should be noted that weather also plays a role in creating immersion. Reflections from a wet surface, different times of the day and various other factors play an important role in creating the required visual impact. Given that there are a few more months before Watch_Dogs releases, Ubisoft should be able to iron out the visual bugs and make our trip to Chicago worth it.
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