For Graham, Watch_Dogs was like a multi-pack bag of crisps – all choice and abundance, no soul. For many other people, however, it’s been like one of those bags that won’t open no matter how hard you try. You wrench and strain and try from different angles, but alas: nothing. You know something semi-flavorful is inside, but you just can’t get it to work right. Fortunately, Ubisoft is aware, and it’s working on a patch to alleviate some of the performance issues PC players have been encountering.
The biggest problems involve lag and stuttering, which technical director Sebastien Viard attempted to explain the source of on Twitter:
“Watch Dogs can use 3+ GB of RAM on [next-gen] consoles for graphics. Your PC GPU needs enough VRAM for ultra options due to the lack of unified memory.”
“If you experience lag/stutter on a fast PC, try to lower one of those settings to reduce the GPU VRAM usage: texture quality, AA, resolution.”
So basically, consoles draw on a single source of RAM shared by the whole system while PCs largely make use of graphics card video memory for, you know, graphics while system RAM does its heavy lifting elsewhere.
Regardless, Watch_Dogs looks good in some areas, acceptable in others, and downright bad elsewhere. It’s kind of upsetting that it’s causing PCs – high-end ones, especially – this much trouble. An upcoming patch, then, will hopefully remedy that. Viard wrote:
“Our PC programmers are also currently working on a patch to improve your experience thanks to your reports. Stay tuned.”
Make like a dog and watch. That’s what he should’ve said. It’s what I would’ve said, and look at me: I’m a run-ragged journalist making just-barely-enough-money, and he’s Code Lord on one of the year’s most popular games. Who’s the real winner here?