Ubisoft Explains Hidden Watch_Dogs E3 2012 Graphics

By Nathan Grayson on June 20th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

portentous manfront

Good thing: Watch_Dogs on PC can look nearly as good as the (in)famous 2012 E3 demo that started at all, and it’s not even that hard to do thanks to some hidden graphics files that modders dug up. Bad thing: they were hidden. That certainly doesn’t look good. Ubisoft has an explanation, though.

Ubisoft wrote about why it buried graphics files instead of letting them fly free and dance in the godray forests. They did not, however, go into why they didn’t expect that anybody would crack open their game about hacking.

“The dev team is completely dedicated to getting the most out of each platform, so the notion that we would actively downgrade quality is contrary to everything we’ve set out to achieve. We test and optimize our games for each platform on which they’re released, striving for the best possible quality. The PC version does indeed contain some old, unused render settings that were deactivated for a variety of reasons, including possible impacts on visual fidelity, stability, performance and overall gameplay quality.”

“Modders are usually creative and passionate players, and while we appreciate their enthusiasm, the mod in question (which uses those old settings) subjectively enhances the game’s visual fidelity in certain situations but also can have various negative impacts. Those could range from performance issues, to difficulty in reading the environment in order to appreciate the gameplay, to potentially making the game less enjoyable or even unstable.”

So that’s that, I guess. Graham tried out the buried graphics setting to varying degrees of success, so it’s definitely not perfect. Perhaps Ubisoft could spruce it up and release it officially as a new in-game graphics setting? Somehow I doubt that will happen, but if you give modders something to tinker with, they’ll make tinker-ade. Or every addition to a game you could possibly imagine, as it were. So maybe something more… consistent will come out of all this, somehow. Here’s hoping. And watching. And dogging. And underscoring.

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94 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    There is something off about claiming to do your best to get the most out of every platform, and then hiding settings that only seem to need a bit of fiddling to work out wonderfully for most people, for some even vastly improving performance in a game often troubled by problems with that.

    • Premium User Badge

      SuddenSight says:

      I don’t see the big controversy, to be honest. From Graham’s post it seems most of the settings range from kinda weird (he mentions that the main character just looks wet all the time with all the settings turned on) to gameplay-interfering (the bokeh distance settings make long-range gun fights impossible) to buggy. Why should they reveal any of those settings to the users? If a setting shows up in the gameplay options screen, I expect the game to be easily playable with those settings on or off.

      And it doesn’t sound like they went out of their way to hide these settings. I mean, they are still in the ini files apparently. They even named them E3 settings! In what way does this sound like a cover-up?

      Honestly, this just sounds like the difference between what looks good for trailers and what plays well in-game, which shouldn’t be surprising at all.

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        They weren’t in an ini file, they were packed and needed specialist tools to unpack.

        Not siding either way, just pointing it out.

        • Premium User Badge

          Harlander says:

          I’ve seen a few other games that pack their ini files inside archives like that.

          It’s pretty annoying.

      • IneptFromRussia says:

        Definitely. This does seam like some interesting graphical presets they tried to implement but decided against to make the game more playable. There is something about to be said about certain smaller effects like more consistent dynamic shadows and reflections, but overall i think it just wasn’t completely ready for the release. While the port is garbage its definitely not a sabotage in favor of new consoles, just lousy development. This is like applying sweetfx injectors to Skyrim and then complaining to Bethesda why wouldn’t they make the game look like this in the first place, since its fairly easy to implement.

        • supermini says:

          How does it make the game more playable?

          • IneptFromRussia says:

            Try it out. DoF in particular makes for good screenshots, but not so much for actually playing the game.

          • iainl says:

            The video in the article was pretty clear for me – the depth of field was so ludicrously shallow that it was not only unbelievable (the field of view is sufficiently wide to get it focused on the character, and yet so blurry in the background that daytime images would need both an unrealistically fast piece of glass but some ND filters to compensate), but meant that you couldn’t see the people on the far side of the road, when one of them was hacking him and others were shooting.

            A milder setting would possibly do wonders in hiding detail pop-in and giving a realistic, pleasant look to the vehicle sections in particular, but rather than embark on extensive testing to find the right point, they just canned it. Which is fair enough, I guess.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            @IneptFromRussia – DoF is where it begins and where it ends. Everything else is pretty much a win-win.

            BTW: In latest version of the mod they adjusted the depth of field so it doesn’t look as stupid as on the video presented.

          • Flopper says:

            This mod is a pile of shit. It looks awful… I played with it on for about 10 minues then immediately deleted the files. Hot garbage. Way too much depth of field. Looks like what I probably saw back in my early twenties wandering the streets of Germany as a drunken soldier. Yuck.

      • Janichsan says:

        “Cover up” might be wrong word here. “Outright lying” and “deceiving” might be more fitting.

        The way it looks now is that Ubi has built-in some graphical fluff just for the purpose of making the game look more impressive in the E3 demo that they never had the intention to integrate in the final release. If they really have named these option internally “E3 settings” (did they really?), it does nothing but substantiate this suspicion.

        • derbefrier says:

          Lol don’t be so dramatic. I would bet money there was nothing deliberate about this. I would guess what we saw at E3 was what the devs were hoping to achieve and what we got was what they could realisticly achieve while maintaining a smooth gameplay expirience. I find it quite amusing how some people assume nefarious intent when realistically its probably just plain old human error in judgement.

          • Janichsan says:

            “I would bet money there was nothing deliberate about this. … I find it quite amusing how some people assume nefarious intent when realistically its probably just plain old human error in judgement.”
            You mean plain old error in judgement like in the cases of all these alleged “gameplay” demonstrations that turned out to be pre-rendered fakes?

            Seriously: anyone who still thinks E3 presentations are anything but faked and deliberately altered to give intentionally false impressions has been living under a rock in the last couple of years.

          • elevown says:

            Also known as Hanlon’s razor –

            Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

          • supermini says:

            No one beat Ubisoft into showing footage on E3 that’s not representative of the final product, or generating the massive amount of hype to drive pre-orders. Yes, don’t attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence, but don’t accept incompetence and deception as normal.

          • Baines says:

            When it comes to “smooth gameplay” and potential performance hits, what about the claims by people who have used the mod that:
            1) The mod actually improves stability over the vanilla game.
            2) The performance hit, when noticeable at all, is negligible. (And much are optional features, anyway.)

            It sounds like the majority of performance issues are in vanilla Watch_Dogs.

            Now, to be fair, Ubisoft could have been looking at potential complaints from people who were upset that their five year old work salvage laptop couldn’t run the game with everything maxed…

          • RedWurm says:

            @elevown
            I am compelled to add Grey’s Corollary:

            Sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.

          • Geebs says:

            @Baines – simple: start an argument on a games forum about the perceptual difference between 24, 30 and 60 fps and watch the idiocy commence. Then adjust claims about how much better any mod (apart from dsfix) makes the original by the observed level of self-deception.

          • Janichsan says:

            Look, the question here is not whether the developers made a mistake by showing off features that didn’t work out too well. The question is how honest they are about what they presented on the E3 back then.

            It’s one thing to walk on stage and say, “Hey, here is a quite early demo built specifically for this presentation and everything you’ll see can be subject to change. The final product may or may not look and play like this.” Or maybe even show only a concept video and be upfront about that.

            It’s a completely different thing to step on stage and say, “What you’ll see now is real, actual gameplay. The final version will for sure look like this – even though we won’t tell you yet on what platform…” *wink* *wink* And maybe even put some dude on stage miming to play to game right now in front of the audience.

            In case you forgot it: Ubisoft did the latter (I don’t remember for sure if there was a controller mime, though).

            As lame as EA’s presentation this year might been, when they showed only gameplay concepts and clearly labeled them as this, there were at least honest. (And yes, I’m aware I just called EA “honest”. I can hardly believe it myself.)

        • BananaMan3000 says:

          Sorry but as usual for people raging on the internet you haven’t got the slightest clue what you’re talking about.

          When games are prepared for E3 a section of the game is chosen to be shown off and it’s then polished up to what will hopefully be final quality. Bear in mind there is often an enormous amount of work still to be done on the game with months or years of feature development, polish, artwork, gameplay, work on the engine and optimisation still to come. Games during development can change radically in 3 months. During crunch at the end they can change enormously in the last 2 weeks as everything comes together and all the teams deliver their work and features are finished. The WD 2012 demo came out 2 full years before the release of the game and before the next gen hardware was even finalised!

          Yes of course development was specifically done for the E3 demo – it has to look like a polished full game before years before it’s actually finished!

          Source: 8 years working in cross platform AAA development

          Also idea the game was deliberately downgraded by the team working on it to make the game look better on the next-gen consoles is so stupid I don’t know why I’m even typing this. People that believe shit like this area the reason devs can’t actually ever talk to the public and everything goes through PR people. They’re also the reason some people have stopped vaccinating their kids and and the ones who think the queen is a lizard and the US Govt is hiding alien “free energy” technology. One wrong move and the legions of 14 yr olds with no knowledge of software development, life, or how complex endeavours like making a game with 800 people spread out across the world actually works will spasm into a giant shitstorm over nothing at all.

          The simply reality is this – people feel confident in their opinions about subjects they have literally no experience or knowledge of precisely because of their ignorance – they will happily bend and twist little bits of information and find innuendos to fit their pre-existing views rather than challenge them. Sober facts, doubt, and rationale quickly fade compared to the joy of being told something that can be bent to confirm something you already think.

          • inf says:

            Great, another asshole claming to be a AAA dev employer to endorse his arguments. It doesn’t matter if even a hundred of you show up. It doesn’t retract from the fact that Ubisoft created a blatant lie, no matter all the hardships of development. A choice was made to show a certain type of content, and was passed off as being the final “gameplay” product. This my good sir, is called a bait and switch. You can keep trying to justify this kind of marketing, or you can acknowledge (in the presumption that you are truly a developer) that in this case, some very fundamental mistakes were made in the choice of how this game was marketed. It’s a case of pure bait & switch, nothing more, nothing less. Everything else is rationalization on your part.

          • BananaMan3000 says:

            Yeah definitely don’t listen to those “asshole AAA devs” when talking about AAA development, much better to listen to a bunch of anonymous kids on the internet with axes to grind.

            As I explained E3 demos are an attempt at making a final polished looking game YEARS before the game is actually finished, which will be run on hardware that doesn’t even exist yet! Two years of development and a shitload of changes to the art, hardware, drivers, engine, work for each of the individual platforms, shaders, optimisation whatever – mean the game is going to be a little different from the preview you saw 2 years ago.

            If you refuse to understand that making a polished demo of a game that looks final years before the thing is actually anywhere near finished may look slightly different from the final product when then there’s simply no hope.

          • inf says:

            I’m not calling an authentic AAA developer an asshole by definition, it’s what i’m calling some of those pretending to be, and they are many. Neither do i listen to some kids on the internet, the facts are kind of hard to get around. But as you said, there is no hope right? Might as well stop posting nonsensical comments then, save us both some energy and time.

            If you are truthful, then by all means have a fulfilling AAA career developing and selling lies mate, i’ll be in the corner supporting smaller developers that actually market what they’re gonna ship. Good luck.

          • Convolvulus says:

            Let’s watch the tone. That’s BananaMan3000, for crying out loud. If you ever want to work in this industry again you’ll show him the deference befitting a BananaMan of his stature. Everyone knows that the only solid appeals to authority come from anonymous people on the internet.

            Source: eleventy years in ‘The Biz’

            Incidentally, I was on the team that made Watch_Dogs, and we totally downgraded the PC port to keep it a bit closer to the last-gen versions. Sorry, guys.

          • BananaMan3000 says:

            Yes I know I’m such a bloody paternalist and making a blatant appeal to authority by trying to give you some insight into game development in a discussion about game development.

            Imagined scandals like this are the exact reason developers can’t reveal themselves online or talk to gamers directly unless they have to. You’re basically entering an arena with a bunch of anonymous kids that will believe what they want, rage over some perceived scandal and will be convinced by the most tenuous logic or evidence and despite it not making any sense or having no experience or knowledge of the subject at hand. I’ve read countless comments from people convinced they know exactly what has happened or exactly why some decision was made during development on games I fucking worked on that I couldn’t have answered myself! Developing a game for several years with 500+ people spread all over the globe is unbelievably complicated and is still barely understood by the people doing it. Guess what – the angry kid in the comments of that thread/blogpost probably doesn’t either.

            Forums and comments sections are mostly the domain of people suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect, and the shitstorm they create puts off anyone that actually wants smart, reasonable discussion from taking part. If you swim in shit you’re going to get dirty – most people prefer then not to take part at all. Over and out.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            It doesn’t really help when every comment from you here (except perhaps on the EVE articles) is written from a very tall horse, high above a sea of screaming morons who obviously don’t understand your expert truths.
            If you want to share your insights into the subject, a bit of humble may help your point across.

          • KenTWOu says:

            One wrong move and the legions of 14 yr olds with no knowledge of software development, life, or how complex endeavours like making a game with 800 people spread out across the world actually works will spasm into a giant shitstorm over nothing at all.

            That’s how recent AC:Unity scandal really happened.

          • sd4f says:

            @bananaman3000;
            It’s all well and good to explain the situation from a top-down perspective, but consider the attitude of the general pc gamers. Sure they don’t have a clue about vidya gaem development, but they’ve been lied to. They were shown one thing a couple of years ago, and now the game that got released is rather universally seen as inferior. One would expect that, if they were capable of demonstrating it two years ago, after two years it should be equal to or even better, but not worse. If the end product is going to be worse than the demonstration, then one really has to question why the demo is being shown.

            Again, it’s easy for you, being that one in a hundred thousand, if not one in a million who makes the games that the rest play, but really, if it means that you have to be making games to understand and justify the situation, that 99.999% people don’t understand, then maybe the smoke and mirrors is the issue.

          • KenTWOu says:

            @sd4f
            Pre-alpha version (plural pre-alpha versions) – A development status given to a program or application that is usually not feature complete, and is not usually released to the public. Developers are usually still deciding on what features the program should have at this status. This status comes before the alpha version, and is the first status given to a program.

            You don’t need to be a video game/software developer to know this term. And It was clear that the first E3 demo of Watch Dogs wasn’t feature complete. For example, at the end of the presentation they showed a glimpse of co-op multiplayer mode. They didn’t mention it a year later at E3 2013 and it didn’t get in the final game.

    • Geebs says:

      I dunno whether you can really take the reports of “wow this game now looks so much better, modders are great and the devs are just inept” at face value though.
      1) these things usually have huge system requirements, like the more gratuitous enbseries mods. People with higher end gear will be much less affected by the higher requirements, to the extent that they might see a 5% slowdown where somebody with an older card is getting a slideshow.
      2) 95% of graphics mods make the game look like total arse. Blurry, sparkly, glowing arse.
      3) the other 5% only work because the game is now five years old and everybody’s PC is now better equipped to play it.
      Unfortunately, the sort of people who make forum posts extolling the virtues of all of this are basically the audiophiles of rasterisation. Ugh.

      (Also it’s a bit rich that people are accusing Ubi of some sort of cover up – at least they did their E3 bullshots in engine, and not some sort of pre-rendered nonsense)

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        Luckily enough – this mod doesn’t fall into any of 3 categories you listed.

        • Geebs says:

          I fully expect that when you get cataracts, you’ll refuse to have them removed, citing the “more realistic depth of field” and “improved lens flares”.

      • Premium User Badge

        Arren says:

        “[T]he audiophiles of rasterisation…”

        Priceless — thanks for that!

    • Chuckleluck says:

      Silly commenters – as a news agency, RPS is supposed to drum up controversy over nothing, not you.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Their point would be more believable if the game as they released it didn’t run like a complete bag of arse.

  2. jalais says:

    The higher setting were disabled because (among other things) it might impact the visual fidelity? That’s like removing your skin to hide a pimple.

    • drinniol says:

      It would be, if those settings were actually higher, not just different.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        But they are higher. Read a full list of unlocks before you post.

        • waltC says:

          Ubisoft has on numerous occasions illustrated sociopathic malice towards the PC platform, up to and including a short-lived announcement a few years ago that they were discontinuing all PC platform support because none of their titles sold well on the PC. Despite the fact that (obviously) this incredibly stupid idea was quickly overruled by someone in the company using more than a quarter of his brain, the fact is that Ubisoft never for one minute blamed their lackluster PC sales on their own software–oh, no!–they blamed it all on the incredible, edible “Software Pirate!”…;) Yea, just ask Chris Roberts about all of the Kickstarter PC-software piracy he’s experienced thus far in the making of Star Citizen! (I doubt that Ubisoft comprehends Kickstarter, really, or cares to find out.)

          Ubisoft stays locked in a perpetual mode of circle-the-wagons stupidity that often defies belief! Instead of providing non-answers to simple questions and getting uppity and defensive, Ubisoft should simply and quietly say:

          “Yea, you know the PC has gobs more graphics horsepower than consoles–John Carmack once stated it was more powerful by a factor of 10x on average–and the good news is that we want PC users to hang tight because we’ve got some serious improvements in that department coming to Watchdogs PC!”

          And then Ubisoft should release a patch delivering exactly that.

          The problem is…that Ubisoft isn’t going to do that. Ubisoft has already stated, more or less, “It is what it is. Don’t like it? Eat dung and die, for all we care!” And so ends another brilliant public-relations chapter in the life of Ubisoft–however short that proves to be…;)

          • Baines says:

            Now you know Star Citizen isn’t a fair comparison in regards to piracy. You need to have a game to pirate, after all. Chris Roberts is probably using the Kickstarter money to build a real spaceship, which he will use to escape Earth the day before Star Citizen’s oft-delayed 2057 release date comes due still without a game to release.

            But yes, Ubisoft has repeatedly been deceptive about or outright lied about PC games and PC game issues. And that is just the times Ubisoft was caught with obvious counter evidence.

  3. Squirly says:

    Ubisoft: Our marketing and PR department is filled with morons, top to bottom.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      They still lag behind people from EA.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        But they’re doing their level best to close the gap!

        • Geebs says:

          They’re not anywhere near as stupid as their audience. What I learnt from this: there are people out there who think that the “autodetect graphics settings” option in games is actually somehow being done in hardware and isn’t just a bunch of presets, and that therefore autodetect somehow unlocks features the developers didn’t even know about as long as you have a new graphics card.

  4. kevmscotland says:

    Honestly, I don’t work there nor am I a game developer so I can’t say why they disabled the settings.

    The game has much deeper flaws than just the visuals but its worth mentioning the whole reason this mod exists is because Ubisoft left the original shaders and stuff in the game files. This then opened the door for modders to tweak and change various things within the game for those that wanted too.

    All this drama is going to do is ensure that from now on they take the time to close down their games ensuring there are a) no old files left and b) no open doors for modders.

    • wu wei says:

      As a programmer, I can guarantee that if the options are to spend time removing disabled code, or ship now right now, they will always choose the latter.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      The only reason a AAA studio would inconvenience players would be if it sped production or made them more money. I don’t see how removing some graphics code does either of these, unless Ubi is planning a graphical enhancement DLC.

  5. supermini says:

    Ubisoft’s statement does not correspond with reality. A lot of players have had the game performance improve, and there were no instabilities that I heard of. They are lying through their teeth.

    I don’t want to get into what Ubisoft’s motivation is in this whole thing (because it doesn’t really matter in the end), but the fact is that the game doesn’t look like it did when they showed it on E3 and that they claimed PC is the lead platform when it clearly isn’t optimized for PC. So this is the third time they are caught lying to their customers.

    Something to consider next time you think about buying a game published by Ubisoft.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      supermini said: Ubisoft’s statement does not correspond with reality. A lot of players have had the game performance improve, and there were no instabilities that I heard of. They are lying through their teeth.

      Sources for these claims, please. I’m sure you didn’t just all this up, based on your, and a friend’s, experience.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        This seems like a case when citing Hanlon’s razor is suitable: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity” or incompetence in Ubi’s case. They probably didn’t intend for us to find out about these things they deactivated, but were stupid enough to name the hidden files in question “E3 2012″. They underestimated us, which is stupid and perhaps the only thing we can accuse them of.

      • supermini says:

        I’m not sure how you would expect me to find a source for absence of evidence that this causes instabilities. Maybe you have some evidence to the contrary?

        • phelix says:

          Reminds me of those Jehovah’s Witnesses who always come to my door. Anything they say is unquestionably true, and it’s always up to me to find evidence to disprove their beliefs. Having an intelligent discussion with those kinds of people is impossible.

          • supermini says:

            This whole skepticism of skepticism response chain is just surreal. The burden of proof lies on the one making the extraordinary claim, which in this case is Ubisoft. They claim that the graphics improvements tweaks “can cause instabilities”, I say ‘bullshit, there is no proof for it’ and I’m the Jehova’s Witness from your anecdote?

            If you really want to have a discussion, discuss the point, don’t do the passive-aggressive thing of equating me with people you can’t have discussions with before you even tried.

            I cannot prove that this does not cause instabilities or performance issues, because it’s logistically impossible for me to interview enough users of this tweak to get a statistically significant result. I can, however, point out that Ubisoft didn’t claim that there were ‘reports’ that this can cause the game to become unstable – if there were their PR people would be all over it. But from all that I read, they only exist in the minds of the marketing department, and effects on game performance all seem to be to the contrary of what Ubisoft is claiming.

          • lylebot says:

            Yes, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” But the extraordinary claim here is that Ubisoft intentionally released a worse version of the game and lied about it. You need extraordinary evidence of that, and “I haven’t heard of anyone having problems with it” is far from that—it’s not evidence at all.

          • supermini says:

            There is no evidence of instability from people that are using the tweak. Performance hits are almost undetectable, suggesting the performance issues are elsewhere. Therefore, there is high probability that Ubisoft is lying about it.

            Whether this is malice or incompetence is really beside the point for me, as I don’t consider incompetence to be a valid excuse.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            @phelix – well done insulting two groups of people at the same time.

          • Reefpirate says:

            I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say that @supermini has never worked in software development.

            ‘Can cause instabilities’ doesn’t mean ‘will cause instabilities’… It means they were untested for whatever reason and there were risks associated with just letting untested features into the in-game settings. Someone made a decision to stop fiddling with shaders and just ship what they can with as much stability as possible.

            Incompetence, stupidity, or time and budget constraints maybe? Conspiring to offer a lower quality product to their customers? Give me a freaking break.

          • dfk0nNL says:

            @Reefpirate

            i agree with you. What i think happened was simply human error. I think the developpers simply were building against test builds with lower quality to speed up performance and development. When the suits came knockin for the release, the only stable version were only going to be the test builds that went through QA so they released as is.

            If you look at the actual release version it does not look anywhere near E3 level of detail. hence my assumption of a test build

            It seems unreasonable not to include a couple shaders but you never know if the game suddenly crashes one level to the other. The risk increases the more platforms your building on also.

            From what i gathered the mod also enables dynamic lighting from headlights. Thats low level enough to actually crash the game.

        • supermini says:

          @Reefpirate I actually do work in software development but it’s only relevant if you plan on making ad hominem arguments, which you just did.

          I’m going to make a wild stab in the dark that you’re not very good at reading. If you were, you would have noticed that I never claimed that Ubisoft “intentionally conspired to offer a lower quality product to their consumers”.

          I claimed Ubisoft’s explanation is PR bullshit and damage control. There is no evidence for the instability that they claim, and the idea that it looks better ‘only subjectively’ is laughable (apart from the bokeh depth of field). I mean fog and bloom are not exactly ‘subjective’ improvements, and it’s all in there in the game files, and enabling it doesn’t seem to cause noticeable performance hits (presumably because the choke point is elsewhere).

          You can draw your own conclusions why Ubisoft did it, because they don’t want to be honest about it.

  6. Viroso says:

    Pretty sure it’s not some console conspiracy, they just didn’t implement it because they couldn’t get the thing to work right and then probably thought “oh, might as well set everything to the same standards instead of trying to make these work”.

    • xfrog says:

      Makes sense to me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      So far noone had any problems with these settings (aside for constant complains on DoF from RPS readers, which could be easily removed) and the game looks significantly better with them turned on. Whatever it’s “consoles conspiracy” or not is another matter, but their excuse is clearly a BS. It’s almost like companies warning people that using mods will cause their game to break and computers be infected by viruses. lol

      • nearly says:

        I see a lot of people posting about how “most” people see improved performance, but rarely anyone saying their own performance improved. I see at least as many of those as people saying that it’s buggy. Without knowing what configurations people were on that saw improved performance or what the issues were before, it’s literally just people on the Internet with an opinion. As lambasted as the game has been for general bugginess and being rushed, I don’t think releasing it with more half-implemented options would have been any better. And then, there’s Graham’s post saying that it can negatively affect gameplay. If it were completed and removed, it wouldn’t have those sorts of issues.

    • toxic avenger says:

      And here is the most rational user in this here comments section. Sheesh. Everyone; enough with the persecution complex, already. It’s not even a good game!

  7. Etherealsteel says:

    Just about every developer has files hidden or not hidden away in most games. So it’s not like Ubisoft just does it… The main issue with Watch Dogs has been always performance with stuttering and what not.. They are going to fix that issue, just as people complainted about Splinter Cell: Blackout at release, but is now working fine. I admittedly hate having to use Uplay, but I can deal with it, it is not as bad as GFWL was though. Anyway, peeps need to chill, thankfully us PC gamers are rather resourceful in improving games that don’t play like they should. We tend to solve our own problems, which is actually great, otherwise we’d have no choice playing on console.

  8. Shadowcat says:

    And dogging?!

  9. gbrading says:

    Typical evasive, contentless response from Ubi.

  10. Crainey says:

    Most logically to me this comes down to budget priorities. They just didn’t want to allocate resources to polishing and optimizing the old files from E3 just for PC when the other platforms sell better (which contradicts their “dedicated to getting the most out of each platform”).

    The response provided is the usual PR fluff, it didn’t really say anything at all. I would have preferred something more akin to the truth (if it is as I stated).

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Basically, yeah. If they’re really “dedicated to getting the most out of each platform” then their dedication doesn’t seem to be very deep, given that they had these fancy graphics settings for two years and couldn’t be bothered to get them to work right for release.

      • WiggumEsquilax says:

        The most out of each platform means the highest margins, not the best gameplay.

        Ubisoft: “We’re dedicated to charging full price for sub-optimized ports!”

  11. Nice Save says:

    I’m not a fan of Ubisoft, and don’t buy their games, but this all seems a bit ridiculous to me.

    Publishers and Devs get a crazy amount of flak if they release a game with even a small number of bugs. I’m no dev myself, but I would imagine that in order to add a new graphics setting, it needs to be tested against all the other settings and combinations of such, and any conflicts found and resolved. The more you add, the more work it takes to make the product polished. At some point you’re going to have to stop adding options, and it sounds like they were trying to have better options in there, but weren’t able to get them fit for public consumption in time for release.

    If they had released the game with a couple of extra fancy graphics options, but one in every hundred players ran into a nasty bug or glitch, do you reckon they would be getting fewer complaints?

    Mind you, I don’t know why they didn’t just say that.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      The issue here is that they first demo’d the game last year with all these fancy graphics to drum up as much hype as possible, then they bleated on about PC being the “lead platform” for the game. A year later and those fancy graphics are toned down even though the options are there and are just disabled, also the game runs like arse, they didn’t put the effort into the PC version that they could have done despite protests on the contrary. What we are left with is a game that’s underwhelming graphically and performance wise, backed up by a long list of bullshit.
      Basically it boils down to gamers getting utterly sick of these big gaming companies flat out lying over and over again to keep their shit hyped rather than just doing what they say and releasing decent games without cutting corners all over the place.

  12. runbmp says:

    When you place something in your code like this:
    //This is pc only, who cares.

    http://cdn3.wccftech.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/yGCQWdT-635×122.jpg

    It becomes clear how much Ubisoft really “cared” about properly optimizing the game on pc while god forbid raising the bar in graphic fidelity beyond consoles…
    you never go full console Ubi, Especially on PC.

    • Baines says:

      Broken image link.

      I’ll guess that it is console-related text strings or calls, which is fairly common.

      X Rebirth allegedly had console-related code, even though it wasn’t a console game. The PC version of Dynasty Warriors 8, which doesn’t even have online functionality, still has the text strings for Playstation Network functionality. The Gamecube version of Viewtiful Joe Red Hot Rumble had strings related to the PSP version.

    • Sam says:

      Assuming it’s the same thing I’ve seen, the image is from a Watch_Dogs shader. It appears to be a couple of functions for looking up light probe data from packed cube maps. It has a series of #defines for customising the code depending on platform. It does indeed include the comment “// This is PC only, who cares.” but the meaning is far from clear. Here’s the full file in question:
      https://gist.github.com/anonymous/40bed5f8fd163b8de7df

      There’s a nice comment just above that talking about how they need to do things one way to access the texture correctly on XBox360, and another way to get it on PS3. It then appears to fall through to not looking up a texture at all and simply using a default value for the PC version (which would indeed be fairly terrible).

      But this whole file is itself within an #ifndef block, and so it’s quite possible that none of this is actually used on the PC version. Or indeed on either of the “next gen” consoles, which go unmentioned. Following the logic visible in that one file, the “who cares” line would get executed on Xbone and PS4 just as it would on PC. So if anyone’s looking for evidence here of an anti-PC conspiracy, it also applies to the next-gen consoles.

      As I say, very likely that file is just never used on PC or next gen consoles at all. The “who cares” refers to the fact that this line should never be executed, so “who cares” what value is assigned (but you do need to assign something or your static analysis tools will complain.) Of course we can’t be sure without the whole source code and a lot of spare time.

  13. araczynski says:

    lol, someone’s been brown nosing with the politicians too long.

  14. Michael Fogg says:

    E3 presentations are fake, bullshots are bullshots. In other news, commercials of yoghurt routinely use footage of flowing white paint to create the image of “so smooth” yoghurt. And the picture of a Whopper on a billboard looks quite different to what you actually get at the drive-through. I think people should just get a life. The best that could be done is the gaming media actually omitting any mentions of visual quality/fidelity in any pre-release material. And especially not trying to build up hype by spreading news that this new game will have graphix more realistic than reality etc.

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      Cinek says:

      And rich people should donate all their money to developing countries while politicians should have a mandatory IQ tests.

      Any more wishful thinking you have out there to share with us?

  15. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    My problem is how a Ubisoft employee distinctly said that max settings on the PC would get you the same graphics as shown at E3 which was still, regardless of any excuses that caused you to disable certain settings, a blatant lie.

  16. Leb says:

    The depth of field is great for game-porn quality photos but that is it.

    The only nice feature in the “mod” is the dynamic headlights (which are buggy and incomplete on some car models)

    So what Ubi is saying is not entirely wrong. I tried out the mod, went “oooo pretty” – realized I couldn’t see more than 3 feet in front of me most the time because of the depth of field and then turned it off.

  17. Megakoresh says:

    Complete and utter bullshit. The mod

    LOOKS better than the original game in ALL situations,
    Does NOT make the game any less stable than it was (i.e. it still crashes every 30 minutes)
    And last but by no means least and just completely proving this statement as complete fuckery and lies: it RUNS around 30% better than the vanilla game maxed out giving around 27 average fps on my GTX770 in 2560×1080, whereas the original game gives 23fps on average.

    There’s not a word of truth in there. If they are so fucking “dedicated” to getting the best out of each platform why is there no patch to the game on PC yet? Why is PC not the better experience like it should be, but the WORST experience of all the consoles with the WORST controls, performance and stability?

    When they release a patch that makes the game’s performance playable and graphics up to par, that looks as good or better than the mod and runs much better than now, and THEN maybe I will consider believing what they say.

    • Premium User Badge

      SuddenSight says:

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/06/19/watch-dogs-patch-due-soon-brings-performance-fixes/#more-214311

      It’s only been like, a month since release. Things are happening.

      • Megakoresh says:

        When I SEE the patch and I see that if fixes the PC problems such as LOD pop-in, performance, mouse acceleration in menus, car’s responsiveness, performance, stability of the game, performance, loading times, performance, THEN maybe I can consider believing that the PC version was not consciously fucked up the arse either to sell more console copies or because they just don’t give a shit.

        And they had 6 months. Hell they could have delayed it further. There’s no excuse for this shit. The patch should have been done on day 1. And then another one a week later. And more if necessary. They are stalling, and in the most positive scenario it is because they prioritise DLC and/or console versions. In the most negative it’s such that more people buy it on console as opposed to waiting for the PC version to be fixed.

  18. dr.castle says:

    Translation: “It turned out that these settings were too hardware-intensive for consoles, so we didn’t bother to optimize them. You don’t expect us to spend time working on graphics filters exclusively for PC, do you?”

  19. knowitall011 says:

    bullshit.

  20. knowitall011 says:

    I call BS.

  21. Premium User Badge

    J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    This was a golden opportunity for Ubisoft in saying they’d purposefully placed those options there, in a game about hacking, in order to reward the hacking community.

  22. OpT1mUs says:

    Will you let this mediocre shitpile die already