A Video To Help You Decide If Watch Dogs Got Uglier This Week

This week, Ubisoft finally gave us a new release date for Watch Dogs, and with it a new trailer and gameplay footage. That teaser caused a lot of teeth around the internet to chatter as folks discussed whether how it looks now is a downgrade from how it looked when it was announced at E3 2012.

This video, by Jason Knothe, compares footage from the last two E3s and this new footage (beyond just that one gif people have been passing around), all of which is real-time but not rendered on the same platform. It's not a 1-to-1 comparison mostly — with night being compared with day and so forth — but it's the best we've got at the moment if you're into parsing graphical details.

But I'll just say this: open worlds are really tough on hardware, even the new consoles can't do what a decked-out PC can, etc.


    Yeah - the downgrade has been huge, to the point where I'm hoping they are showing the 360 version of the game in the new trailer.

    The PS4 version looks better than the trailer did, but I'm still not that impressed.

    Last edited 10/03/14 2:05 pm

      confirmed by someone (probably a dev. cant remember) as being from the PS4 build, unfortunately.

    no question.
    its a definite downgrade. 2012 looks rad, like you'd expect of a game taking advantage of PC / Next gen hardware.
    2014 build looks like an early PS3 game.

    I suppose that's the problems devs are gonna encounter building games for both last & current gen platforms.

      not to mention the differentiation between the PS4 and XBONE's graphical processor

        Not that big of a difference between them, actually, they are both AMD Jaguar APUs, they're just at slightly different specs.

        Actually XBONE would technically have a small edge in a game like Watch Dogs because the CPU is clocked to 1.75 ghz vs the PS4 being at 1.5 ghz. Open world games will definitely hit CPU bound status very easily, so every ounce helps.

        Of course GPU is important but both consoles have weak GPUs in reality, arguing the merits of the PS4 GPU over XBONE is basically like saying a turd with peanuts in it is better than a cup of diarrhea. I am sorely disappointed in both consoles, neither company made much effort with hardware, Sony seemed way too focused on making their unit compact and neat looking for hipsters and MS seemed way too scared of another RROD type problem (frankly I think this is why their GPU is weaker than the PS4, yet the form factor and bajillion vents on the XBONE would be ideal for way stronger hardware over the PS4, not to mention the external power brick goes a long way for cooling a console form factor).

        EIther way we are stuck with the crap these companies forced on us. Steam Machines are the REAL next gen and everyone knows it. 500 bucks with a Steam Machine will get you a unit at least twice as powerful as the PS4 and XBONE.

      Are scalable engines really that crappy?

        not at all.
        an engine that scales well to whatever hardware configuration its running on is a brilliant thing coz it ensures that the largest possible number of people can play it. its just a matter of getting the balance right. dont want to underscale something so it can run on the PS3 / 360 at the expense of not taking advantage of the current hardware. its a balancing act.

        i honestly think whats happened in this case is that they over estimated the power of the new consoles. i mean... it was two years ago. so yeah. over ambition is all.

        still.... should be a good game.

          Yeah looking fwd to it.
          So many people complaining about it being 'held back' for last gen consoles though. Pretty sure Ubisoft can handle scalable engines well.

          AC4 on Wii U was beautiful.

    Yeah way to go people, base your opinion off nothing but a few scraps of footage played out of context. Everybody seems to want this game to fail based on nothing but because it was delayed. I will wait for better proof. Way to go sheep.

      Are you serious. No one is saying the game is bad, but there is enough footage available now to conclude they've significantly downgraded the graphics. I'm guessing they overestimated the power of the next-gen consoles in 2012.

        this video is only really referring to and basing itself on what the RELEASE candidate will look like, in relation to the new trailer (all 2mins of it with barely new footage) and another 2mins from a Gamespot story, using footage from 2012 and 2013. Thats hardly enough footage to base an opinion on.

          It's plenty to say that the lighting system looks like its been pared down, and the cities detail has dropped pretty dramatically.

          I'll still get the game if it plays well (the priority), but this may provide some insight for the delay: they were overly ambitious.

            That was what shocked me. lighting looks totally different and much worse

              I am hoping that they upped the lighting to make the trailer, make shit easier to see. But I am probably wrong

      especially on the car thing, its obviously just a graphics glitch, wasn't that from a game spot video, a smart person would ask: why did they choose to show that moment? All games have things like that, you would have to be petty to include that in footage knowing full well it would set off all "the sky is falling" peps on the interweb.

        ok. i'll give it the benefit of the doubt.
        but if the car scene is a glitch, then why have it in a gameplay vid?

        also, the 2014 vid has had the lighting stripped way back & the explosions are way less intricate.
        & the textures are much 'flatter'

      proof enough is in that video up there. showing comparable scenes, both running in real time. difference is obvious.

      don't want it to fail, & I'm sure its gonna be a fine game, but the unexplained visual downgrade is pretty jarring.

      If you want to be a non-conformist you'll have to dress in black, smoke and drink coffee.

        And do a really hilarious dancing mini-game just to prove you're non-conforming...

          and even then you will still need to prove your non conformist attitude by having your photo taken while holding a non conformist sign in front of the South Park PTA meeting

      Yeah I'm waiting for better proof too. Especially since the sources behind this video could easily have maybe changed quality setting or something to effect the quality. I never trust anything media says until i see it for myself. Just look at colonial marines as case and point :P

    Let's remember something. They showed an awesome ALIENS : COLONIAL MARINES trailer a few years back. The game we got? Looked nothing like the final product.

    Two years ago, they teased Watchdogs with a trailer. A trailer of a game that was nowhere near finished that I suspect was likely touched up a little in post processing etc. Call it paranoid, but it's a common act by companies when promoting their games. After all, remember Killzone 2's controversy years back with ITS trailer?

    So with Watchdogs, I'm suspecting the same damn thing. But, either way, it still looks impressive to me. I'll get it on PC eventually but for now, I'll be happy with my PS4. AC4 runs gloriously on it, Watchdogs will too. Because at the end of the day, graphics add to a game to a small degree, but gameplay MAKES the game.

    And what does Watchdogs REALLY have going against it at this point? The fact it's a multi-generational title. That's what.

      This, pretty much. I'm quite happy to have a good-looking game, but in the long-haul the gameplay is what will keep you coming back.

      Besides, if you line up the previous generation's earlier titles with the later ones (GTA IV <----> GTA V, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune <-----> Uncharted 3 / The Last of Us), you can pretty much expect the graphics to be off to a sketchy start compared to what happens when the developers become more familiar with the hardware/optimisation. Especially considering that Watch Dogs is a multi-generational title.

        Exactly, so when Watchdogs 2 inevitably rolls around and is a current console (and pc) only title, hopefully it will look *far* better and play far better too, given it no longer has to make concessions for the previous gen.

    What is everyone complaining about? The game still looks pretty damn good in my opinion. When we get current footage of a rainy night then maybe we can draw some comparisons.

      They complain because negativity is easier than analysis and they can't tell the difference.

    That seems like quite the downgrade though... its not a few textures; its everything. It looks like the PS3/360 build of the game... if that's PS4 then you gotta ask the question what the hell happened... and what will the PS3 version look like now?

      New Screen from the PS3 version.


        I managed to find an X360 shot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pong.png

        Last edited 10/03/14 8:15 pm

    Oh well.

    Last edited 10/03/14 3:21 pm

    They left the wiih version out at the video end D;
    Im now beggining to doubt.

      It had the Nintendo eShop logo at the bottom in the most recent trailer didn't it?

        You are correct sir. Just the logo.

        Last edited 11/03/14 9:10 am

    yeah not a huge enough difference to warrant the huge backlash nerds are whining about...

    Last edited 10/03/14 3:49 pm

    hey @bluxy a downvote is not a valid argument.

    nobody is saying its gonna be shit game because of the difference in graphics. but it is a undeniable fact that the 2014 build doesn't look as good as the 2012 build.

      nerdgasm WOW! and its been like that since the first demos of games you cannot play... since 1987 the tech demos are never the same as a playable game

      Last edited 10/03/14 6:14 pm

    so obvious the downgrade is quite massive... but look at the straps on the jacket at the end of this vid... def not a game breaker, but its there an undeniable

    I'd want to see the PC version at full settings before I comment on if it's got a "downgrade". For the sake of argument, you could say what we seen up till now has just been high end PC footage and that has made peoples expectations too high for what Ubisoft is able to get out of the consoles at this point. For all we know, the PC version could still look quite good in comparison to the earlier E3 build, so maybe "downgrade" isn't the right way of putting all this?

    Either way, as stated, the graphics aren't the important thing, it's how fun a game is; But obviously that idea is completely out the window these days judging by some of the reactions to this....

    Uh, so apparently the "new footage" is only from some random German youtube? Nobody else has it? I'll pass and wait for all the news outlets to be sharing it before I accept it as new footage, cheers. As far as I can find the only "official" new stuff is the trailer which looks pretty rad.

    Last edited 10/03/14 5:45 pm

    That initial shot of the car jumping over the bridge (on the right hand side), has to be from the PS3, Xbox 360 version or is alpha footage where the textures and lighting are not final, i think it's alpha footage personally because nothing else in the entire video looks as bad as that, and if you look at the street texture in that section compared to the rest of the video you can see that it has been changed.

    The rest of the video looks great to me and i cannot wait to play this game.

    While in the daylight the colours seemed washed out a bit, but at night time, the PS4 footage really shined. I'm impartial here, I'm not even getting the game(or really intend to). But theres a definite improvement of texture quality (the hairs look more defined on the mans face and the cars are sharper and reflect light more realistically.

    The colours are just bolder in daylight in the pc one but the lines are blurred the quality of the footage seems poor I don't see why people say the 2012 footage is better - Because frankly, its not.

    (I also watched this in full screen on a large monitor so maybe the bolder colours looked better for people on mobile phones/tablets? I'm not sure)

    This has been happening for years now, with great looking games being downgraded for both PC and console because the console games couldn't run it. When the old generation dies out and developers become more accustomed to the new generation, we'll see bigger advancements.

    And besides, if the game provides as much functionality as it boasts, I could care less about the graphics.

    If the pc version is going to be better than the console versions then ubisoft really wants to fail. According to ubisoft, 95% of its games on pc are pirated. I certainly didn't buy a ps4 only to get a ps3.1. If that's the case, then I may end up selling my ps3.1 and buying a gaming pc, and I'll play watch dogs on my pc. For free.

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