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Recently, the internet was abuzz with talk about Watch Dogs, but most of it was negative. As it turned out, Watch Dogs graphics seem to be severely downgraded compared to its initial reveal back at E3 2012. But this won’t be the first Ubisoft game to to do so, as it appears, Ubisoft have pulled this act for other games as well.
Lets head back to a couple of years when Ubisoft revealed Assassin’s Creed to the world. The game was touted as a true next generation game of its time, and had an impressive showing during its initial reveal. Despite this, the final version of Assassin’s Creed 1 ended up as almost a far cry from what Ubisoft originally promised for the game. The game also faced a lot of criticism because of its highly repetitive gameplay and mission structure, all of which stretched the length of the game, at the cost of ruining it.
The second game that comes to mind here is Far Cry 3. Ubisoft conducted a live demo of the game at E3, which showcased impressive looking graphics and gameplay. This demo showcased the beauty of their new engine and lush jungle environments, none of which made its way into the final game, not even on the PC. The final game seemed to be significantly toned down compared to the original reveal, as can be seen in the image and video below.
Which brings us to Watch Dogs. Again, the game had quite an impressive looking reveal back at E3 2012, where it was touted as one truly next generation game. Unfortunately, the later gameplay demonstrations showed none of the spectacular visuals that were seen in the initial reveal. Fast forward to March 2014, and we finally get to see how this game has started to look, after it received a sudden delay from its release in November last year to May this year. While the gameplay seems almost as good as it was during the initial reveal, the graphics have taken a major step back. During certain sequences – despite apparently running on a PS4 – the graphics hardly seem to match the previous gameplay reveal. The lighting seems pre-baked, textures also seem to have taken a step back, and the animation doesn’t appear as smooth as it was originally seen. The animated gif below shows a sequence from the E3 2013 and from the latest gameplay video(running on PS4).
Unfortunately, this trend of showing some “Some and Mirrors” type of trailer is quite common in this industry. Sony used to do it a lot back during the PS3 launch, they claimed a lot of their pre-rendered reveal trailers were running on the actual PS3 hardware, only for the end game to look nothing like the original reveal. Thankfully, they seem to have stopped doing it now. Although it appears that Ubisoft have yet to learn their lessons, and we can only hope that their other next gen game The Division can look as good as the original reveal has left us to believe.
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