History of Ubisoft Game Reveals: Watch Dogs Is Not The Only Game To Receive Downgrade In Visual

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.

So what do you think about this article? Let us know in the comments below.

  • William Fenton

    These downgrades are greatly exaggerated. NeoGafs in particular are very skilled at picking and choosing footage where things look especially good, and especially bad.

    Far Cry 3 does look as good as the E3 a lot of the time; and even Watch Dogs for the most part looks pretty comparable, especially in heavy weather.

  • Losyak

    I still maintain that Ubisoft is the most consistent developer/publisher.

  • Dylan Harris

    have you even played it? besides the shitty audience, the rest of the game is just as gorgeous as they first showed.

    • You are flat out wrong


      Keep it up, mate.

  • Tanner Fredrickson

    To be fair Far Cry 3’s graphics are still excellent. This kind of thing is annoying and I don’t like Ubisoft much as a company due to the fact that their invasive DRM assumes every PC gamer is automatically a pirate, but if the graphics are still good and the games are good, I don’t think it’s worth getting too angry about.

  • Bose321

    Well, what do you expect on a console?

  • Alex

    What I don’t get is why not leave the graphics alone and simply lock the console versions to, say, medium graphical settings relative to the PC version. In other words, let us be able to crank it up to max graphics to sustain the graphical possibilities which we assumed we’d be getting in a 2014 title and just screw the PS4 and Xbox One owners over. But no, of course Ubisoft had to go with the weakest link in the chain, and yet again PC gamers are left to put up with the outcome of a developer tailoring a product to the lowest common denominator (aka “next gen” consoles).

    • Dylan Harris

      consoles have it on “high: settings

  • Ko0ol

    I dont think the graphics are too much downgraded. In this comparision footage, the the above one is rainy weather footage and is has shiny wet car and wet streets, but in the other one, there is clear weather and no shiny effects are shown. The difference is just of weather and the camera position… Althogh, there is a slight difference in graphics but not too much to cry for.

  • Elem187

    I don’t think its Ubisoft’s fault… They built this game around a PC that was what they thought the PS4 final hardware was going to be. Sony chose to use a tablet CPU with a GPU that was midrange 2 years ago (read low end by today’s standards) so graphics had to be scaled back significantly.

    Why are people expecting a $400 budget gaming system to be a super computer, it’s not. There is no magical pixie dust in consoles. Coding to the metal doesn’t turn the PS4 into a super computer capable of out performing a midrange PC.

    PS3 was $800 device sold for $600 and performed as such. The PS4 is a $450 device and performs as such.

    • Dylan Harris

      uh a 8 core is a tablet cpu? no way in hell. oh, and yes both the xbox one and ps4 are totally capable of out performing a midrange pc. with the exception of res, the rest of the settings in games are usually on HIGH. like Watch dogs. Which the developer confirmed.

  • I cancelled my pre-order as well.

  • V For Vincennes

    Oh Ubisoft. Just when I think you might be on the right track. Now your true colors bleed through yet again with Watch Dogs. I have little doubt The Division is going to underwhelm when compared to all the pre-release footage, screenshots, etc.

    I can deal with it though, as long as the gameplay is intact, but I still remember how far removed Ghost Recon: Future Soldier was from all of its E3 footage. The final product felt like a completely different game, and not for the better. Simply watered down, and robbed of any futuristic feel that gave it a bit more personality compared to other shooters in my eyes at the time.

    Such is the way of the industry these days.

  • RStarr

    All we can hope is the E3 reveal was showcased using next generation consoles and Ubisofts latest trailer was put together using an older system. Otherwise it really is the mother of all **** ups.

    Whilst game-play does tend to be the defining factor to whether or not a game is loved by the masses, In the grand scheme of things people didn’t spend all of this money to experience the same level of graphical fidelity as the console generation we’ve just left behind.

    • Elem187

      It’s been confirmed its PS4…. These sub Nextgen consoles can’t handle it, so they need to be scaled back… Forza, Shadowfall, Infamous, Deep Down, Ryse have all been scaled back from their reveals to run on these low end boxes.

  • ShasLa40

    Downgrading on PC? That’s so stupid, the whole point of playing on PC is to get the most the engine can handle, even if only a £10,000 PC can play it, give people the option to actually have the ultra setting looking ultra.

    • Elem187

      It’s not. It’s only scaled back on the lackluster PS4 low end console.

  • madbads

    So much filthy peasantry, they keep downgrading such great visuals for the sake of achieving 24 fps on dirty consoles. They know it will sell the most since lot more peasants have last-gen bricks ready for this game.

    • zombie

      Shut your fucking mouth, you fucking fuck! And die like good little bitch

      • madbads

        haha so mad , filthy lil’ peasant, go cry to your mommy to buy you a PC.

        • Dylan Harris

          get a fucking life and go outside, nerd.

  • Dynasty2021

    Expect this to happen with The Order and The Division as well. 100% the Division as that’s Ubisoft.

    Reality check; PS4 and Xbox One aren’t powerful enough to maintain the same visual polish as the PCs did at E3.

    • Guest Vote

      I fully expect it with The Division(on console anyway) but not so much with The Order

    • SlutMagnet

      I saw the recent videos of The Order. It could easily pass off as a mid-tier PC game from 2012. The original footage looked spectacular.
      What this article teaches us? No exceptions.

  • Steph

    Always take the video reveals that u see at E3 with a grain of salt. The graphics are a step back for sure but nothing too severe. If the gameplay lives up to expectations, the game will rock.

    • Joris123

      “nothing too severe”

      What drugs are you on? Did you even look at the WD_gif above?

      • somestrangeryoudontknow

        It looks fine.

        • Alex

          I understand that it doesn’t look bad on its own, but to have something to actually compare it to, such as, how the whole game was sold to us as being “next-gen”, and now it looks like a mediocre looking nothing-new sort of game definitely does qualify us to eye this product with suspicion. What else has been changed? Is the in-game A.I. also toned down? Has the game play changed? Has it been also dumbed down in addition to the visuals clearly being toned down?

    • WTFBBQ

      Honestly I don’t blame Ubisoft, I blame last-gen.

      • zopix

        That’s not an excuse. Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes is a cross-gen title and the PS4 version looks top notch.

  • mad games

    what I did when I saw last trailer Realized that ubisoft just Tricks us since first revealed so I canceled my pre order and exchange it with the new batman game so fuck ubisoft i am not stupid Idiot also the gamers are brilliant people with Passion and love for this industry and they deserve much more than this..

    • somestrangeryoudontknow

      Who cares as long as the game is fun, oh wait i forgot people only care about graphics now.

      • mad games

        Not just the graphics problem it is the way they trick us since 2012 we lived another huge lie after the other one which is killzon 2 trailer in 2006 which was a CG trailer.What I can’t understanding why the developer put themselves in this situation?!!

        • Elem187

          Killzone is owned by Sony…. Sony is masters of the bullshot. That same E3 they also did another CG trailer for Motostorm.

          Sony even comes out and lies… Remember the PS3 reveal? They claimed the PS3 was capable of 1 teraflops. Reality? It only reached 17% of that performance in the real world 170 gigaflops.

          So when Sony claims 1.8 teraflops for the PS4 and fanboys repeat it I chuckle. No way a near 2 teraflop box would be struggling to hold 30 fps at 1080p

          • mad games

            Agree with you Brother, that’s very disappointed .

          • bob

            because 1.8Tflops is really not alot …….. the gtx 780 ti already put out 5Tflops … 7Tflops when OCed console GPU are med to low-end

      • IWorshipCats

        Yeah just like Assassin’s Yearly Rehash is so much fun….But I with you with the general idea…

      • Frag Wall

        People, fans and customers (including me of course) take graphics seriously when downgrade happens and not just once, but about 4 fuckin times. Even Far Cry 4 is not even close to FC3, as you can see not only the graphics were downgrade there was so many location and places has remodelling and the movement animation and physics engine changed as well as missions. Ubisoft never be honest to us about graphics in E3, I can tell you that Watch Dogs 2, Far Cry Primal, The Division and Ghost Recon Wildlands will also downgrade as shit. We are living in a shitty world and Ubisoft should have get arrested for this.

    • Dylan Harris

      no actually gamers are a bunch of whiny crybabies, look at the reveal of the xbox one, most were all paranoid and stupid about the kinect and always online, saying it was going to “spy on them” gamers have some of the most stupid people.

      • You are flat out wrong

        Those policies were inherently cancerous. The market responded. Get over it.

      • Anonymous

        Well, you obviously have your head stuck up your bottom.
        Do you not listen to the news, of America spying with the NSA & their programs similar to Prism?

        Have you also not heard about what Mister Snowden has revealed about the spying agencies?

        “Any spying agency with suitable funding can hack your phone, or any device the moment it connects to their carrier. They can turn it into a microphone, they can take pictures with it, they can wipe data off of it, and they can even turn your phone/device on even after you turned it off.”

        Now, I’m not sure if you are lacking in brain cells, but what the majority people have grasped is; Holy Cow, they can on us with a kinect

  • EmptyWarrior

    I recall Ubisoft pulling the same tricks with Red Steel back in the day.

  • iie

    most of ubi is cgi.altho fc3 is indeed a big lie.