Watch Dogs downgrade claims examined

By Alan Ng - Mar 7, 2014

Ubisoft has officially re-announced Watch Dogs with a May 2014 release date, but the biggest talking point among gaming communities is the apparent downgrade that appears to have taken place. Gamers have noticed differences between Watch Dogs 2012 Vs 2014, so now we examine this in closer detail and see whether there are any truth to the claims.

Watch Dogs is coming on May 27 2014 and is set to be one of the biggest releases of the Summer, both for current and next-gen consoles and PC of course which remains the lead platform.

Fans have been waiting for Watch Dogs for a long time after playing and completing GTA V, but we have seen that some are surprised at the differences in the game announced a few days ago, compared to the original game announcement at E3 in 2012.

We told you of rumors suggesting that PS4 will be 1080p native resolution and Xbox One 960p resolution, but that may not be your biggest fear.

Footage from the Watch Dogs 2012 trailer Vs the new trailer just released..

Watch the animation above and see the differences between the current build revealed this week and the original build. To give you further examination of the differences, we also include both trailers below so you can watch closely to see both builds one after the other.

We also have some more animations to bring you showing the original gameplay from 2012 yet again. These are truly beautiful graphics we’re seeing here worthy of a next-gen tag and certainly the level that PC gamers are expecting to see at release as well if PC is lead platform.

Look at those lighting effects!

Amazing fire effects during an intense scene – PC or next-gen surely?

We have already seen these claims discussed on social media and it looks like a lot of you have plenty to say on an apparent Watch Dogs ‘downgrade’. We include a few of your messages on Twitter here for you to have a look:

Obviously most of you are not happy about this, but we need to remind you about a few important points. As far as we’re aware, Ubisoft has not confirmed which version of the game they were showing during the latest March 6 story trailer.

So it could be the Xbox 360 and PS3 version we are seeing here, rather than next-gen or PC. There is still a good chance that the original graphics that you see in the animations above, will still make it into the PC version which we heard will be able to output at up to 4K resolution.

Either way, Ubisoft needs to come out and make it clear to the community before it gets out of hand. We’ve shown you the evidence here, so let us know what you think of the ‘downgrade’ claims.

Do you think this could actually be next-gen PS4 and Xbox One versions shown in the latest trailer – what would your reaction be if so? If you have a high-end PC, we still don’t think you have anything to worry about.

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Also See: Watch Dogs 2 gameplay showcases changes

  • Joseph Anthony Brackett

    Are you people that daft and ignorant?? The comparisons aren’t even of the same scenes!!


    Even the “side-by-sides” of the characters talking AREN’T EVEN IN THE SAME PLACE/POSE!! You’re arguing there is no cast shadows on his face and it’s NOT EVEN THE SAME EXACT FRAMES OR SCENE. Two of the scenes from the car chases dont even have the same weather effects going on. One of them has washed out colors BECAUSE A GIANT-ASS POLICE SPOTLIGHT IS IMPOSING ON THE OBJECT!!

    Does nobody understand what “SIDE by SIDE” means??? Are you for real????

    People will chew ANYTHING thrown at them on the damn internet these days.

  • Eh, disappointed

    Atleast I can still hold out hope for the graphics in the new inFAMOUS, considering they only had one console to worry about so they knew upfront exactly what their game will be running on and only need the one build.

  • No

    This game was amazing at E3, now it has put me off all Ubisoft games for good. Too many of their recent games have been mediocore.

    • kingjulian83

      FarCry3, though…

  • datdude

    What do I think? If the game actually looks like this on PS4, Watch_Dogs has gone from a game that was a day one purchase to a game that I will wait to see what the reviews have to say. And this scenario makes me weary of The Division and what that team will ultimately produce. Get it together Ubisoft. And fast.

    • zainfazal3000

      The game does not look terrible, it’s just clearly not up to par with what we saw in 2012 and that is false advertising, and that’s why people are pissed. I am probably still going to get this but really ubi soft needs to stop with thise bullshoting crap and show us REAL footage. I to have a feeling that the footage we saw in the division is going to be very different from what the actual game looks like.

      • datdude

        If The Division footage changes, Ubisoft will have a big problem on their hands. Ubisoft better not be falling into the habit of pulling a Microsoft and showing something they have no chance of delivering on consoles. Sony didn’t do that for ps4, what they showed they delivered. Ready at Dawn impressed because they stated the first trailer was in engine footage and low and behold, it wasn’t bullshot. The Order:1886 really does look phenomenal. The one saving grace for The Division is that it’s not designed for 360/ps3 the way Watch_Dogs was, as The Division is pc/ps4/xbone only. I was always worried after Ubisoft representatives said at E3 2013 that Watch_Dogs would essentially be the same gameplay experience between ps4/xbone/ps3/360. Well, I’m still looking forward to Second Son and The Witcher 3 as open world games that won’t disappoint, at least not graphically.

        • zainfazal3000

          It’s all speculation but who knows what really happened during the development of this game. I mean the game looks like it’s practically running on another engine from when we saw it in 2012. Something may have gone horribly wrong during development. That’s why it got delayed they had to change engines, make cut backs etc. who knows. It’s happened before, Splinter Cell Conviction was delayed for almost 3 years they literally teared down the game and built it back up again. The same thing is happening with Rainbow Six Patriots, that game is in development hell right now oh what about Beyond Good and Evil 2? I’m confident that project has been abandoned. The Division has been pushed to 2015. Insider sources claiming that the game is nowhere near completion. Ubi Soft is a mess.

  • Ben Dover Kuntz

    i was not wow’ed the first time i did see it, even if the graphic looked good… i knew it was ubisof thar was behind it (alarm bells did go off, rigth away). so this dont come as a shock at all. anyway i dont buy on day one anymore, i now wait 6 months after release of game before i decide if i buy or not. i am forced to do it this way, because the game industry release so much broken games. that ruin the game experience and its not worth the money or my time.

  • SkullScience

    Meh! What is the betting that the ‘unexplained’ delay last year was due to finding a fatal flaw in the engine and having to get the game up and running on another in-house engine (such as assassin’s creed). Game looks like ass now. From AAA title to blending in with the crowd! Oh, the irony!!

  • Jerry

    If that trailer is PS4 I’ll cancel the pre-order and possibly pick up a used copy after a while. When I first saw the trailer I was convinced it was the PS3/X360 version just from the initial looks of it.

  • John

    The story trailer has to be on nect-gen. I mean why would ubisoft show us last-gen footage of the game?

    • Elem187

      They wouldn’t show the worst looking version as promotional material. It would be harmful to sales on the PS4/xBone/PC versions

  • Dynasty2021

    Wouldn’t be surprised if it WAS “next-gen”.

    We can expect these downgrades to The Witcher 3, The Division etc. The new consoles simply lack the graphical power, end of story.

    Future disappointment awaits.

    • Jeffrey Howarth

      Then why do the games from Sony still look amazing? Multiplats again.

      • datdude

        Yeah, I really only expect to see true “next gen” graphics from games specifically designed for pc, ps4, and xbone. This game is cross generational, and Ubisoft has commented several times that “the experience” of Watch_Dogs would be the same for all iterations of the game. That right there for me says it all. If it’s not really optimized for the new systems, it’s gimped so 360/ps3 versions aren’t completely different versions of the game entirely. The Witcher 3 developer is on record saying their game couldn’t be done on ps3/360, period. And it shows. Unfortunately, this recent Watch_Dogs footage makes the concessions they made to make this “a game for all systems” obvious. Obvious and extremely disappointing.

    • SkullScience

      No, there was an odd delay on this game. I suspect something went seriously wrong with the engine they were using and probably got it going on the AC engine instead (it looks more like AC now). The dev should have been honest back in October/November.

      • SAVI

        Let’s hope that’s not true. 🙁
        If it true they should use better engine at least like FC3 engine.

      • Joseph Anthony Brackett

        It got delayed because of a glaring flaw in their matchmaking system and online net-code.

        What it was is matchmaking would search and load thousands of people onto one server at a time, instead of distributing people across many different open servers. They had to redo that code from scratch. It’s not a simple or quick process, at all.

    • JTrip

      Still if it’s next gen, shouldn’t it look better than a PS3Xbox 360 game?

    • datdude

      I wouldn’t group The Witcher 3 in. Cd projekt red is a phenomenal developer, and they have made claims The Witcher 3 on ps4 and xbone will be stunning. I’ll take them at their word until I see different.

    • Swifty

      The Next-Gen consoles aren’t as hopeless as you’re making them out to be. Wait until developers stop making their games for 8-year old hardware with 512mbs of RAM before you make your final decision on the PS4 and Xbox One. Ubisoft have had quite a few sudden delays on their games, I suspect something bigger than we as consumers can see has happened. Jimmy Fallon played the PS4 version of Watch Dogs on his Late Night show, and it looked very close to the original footage than it did to this new footage.

      • Swifty

        Not to mention, the graphic quality of the game should have only INCREASED from the time Jimmy played it to the time its actually released, given as that’s how every single video game has worked in the past.