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2014-03-09T21:43:46Z
Ever since Ubisoft unveiled its upcoming open-world, action-adventure game Watch Dogs, the game press has been looking towards the title as a no-holds barred example of next-generation innovative gameplay. Unlike most games, which place an emphasis on run-and-gun shooting, Watch Dogs revolves around the idea of hacking. The main character, Adrian Pierce, can penetrate a variety of devices from phones to traffic lights and use the knowledge to steal cash, destroy equipment, trigger malfunctions, and wreak general havoc on an unsuspecting populace.

It didn't hurt that when the game debuted, it was jaw-dropingly gorgeous and seemed to promise an impossibly gorgeous environment for next-gen platforms and PCs alike. Now, a new YouTube video has put dev kit test footage up against the trailer from the PC 2012 release and the final product ain't pretty. Watch Dogs, it seems, could wind up in the doghouse.


In case you don't feel like watching the video, we've captured key shots below. All of these images are in the original 1920x1080, which means the image files are a bit big -- but if you want to see the differences, we recommend you click the larger shots.



Forget that one image is daytime while the other isn't, there's no hint of the sophisticated lighting model in the daylight shot. The entire scene is lit statically. The road is smeared, the reflections on the car are dull, and the shadows on the NPCs and objects look like back DX9 ports.



Single-character close-ups are where we'd expect the least variance between console and PC rendering; the console can devote its entire resources to one actor. Here, the shadows on the right-hand character (the PS4 variant) are heavier. Shirt buttons blur into the fabric instead of standing out. The coats lapels are also blurred -- a subtle sign that screams "2D texture." On the left, the coat looks much more like an object worn over the shirt. On the right, the coat is rather clearly painted on top of the shirt.

According to the video, quality has decreased markedly just in the past year, between what Ubisoft showed in 2013 as PS4 footage versus what the Dev Kit actually renders.



For this, you need the embiggened image, but look at the grayish haze over the water and lower overall level of detail. The footage on the right s from 2013, the footage on the left is from 2014.



Finally, we end on an upnote. This fellow is relatively decent looking, with better facial details and an equivalent amount of coat+sweater work.

Obviously there's a chance that someone threw together a terrible YouTube video on purpose or that the PS4 Dev Kit video is low-quality work that doesn't represent the final product. In all honesty, we hope that's true. Right now, Watch Dogs looks like a thoroughly last-generation game, and not even a particularly good one at that. Granted, the new consoles don't pack the same leap in firepower over the old ones as previous generations' did, but the overall quality on display here is pitiful compared to what the PC video offered. 
ajm531
2014-03-09T22:00:47Z

which is exactly why pc gaming is awesome. now im not here to start a flame war. I like the consoles too but if you the best graphics you can get then pc all the way!!!

Dave_HH
2014-03-09T22:09:01Z

agreed. PCs still crush consoles graphically. It's no contest.

basroil3
2014-03-09T22:23:16Z

Not to mention that now that consoles are x86, all games are being developed almost exclusively on PC then tested on the hardware, none of the old SI Indy/Onyx custom workstation requirements to optimize micro-code (not to mention an Onyx cost >200000 while even the best x86 workstation now is under 20k)

SeanPatrickCarey
2014-03-09T22:30:06Z

Anyone who thinks Watch Dogs will look like the "bad" examples above is an idiot. No company would release such a high caliber game on PS4 that looks like it should be a game from the end of the PS2's lifecycle. The company would be shunned into bankruptcy.

Also, DUH the PC version is going to look better than PS4, even if its on 2 year old PC tech. It is foolish to believe console hardware will ever be in the same league as same-gen (or even last-gen) PC hardware.

CnoevilHere
2014-03-09T22:31:09Z

Wow the movement and the relistic colors this game looks awsome in pc...the will be taking my money

DanielLucas
2014-03-09T22:37:33Z

Master race prevails.

JaySleven
2014-03-09T22:44:28Z

Oh wow, that would be a big disappointment if that's the final console product. PC will definitely be the way to go either way. Wish I had a system powerful enough to run it. This year, must get a PC! Not interested in this next generation of consoles.

JMeloni
2014-03-09T22:52:07Z
Joel H
2014-03-09T23:00:34Z

Sure, the footage videos here could all be faked.

But I don't see any reason to conclude they are.

ECouts
2014-03-09T23:54:47Z

When you realize a gaming console is a simplified and highly limited PC, you begin to think about how much more you can get for around the same price from buying an actual PC which you can upgrade and even change the OS on.

Joel H
2014-03-10T00:01:34Z

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGZ1fwKcEmc

Some of these comparisons are from the Story Trailer (just released). The boat shot in particular.

So yes. That's what the game looks like.

Mordymion
2014-03-10T02:48:40Z

I'm just hoping and praying that the PC version is good. Even if it does end up looking like this, there's still a lot of things they could screw up.

Atticus14
2014-03-10T02:58:06Z

I hope the game looks as good as it did at E3 on PC. I have high hopes for it. You never know these days what devs will put out.

StefanLechner
2014-03-10T08:13:09Z

I hope that the realese date is fix. I want to play this game. I'm just hoping and praying that the PC version is good.