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Was Watch Dogs For PC Handicapped On Purpose? 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the following-the-console-dollars dept.
Advocatus Diaboli writes: Many PC gamers were disappointed that Ubisoft's latest AAA game, Watch_Dogs, did not look as nice as when displayed at E3 in 2012. But this week a modder discovered that code to improve the game's graphics on the PC is still buried within the released game, and can be turned back on without difficulty or performance hits. Ubisoft has yet to answer whether (or why) their PC release was deliberately handicapped. Gaming commentator Total Biscuit has a video explaining the controversy.
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Was Watch Dogs For PC Handicapped On Purpose?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:42PM (#47266821)

    Nuff said.

  • DLC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:47PM (#47266881)

    They were probably planning to charge players $50 to activate this 'DLC'.

  • Probably (Score:5, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 (1902712) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:48PM (#47266891)
    But not for any nefarious reasons. The depth of field effect, in particular, messes with the gameplay in unexpected ways. Stuff like not being able to find a camera easily because it's more than 20 feet away and blurred out. Or when you're in a gunfight and everyone not right next to you are blurred out. That kind of thing. It's great for screenshots, and very tightly-controlled situations, but I wasn't impressed with how it felt in terms of gameplay.
  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @05:51PM (#47266927)

    While the unlocked graphics style is certainly better for screenshots, it suffers the problem of highlighting close things, while highly blurring anything at a distance. While more 'realistic', if I were testing the game, I'd definitely suggest disabling this 'feature' by default, as it really can hamper gameplay and discovery. Skyrim EMB mods frequently enter into this territory, and it can be troublesome there too.

    The headlight effects are pretty cool though.

    The worst middle-finger-to-the-audience has to be the mouse handling though - it's not just mouse smoothing or mouse acceleration, but a particularly nasty form of negative acceleration from capping out the maximum allowed mouse speed, presumably to match controller max speeds. This limitation is a pain in the ass if you're expecting any kind of free or accurate mouse control. I cannot imagine any tester not making this a 'show stopper' bug - it's really, REALLY bad from what I've heard/seen/tried, and can't be fixed so far (lots of half-fixes out there though).

    Ryan Fenton

  • Re:Controversy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @06:04PM (#47267033) Homepage

    Grand Theft Auto V cost $150M to develop and $150M to market. The GTA games have been the benchmark of AAA games for almost 15 years.

    I have never heard anyone describe any of them as turds in a pretty box.

  • Please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hamsterdan (815291) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @06:30PM (#47267257)

    Graphics? Sound? HDR?

    What about *gameplay* (what makes a game worth playing)

    Half-Life, DooM, Quake, Quake2, X-Wing series, even some games on my C64. I'm replaying Tie Fighter on an old Ppro200 with an Ensoniq Soundscape Elite soundcard, the gameplay is amazing, the story too. Graphics are crap compared to today's games, but the iMuse music is one of the things that make that game almost perfect.

    Dozens of hours of gameplay. (unlike modern games)

  • Re: Controversy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@hot[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @07:14PM (#47267663) Homepage

    You mean a handegg.

  • Problem solved! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jahoda (2715225) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @07:36PM (#47267865) Homepage
    I just buy all of their games once a year for $2.99 on Steam and then never play them.
  • Re:Controversy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @08:29PM (#47268271)

    I regularly visit my local ABC Supermarket to buy my groceries. They have their own as well as third party brands available to purchase. This works for me, and as such, I am a part of their rewards program.

    ABC Supermarket signs a deal to offer one of XYZ Supermarket's products. I decide to try it out. However on the way out the door after purchasing an XYZ Branded product, I am grabbed by employees of the XYZ Supermarket, thown into the back of an XYZ branded Van, and driven to the XYZ Store. They then walk me to the counter, put a pen in my hand, and make me sign up for their rewards program. Once I do, only then am I allowed to use the XYZ product.

    Next time I decide to drive myself to XYZ store to save myself the hassle of being dragged there from ABC. Unfortunately the employees don't recognise my rewards card, and have blank looks when asked about the product. A manager approaches me, and tells me that I have to first go to the ABC store, pick up the product, and THEN come back to the XYZ store before they will allow me to use it.

    This is what it's like buying Ubisoft Products through Steam.

  • Halo syndrome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @08:42PM (#47268351) Homepage

    They were probably paid lots of money by a certain monopolist to cripple the PC version so as to not make their XBox version look so bad in side-by-side comparisons. The lowest common denominator wins again.

    Title explanation: Recall that Halo for PC was never released. A pity because it looked quite good. What eventually came out on the PC was a low-quality port of the XBox version.

  • by janoc (699997) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @04:38AM (#47270099)

    How does this surprise anyone? After Ubisoft CEO calling PC users "pirates" (, always-on DRM required on PC, Ubisoft changing focus to consoles because of piracy (,6152.html) and more and more of similar vibe coming out of the Montreal's company over the recent years. They don't give a crap about PC and ideally they wouldn't publish for it all if they could, as it is only an extra expense and liability for their piracy obsessed CEO.

    They are obviously crippling their PC titles to both push people away from the platform towards the consoles and to not undermine the sales of their console versions at the same time, because PC can outperform the consoles without too much hassle. If the PC version looked significantly better, the console players would cry foul, having paid the same money but getting inferior product. If everything looks like the same crap, players will not think about it twice.

    Any PC gamer still buying Ubisoft's stuff is a masochist.

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