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Back in the age of the Xbox 360 and PS3, 720p was mostly standard. Some games here and there were sub-720p or upscaled to 720p, but most gamers accepted that it was the standard. Now I know a large part of the gaming information ring will say that there isn't much of a difference between 720p and 1080p, but for gamers who use resolution as a way to increase their effectiveness in-game (i.e., using the visual clarity to snipe better, or to spot things in the far distance or identifying objects amidst a dense environment) a lower resolution just isn't acceptable.
Well, it was recently revealed that Watch Dogs would neither be 1080p on either home console, nor would it run at 60fps. Creative director Jonathan Morin had to take to Twitter to address some of these concerns, as gamers have become livid at the last-gen graphics settings for a supposed new-gen title.
Gamepur compiled the Tweets into a legible format, where Morin carefully wrote about the decision to have the game running at 900p and 792p at 30fps, respectfully...
“I said it is one element in every aspect of a game. Watch_Dgos is about dynamism. It could not have been the case Everything is related to each other and everything is a choice in game development.
“Its about cost and impact”.... “you guys are free to interpret”... hmmm. So I guess this is where I get to interpret his comments? Yummy.
Impact: sub-20fps gameplay on PS4 and Xbox One.
Impact: Downgraded graphics like in those terrible trailers.
The cost of good graphics with fixed hardware will have an impact on performance, one way or another.
Ubisoft had previously mentioned in an interview about discussing AI, that you can't market good AI or intangible interactive features. It's true. You can't market nuance. You can't market layered gameplay depth. You can't market reactive dynamism. A lot of times the average consumer will have no idea what that even means. Core gamers discover these features through playing the game or word of mouth (e.g., Demon's Souls, Dwarf Fortress, Deus Ex, etc.,)
One of the commentor's on Gamepur's article kind of nailed the situation right proper, writing...
“Why can't Morin just come straight to the point and grow a pair and say that with all the intense hacking capabilities in a very system heavy open world that both the PS4 and Xbox One just don't have enough power to push the resolution and frame rates higher without emptying the city of life like Infamous Second Son did, or maybe he did say that if you read between the lines a little.”
NDAs my good man... NDAs.
In the end, console gamers will get a fairly good looking rendition of Watch Dogs at the expense of a higher resolution and a smoother frame-rate. Thankfully, PC gamers will get the full nuanced experience that Ubisoft wanted to bring into this new generation, without having to sacrifice any of the high-end graphics or frame-rate capabilities.
I guess PC gamers really get to drown themselves in the euphoria of gameplay and graphics, while the locked-down game boxes will get you either one or the other, but not both.
The game has recently gone gold, which means development is done and the distribution disc is making its way to the manufacturing plant. Watch Dogs is due for release on home consoles and PC starting May 27th.