If you were hoping the next generation of gaming would start with a “bang” and give the PC elitist a bit of a run for their money, think again. Ubisoft's creative director for Watch Dogs has confirmed that the game will run at a native 30 frames per second for both Sony and Microsoft's new generation consoles.
Videogamer managed to get in a word with Ubisoft's creative director Jonathan Morin, where he told them that...
“Right now the frame rate we're focussing on [is] a steady 30[FPS],"... "There's always a balance, especially for open world, between the simulation and the rest.”
It seems kind of poor coming into next-gen gaming with barely a visual upgrade and frame rates capped at the same as our current-gen offerings. Worse yet was that Morin wasn't able to verify if the game would be native 720p or 1080p, a really sad thing when you consider that many Xbox 360 and PS3 games are 720p 30fps or in the case of Call of Duty, an upscaled 720p at 60fps.
Hopefully this admission to quality-loss is just so the teams can familiarize themselves with the hardware and not push it too hard, too soon. The last thing we need is a retread of what happened when the Xbox 360 launched and it was red-ringing left and right as if it were a traffic light that got hocked up on a case of meth and Molly. Red lights all day long.
What's even more telling than this is that a lot of Xbox One and PS4 games are launching with similar scaling to Wii U titles. While so many fanboys were up in arms about how underpowered and weak the Wii U is, at least the system has its share of 1080p 60fps titles on the market and arriving to the market, where-as a lot of everything coming to the Xbox One and PS4 that isn't an indie game is gimped to 720p at 30fps. That's about on par to what you would expect from the average AAA title on the Wii U.
In fact, Slightly Mad Studios has already confirmed that one of the best looking games coming to the market, Project CARS, will be a stable 720p at 30 frames per second for the Wii U when it launches next year. More than anything, the little console that could is looking more than capable on the spec front compared to all these other games that will be running at 1080p and 4K resolutions on high-end PCs at a stable 120 frames per second. In fact, anyone using AMD's new R9 290X will be running absolute circles around all the newest next-gen console games coming out this fall, given that it's designed to run everything at a native 4K resolution.
So what do we take away from all of this? That Wii U isn't anymore underpowered in this next-gen race than the Xbox One and PS4 is compared to high-end PCs. That a lot of the AAA titles coming out across all the next-gen consoles, from the Wii U to the Xbox One to the PS4, will see a max of 720p at 30 frames per second. And, that despite the fact that Nintendo's hardware isn't entirely up to par to Sony and Microsoft's offerings, it's still more than capable of holding its own when it comes to AAA titles.
If Watch Dogs is anything to go by, the Xbox One and PS4 may be the ones doing the disappointing in the long run, and the Wii U just might be the surprise contender no one saw coming.