Watch Dogs is the same on current-gen — just less 'HD'
Ubisoft is gearing up for the release of its action-adventure stealth game Watch Dogs later this year, but before the title hits the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it's coming to current-gen consoles, PC, and the Wii U. And the publisher promises the experience won't be any different.
Not really, anyway.
Ubisoft Montreal's Disrupt engine is "both flexible and efficient, while allowing for an astounding level of detail and a seamlessly online environment," according to a post on Ubisoft's blog (via GameSpot). It was made to function on both next-gen and current-gen systems.
“On current-gen systems we may need to cut down the number of people on the street a little, but it’s still the same game," said senior producer Dominic Guay. "You don’t get the same sense of the crowd, but it allows us to scale certain bits and keep the same experience.”
Animation director Colin Graham said, “Players are going to know they aren’t getting a bad experience if they play Watch Dogs for the current gen, but the next gen is the real HD experience. You can zoom in another level. You can have better shaders, better simulation on the wind or the water, more particles, better atmospherics ... Basically anything you can get with more computing power.”
In other words, the core experience is the same no matter what platform you're playing on.
I'm not exactly sure why developers feel the need to convince us that these games are good on every console, both current and next gen. It's not like comparing a console version of a game to its handheld counterpart, where the quality may suffer significantly in the transition, and vice versa. At the same time, every version of a title is going to at least be subtly better or worse than another. That's just how it works, and most of the time, it comes down to a difference in controls or glitches — not graphics.
Telling gamers every version is the same is a nice way of saving fans from feeling cheated if they don't have the latest hardware, but it also isn't doing much to push next-gen sales. After all, why do I need a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One if I can get the same great games on the devices I already own?