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Ubisoft Locked Visual Features In Watchdogs, New Independent Mod Unlocks Them

by on16 June 2014 1587 times

We have all heard rumors about how this or that game developer “intentionally” crippled a game on one platform or another, but in the end those usually are little more than manufacturer guerilla marketing efforts. Today though, we are hearing that a game company may have left out visual features from a new AAA title that seriously reduce the visual quality of the game played on the PC.

The game in question is Watchdogs and the company is none other than Ubisoft. Now, it is interesting that it is Ubisoft as they have had a history of developing games that can bring even the most powerful systems to their knees. You might remember Cyrsis and how terrible it played if you turned everything one. This lead to the phrase “can it play Crysis?” as an indicator of the power of a GPU and CPU. This phrase is still used today to describe an un-optimized game engine (or one that is overblown with needless effects).

This problem does not seem to be the case with Watchdogs tough. People are reporting that with a new mod in place you can access many visual features that were left out with only a marginal performance impact. You can see the list of features that were left out below.

Included in this mod(not all features are available yet):

-Changes to the default fog values
-Enabled bokeh DOF for the main cameras
-Stuttering Improvements
-E3 2012 Bloom
-Performance Improvements
-Enabled Headlight Shadows
-LoD Changes
-Reflection changes
-Added 3 new cameras to the game(closer, normal, further)
-Rain changes(High quality rain drops, properly reacting to light, etc)
-LensFlares(WIP)
-Lighting changes(TESTING AND WIP)
-Civilians density changes

And many more things.. SOON.

In some cases people are claiming that by using the mod to get the unlocked features they are getting better performance than before (although this is not confirmed yet). We have to wonder why Ubisoft would lock these features in the game, unless they were trying to leave them in for future revenue options. Many game development/publishing companies will lock out features only to make them available in a more expensive copy (Game of the Year Editions) or have them show up as DLC later with a fee attached.

If this is what Ubisoft was intending, then shame on them. You can check out the growing forum threat at Neogaf.


Ed - As a foot note all of these ddissabled visual features were shown at E3 in 2012 during a demo of the game. These are not last minute additions that did not make the cut for release. These are all features that were shown working some time ago and then disabled before launch.

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Last modified on 16 June 2014
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