Ubisoft Explains Why Watch Dogs On PC Had Hidden Graphics Files

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Earlier this week, Watch Dogs made headlines after modders discovered hidden graphical files that transformed the game to something that more closely resembered the dazzling E3 demo presented in 2012. Today, Ubisoft took the time to explain why these files weren't used—and responded directly to accusations that they "downgraded" the game.


From the official Watch Dogs website:

The dev team is completely dedicated to getting the most out of each platform, so the notion that we would actively downgrade quality is contrary to everything we've set out to achieve. We test and optimize our games for each platform on which they're released, striving for the best possible quality. The PC version does indeed contain some old, unused render settings that were deactivated for a variety of reasons, including possible impacts on visual fidelity, stability, performance and overall gameplay quality. Modders are usually creative and passionate players, and while we appreciate their enthusiasm, the mod in question (which uses those old settings) subjectively enhances the game's visual fidelity in certain situations but also can have various negative impacts. Those could range from performance issues, to difficulty in reading the environment in order to appreciate the gameplay, to potentially making the game less enjoyable or even unstable.

Thanks for playing Watch Dogs and stay safe on the mean streets of Chicago.

-The Watch Dogs Team

As we previously detailed, some users did report that they had performance issues when they tried out the mod in question—but in general, most people seem to agree that it objectively improved the graphics thanks to a variety of tweaks that changed stuff like shaders and camera angles.



Dear Ubi,

While your concern is completely unwarranted and unneeded, here's the thing: Your argument might make sense if Watch_Dogs were a console exclusive. However, it's not. Being on PC, it has a range of visual options. In fact, any PC player could attest that their game allows them a fairly large range of visual choices.

So why is it, when we have all these choices, that you decided to cut off the very pinnacle of these looks? Saying it affects performance is a non-issue; people who would be affected could simply turn down the graphics intensity, as they always have. You had eight extra months to work on this. You have no excuse for cutting these graphical options besides fooling people into thinking the game looked better than it actually did.

Please explain.

- Internet