Ubisoft Employee Says Publishers Want PC Games Downgraded to Console Visuals
When the retail version of Watch Dogs was released in May, many people accused Ubisoft of downgrading the visuals from the E3 2012 reveal trailer for two reasons. Some said that Ubisoft basically lied about the capability of next-gen consoles with their original gameplay video. The second accusation was that Ubisoft downgraded the PC versions visuals to keep the visuals in line with that of those next-gen consoles.
Well, it turns out that both might be true after what an anonymous Ubisoft employee said. He told What If Gaming that publishers are pressing developers to close the visual gap between the PC and console versions of games so gamers don’t pass on the consoles for a gaming PC instead.
WIG’s source, whose employment in Ubisoft Massive’s graphics department was confirmed by What If Gaming prior to running with the story, told the publication:
“There is definitely a lot of push coming from publishers to not make the experience so different on consoles as to alienate people into thinking that next generation is not as powerful as PC. This is probably what happened at Ubisoft Montreal. I think that while making stability changes is definitely important, it does not completely obliterate a lot of enhanced rendering applications.”
As such, when talking about the visual downgrades that have occurred to The Division, the game he’s working on for Ubisoft, during the twelve months between E3 demos, the source referred to the changes as being, “definitely is not just stability but marketing politics plays into this a lot as well.”
Now, we should all be a bit wary of single-sourced stories. The first rule of journalism is that you should run when you get two sources. Just look what happened with the reports of Visceral Montreal’s closure and EA’s interference with the Dead Space franchise that everyone and their mother denied.
That little disclaimer out of the way, given what we’ve seen from Ubisoft and the PC release of Watch Dogs, visual downgrades to keep the PC and console versions of games similar seems par for the course from Ubisoft. If you take one source and the circumstantial evidence from one live example and it might be enough to make a case that Ubisoft is actually trying to protect consoles by downgrading the visuals of their PC games.
The natural counter-argument is that visuals aren’t the be all and end all of video games and that we should be most concerned with the actual gameplay. However, that’s but one component of a game. Sure, a game can succeed or fail on the quality of the gameplay but there is still the story, the visuals and the audio that make up a game. If one of those core components are disappointing, it can drag the whole game down too.
Maybe the moral the story is that gamers are getting increasingly tired of the so-called bullshots that make up video game marketing and promotion. While complaining online sends a message to the people making the game, it doesn’t send a message higher up the company. To do that, we have to stop buying games with massive visual downgrades. That’s never going to be more than words, though, and that means that we’re going to be stuck in this rut for a while.
Source: What If Gaming