Why do some games get the ‘downgrade’ treatment?

Watch Dogs

There’s been a lot of hubbub about so-called “downgraded” games in recent years. Developers like Ubisoft Montreal and From Software have received a lot of heat from fans over the fact that some of their finished games don’t look nearly as good as early gameplay videos made them out to be. What causes this phenomenon, and why haven’t developers learned their lesson about over promising and under delivering? Let’s take a look.

Unknown hardware

In the case of Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, much of the blame can be laid at the feet of unfinished console hardware. The early footage of the game was truly outstanding, but the final game is clearly missing specific lighting effects. The game was shown off at E3 2012 — a year and a half before the current generation of consoles shipped to consumers. Frankly, it seems that the team mis-estimated what the hardware would be capable of, and they had to walk back the effects and population density in the face of real-world limitations.

Unfortunately, this issue also impacted the PC release. As you can see in the video above, even the highest settings on the PC can’t stand up to the E3 2012 video. And while some of those original effects can be modded back into the PC release, it’s clear that Ubisoft didn’t have the resources to deliver on the original bill of goods — even for the PC version.

While the uproar over the downgrade on gaming forums was disproportionate, there was clearly a legitimate problem with how Ubisoft was communicating with fans. On the upside, the backlash surrounding the Watch Dogs debacle has caused Ubisoft to rethink how it shows off new games. Hopefully, we won’t relive this same kind of nonsense the next time around.


[“source – extremetech.com”]