For those who don’t know, Watch_Dogs is an open-world action-adventure game currently in development by Ubisoft Montreal. The game’s main selling point appears to be the ability to hack into the surroundings: to either gain control of – or to destroy – particular objects, such as raising traffic stops or exploding electrical boxes (as seen in the game’s demo during the PS4 announcement).
The game itself will be published by Ubisoft for PC, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 4. It has also been confirmed to be coming out on Microsoft’s next Xbox.
Watch_Dogs’ creative director Jonathan Morin explained to GamesTM (via Gaming Everything) this month about how the PS4 release of Watch_Dogs will include such things like visual and AI improvements, as well as “more realistic consequences” to the player’s action.
“When the PS4 showed up it did bring new possibilities to improve graphics and every AI systems we have. But in the same way we did for four years already, we will continue to look beyond what is possible to achieve in order to bring this little something extra out there for players to enjoy. So expect more AI behaviours, more realistic consequences to your actions and an overall improvement in visuals realization. Our team has been working on this very complex ecosystem for more than four years now; this is what is required to build such an intricate set of AI systems.”
To me, the fact that UbiMontreal are pushing forward to take advantage of the PS4’s hardware in order to bring improvements to the game’s experience just kind of goes without saying, really – considering the PS4’s greatly improved graphical and processing capabilities compared to its predecessor. I would kind of expect that from a videogame developer who’s working away during the transition period between one console generation to the next. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to hear that they are spending so much time and effort on enhancing the game’s experience, especially if it means adding more gravitas to a player’s decisions, or improving how enemy AI reacts towards a particular situation.
Speaking of the PS4, Morin continued to say that the new console’s hardware will offer a lot of new opportunities for such improvements, especially in terms of its processing power and memory, but it will also present a lot of new challenges. At the end of the day, though, Morin believes that the next generation’s new challenges will be exciting for both the developers and the players.
“What the new machine brings is new processing power and memory to run these things, but the biggest investment is always the time and the quality of the resources required to pull it off. So not only does the next generation bring more possibilities, but it also brings new challenges that we believe are extremely exciting from both a player’s and a developer’s perspective.”
It’s good to hear that a developer is finding new ways to exploit next-gen hardware to better improve their game. It’s a shame, however, that the same systems that will be improved in the PS4 version of Watch_Dogs won’t really be matched in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions – and probably the Wii U’s, too. At least, that’s what I’ve interpreted from what Morin has said.
Having said that, however, there’s only so much low-end hardware can chug out in terms of memory and graphical processing without cutting corners somewhere, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the same improvements were not mirrored onto the other versions. That’s my take on it, though.
I don’t see the improved systems being much a problem for mid-to-high PCs to cope with (especially extreme gaming rigs), since such setups are allegedly able to process several things at once, and render all sorts of tantalisingly graphical spenders. That’s just me speculating, however. I don’t know what UbiMontreal have got in mind for Watch_Dogs, but, if the gameplay demo is anything to go by, it does look pretty darn awesome. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
What do you think about the PlayStation 4 effectively getting the improved version of ‘Watch_Dogs’ compared to other consoles? Let us know in the comments!