Watch Dogs Mod Adds Dynamic Shadows From Headlights, Bloom, and Other Improvements

Update: Ubisoft has provided a statement regarding the recent discovery of old graphics files in Watch Dogs.

Update 2: Ubisoft has provided a statement on its website regarding the mod from user TheWorse that activates old graphics files and purportedly improves graphical fidelity in Watch Dogs.

In summary, Ubisoft acknowledges that the files do exist in Watch Dogs and may improve graphical quality in some situations, but it says that the files were deactivated because they reduce performance and playability throughout the game. "The PC version does indeed contain some old, unused render settings that were deactivated for a variety of reasons," the post explains, "including possible impacts on visual fidelity, stability, performance and overall gameplay quality."

You can read the statement in full below:

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.

Update: Many users are claiming that these mods may not add graphical improvements, but rather activate files and assets already contained within the PC version of the game. Mod creators TheWorse and Kadzait24 have allegedly found and activated files such as "E3 2012 Bloom" and "E3 2012 Explosions" There has already been heated controversy over the purportedly decreased graphical fidelty in Watch Dogs' final release from its first E3 showing in 2012. Ubisoft later stated that the graphics had not been downgraded.

TheWorse has said that he has found old E3 files and turned them on in his mod, but the consequence of these files has not been demonstrated yet. His mod adds many other improvements beyond these E3 files, but the specific effect of "E3 2012 Bloom" on its own has not been shown.

We have reached out to Ubisoft for comment on the existence and effect of these files in the game.

Original story below:

Regardless of how good you think Watch Dogs looked when it finally came out when compared to its initial unveiling at E3 2012, if you own the game on PC, don’t mind tinkering, and have the hardware that can handle it, you can make the game look better thanks to some resourceful modders.

For example, if you've seen this video, which compares Watch Dogs to the PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV (released in 2008) you've probably noticed that one thing Watch Dogs lacks is dynamic lighting from cars’ headlights.

Guru3D forum member Kadzait24 and TheWorse have both claimed credit for working on a mod that adds that visual effect to Watch Dogs, along with a lot of other features. The mod, which you can find on Guru3D, also aims to add an improved bloom effect, higher density of civilians, and more.

Watch Dogs broke 24-hour sales records for Ubisoft and went on to sell more than 4 million copies in its first week. Ubisoft expects Watch Dogs to sell 6 million total units, the same lifetime figure of the original Assassin's Creed. At E3 2014, Ubisoft senior vice president of sales and marketing Tony Key told GameSpot that Watch Dogs is now officially a "franchise."

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer in search of the Citizen Kane of burritos.

Want the latest news about Watch Dogs?

Watch Dogs

Watch Dogs

Discussion

426 comments
youngzen69
youngzen69

Gamespot, let Ubisoft come up with their own excuses. Ubisoft don't need you or your PR team to come up with excuses for them. Its no big secret that Gamespot is just a big advertisement hub for these big gaming companies, etc. These big gaming companies pays Gamespot to advertise and promote their products. So bad publicity is out of the question. So the moderator is claiming that Gamespot is reaching out. I really dislike when places like Gamespot claims to be reaching out. Why? PR damage control? So if you reach out and find something that confirms all of this nonsense about Ubisoft are you going to report it? 

Amster_G
Amster_G

"Those could range from performance issues... " - When you play on a lower-end computer, sure. But there's people out there who will spend the money on hardware that'll allow these optimized visuals to run fine... and Ubisoft knows that, so isn't their statement kind of obvious? The higher you crank up the settings, the tougher it gets on your system. PC gaming isn't dead, Ubisoft. Stop pretending PCs can't run higher-than-console visuals.

push88
push88

PEOPLE, STOP PRE-ORDERING GAMES!!!  Problem half solved.

funkerazmain
funkerazmain

All I can say is that Ubisoft is a video game brand filled with egg sucking dogs!!!!!

nosloandy92
nosloandy92

I'm more inclined to agree with them when it comes to making sure the game runs smoothly on the widest range of system specs.  The idea that they removed these settings for no other reason than they felt like screwing over some people is utterly unfounded and ridiculous.

Creed02
Creed02

Or ubi didnt have time to optimize the game for PC.

kate_jones
kate_jones

Pretty much most the graphical options in a PC game affect frame rate or Gameplay. Most people turn motion blur off in games but it's nice to have the option, most people turn the Anti Aliasing up even though it affects performance.


This is the joy of pc gaming, make the game run at a personally acceptable rate with the effects we choose.

ilovelctr
ilovelctr

This talk from Ubi is full of nonsense... If these graphical settings can really bring about downside to the gameplay, you can mention it with footnotes. And you now simply deactivate them because most PCs nowadays are not yet prepared for these effects? What the hell is with this logic? Or, is the truth in fact that you don't want the console versions to flop sales-wise due to drastic visual discrepancy between them and PC version??

Please look at The Witcher 2. Almost no one is able to turn on Uber-sampling while playing with a decent frame rate; still, the game's graphical settings are prepared for the future, and I honestly don't see anything wrong with it. Keep yourself silent Ubisoft, and no one will bash you for not posting comments.

Mo60
Mo60

What i choose in the mod (Closer Camera,Far Camera or Normal Camera) and what is the steps to install the mod after choosing the camera option ?

euphoric666
euphoric666

The mod works fine for me and honestly is a completely different game now. The DOP Bokeh is amazing and for those who are experiencing stuttering and freezing, changing the virtual memory of windows swap file helped 98% for me... incredible. i'm using up to 12000mb for swap and the game runs silk smooth now.

GhoX
GhoX

So... Ubisoft's solution to blatantly lying is blatantly lying?


Even in TB's original video that addressed this issue, he demonstrated that these old graphical enhancements did not in fact affect performance to any noticeable degree.

Enkhrypthor
Enkhrypthor

BULLSHIT,

i run this game with this mod perfectly fine.


frozenuxx
frozenuxx

Gee, i wonder what the scalability on PC is there for...They are talking almost as if there is a single setting available on PC. Leave the console way of setting up games where it belongs.

Just make the options available. People with the hardware muscle to run it will run it and people who can't will adjust their settings accordingly.

phpsena
phpsena

This will always happens while massive preorders, "must-buy feelings" and day-1 purchases exists.

4 MILLION on first week. Geez...

People must care less about media hype before release (from YouTube channels, magazines and game portals, including here) and more about the final product delivered to market (after some reviews). Hype is marketing, and not what everyone will pay for.


Things like this make me think no game today and for the future is worth of a pre-order (and respectively its price).

Anigmar
Anigmar

Lies, lies, lies. What is more aggravating is the fact they expect us to believe it. Stability? Affecting gameplay? Ubi takes us all for 5 year olds or something. They needed 72 hours to redact that thing? Man this is outraging.

jer_1
jer_1

Lying liars trying to lie their way out of their lie...figures.

archav3n
archav3n

Alot of nonsense out of PR talk. First, it's a PC. You DON'T need to disable them. You can make it available. PC users has the choice to enable/disable it. Second, they said there was no downgrade then later they said it disabled for performance issues. Third, majority who uses that patch has GAIN more performance than impacting.

Clearly Ubisoft is lying.

Lhomity
Lhomity

Oh boy the game is prettier, oooh shiny graphics oooh, zzzz...


Why is anybody still surprised that the game was optimized for lesser PC's? Of course it was. Like almost everything else on the market. Not everybody out there can run Watch Dogs at max settings as-is, and it's not even terribly demanding on hardware. It's alright for those of us who are fortunate enough to have a solid gaming rig like mine, but we don't account for the general audience. We rage now as always when these topics arise, but we rage selfishly.

Console ports? What makes you think anybody would spend the time and money developing a game like Watch Dogs for PC without the console market to support it? Would you rather they stayed on consoles then? Wait, don't answer that.


Zzz...



thechuck11
thechuck11

 Even if it does decrease performance, it should still be there as an option, just default it off. Just cause anti-aliasing reduces performance doesn't mean it should be removed from games. These guys do a bad job at covering up some big mistakes

pharoe777
pharoe777

Mediocre game and rough graphics = waste of time and money.

tomservo51
tomservo51

Can't wait to play GTA5 is all I gotta say.

DamnILoveGames
DamnILoveGames

They're still not explaining why they lied with the whole 'On PC on the maximum settings you'll get what we showed at E3'. Even then, given how it actually increases performance it sounds like they're talking out of their asses. They're on their way to joining EA on my worst companies list.

bernard978
bernard978

Oh my they just shot themselves in the foot. I tried the mod out and it works wonderfully with it all on, so this is nothing short of BS.

Saidrex
Saidrex

Such bs excuse - "difficulty in reading the environment in order to appreciate the gameplay" :D

"performance issues," since when increase in performance is performance issue? Many users report that those effects actually increased performance, others - it had no impact on performance at all.

LoganDaDestroya
LoganDaDestroya

They should have provided specific examples if they wanted to sound legit on that, like where the old settings cause these issues. Sounds more like regular damage control.


I also find it funny how they talk about being able to read the environment and stuff, yet they have that horrific render distance.

robathy
robathy

This just proves that they deliberately added visual enhancements that they either knew wouldn't be included in the final product or decided they couldn't "justify" the work required to finish the programming required to include working versions of those settings in the final build simply to demonstrate a version of the game that didn't exist. The names of the files say it, somebody said "make the game look as sweet as possible for E3, regardless of whether the game will in fact look like that".

DAOWAce
DAOWAce

Now if only this was possible for Dark Souls 2..

sleepyinmorning
sleepyinmorning

actually theworse is just a thief,real and better one is kadzait24

and mods make everything look too shiny,but yes,ubisoft downgraded the game


xcollector
xcollector

So basically they started off making amazing graphics, than they realized the damn thing wouldn't work on the PS4/XB1 and had to scale back, and didn't feel like finishing the job for the only system that could handle it.

berserker66666
berserker66666

Ubisoft, please feel free to stop talking out of your asses. Sadly, they are becoming the next EA.

push88
push88

Did anyone REALLY think they were going to admit anything?!  Lol  STOP BUYING THEIR GAMES!  FIGHT CONSOLE PARITY!

eman123
eman123

Gamespot this needs to be a feature article. As in... Investigative journalism should be employed. I want to see these modders slash hackers interviewed. I want to see this site stand up for the pc gamer. It is not about the game not being good or compromises having to be made. It is about false advertisement in general in this industry and the public media not holding these companies to account.

koolkidbenw1997
koolkidbenw1997

@nosloandy92 The unlock had almost no performance decrease or stabability issue, ubisoft just wanted to match the PC with the consoles to make them look more powerful than they really were

plasticreality
plasticreality

@archav3n I too am using the patch and have experienced comparable performance (it wasn't too bad for me to begin with).  I just don't see how you could chalk this up to gross incompetence. 


And sadly, it's left to commenters to state the truth, not the very people (*ahem* journalists) who are supposed to offer analysis in situations like this.  My guess is that they don't want to burn their bridge with Ubisoft, a company who likely supplies a great deal of advertising revenue to GS and similar outlets.  That's not a conspiracy, it's their business model.

Xyllix
Xyllix

@Lhomity You sound like a horrible person.

Bellum_Sacrum
Bellum_Sacrum

@ffragale1 How does making more money for them equal shoving sticks up a company's anal orifice? It's the modders who are the losers here. They wasted their time to make some unrelated company's game look better.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@steaminpotatoes Yeah, as if it's up to each gamer to decide if it enhances anything, that it doesn't objectively/undoubtedly enhances visuals. Their excuses for not implementing these things that modders activated are kind of vague, but it at least seems like they did so to ensure a more stable experience. Whether they were wrong to do so or not, is subjective, heh.

newhaus1994
newhaus1994 moderatorstaff

@eman123 We're working on it. It's difficult to get in touch with the modders because of security walls on the websites.

ffragale1
ffragale1

@Hurvl @steaminpotatoes this is just further confermation that wachdogs was supposed to be a console exclusive and they just did a sloppy PC port without optimisation SIMPLE :)