Another game destroyed by consoles and big publishers

The biggest and most significant difference I see in this video are changes in lighting. Does the game play significantly different than the old videos suggest? The article doesn’t hint at any changes in actual game mechanics. As nice as some of of those pre-release screenshots are, a modest downgrade in graphics hardly “destroys” a game.

I and many other people who are criticizing what happened would not call that a modest downgrade. Frankly that’s the difference between CryEngine 1 and CryEngine 3. Texture resolution, shadows and lighting, which is everything in a game graphically. Even Minecraft has obviously comically low resolution textures and yet the lighting is what creates all the moods and feel for the environments. But if you read the list of things that the modder changed, it is a significant list of items. And it’s partial at that.

But “destroy” is an exaggerated buzzword =)
The thing that is disappointing was that they showed the in-game graphics years ago and they’ve since gotten worse, leading some people that bought it the first week to believe they were getting the graphical quality that was displayed. At worst false advertising, at least distasteful without warning people first that what you see isn’t what you get.

And of course it is the consoles that drag the PC version down as usual and/or they didn’t allow themselves some more time to work out the graphics properly.

You know, that and the bribing of game critics to cover it all up.

I think the bigger issue, the more important issue, is that the earlier previews showed a very different looking game. If performance issues were the problem and reason for the final downgrade, then it’s safe to say that the earlier version shouldn’t have been demoed to begin with. If parity was the ultimate goal, same thing applies. So either way, the fundamental problem here is that games are being advertised one way and delivered another.

I also blame consoles for this.

The lightning on Final Fantasy XV Behemoth reminds me a part of the Tech Demo given for Unreal Engine 3 back in 2004 (E3 demo video).

Since @INovaeKeith worked on Unreal Engine 3, perhaps he could give us insights on what the discussions were when comparing PC and Console quality standards.

Does a graphics downgrade destroy this game? No.

Does showing off those unattainable graphics at a major convention, having tens of thousands of people pre-order a €60 game, and then pointing out that “well the E3 demo clearly stated that alpha footage was not indicative of the final product” destroy the chances of every other game that will ever ask people to pay some amount of money before seeing the final product? Such as, ye know, this one? Quite possibly.

Actually, when you think about it this way, Watch_dogs might be a brilliantly thought out scheme for major publishers to get rid of that pesky crowdfunding idea, or at least the first part of it? Probably not, but makes you wonder…

Consoles get more hardware for their money, and more quality for their hardware.

This is simply due to bulk discounts: hardware manufacturers would just as soon make a million dollar profit from a single deal as a single dollar from each of a million deals (even if the single million-dollar-profit deal is for 10 million units), and on the software side you can get increase your performance by a large amount if you know exactly how many pipelines will be available for each arithmetic operation (and write a compiler, once per hardware configuration, to exploit this knowledge).

PCs get to run whatever software they’d like, the option of upgrading any part of their hardware (not just harddrive size and chassis colour) further down the line, and if you really want to get crazy you can even spend some extra money to buy a better PC right now!

… I mean alternatively you could get both the black and white PS4 (or whatever the colour-choices are), but as tempting as that may be it wont actually increase the graphical fidelity of the games you run on them, and also it could well be significantly more expensive than buying the better, single, PC.

You’re talking to someone who stopped caring about the progression of computer game graphics in 2004. Everything has been better than “good enough” in the past decade. The graphical differences between CE1 and CE2 is little more than wankery, as far as I’m concerned. So yes, the difference is modest. The real loss seems to have been in the “grit” fact, and that’s an unfortunate turn in art direction.

It’s a significant list of items that are broken for a significant percentage of people implementing them. The cries that it’s the consoles that have ruined the game seem to be overshadowing the fact that the devs seem to have had bitten off more than they could chew, given the time constraints dictated by the publisher.

It’s not false advertising. It’s overzealous devs who are excited to show off the experimental stuff they’re working on, without any consideration for the idea that those experiments may fail. They’re geeks. Geeks do this crap all of the time.

People are in an uproar less over the fact that the graphics didn’t pan out as the devs had planned a couple of years ago than they are over the fact that the devs forgot to clean up their experiments and remove their libraries from the shipped version. If they hadn’t left the legacy libraries in the distribution package, people would have long sine swallowed their chill pills.

Yes, devs need to learn to temper their excitement and to keep their experiments to themselves. There’s really little reason for a studio backed by a major publisher to be showing off alpha code or graphics publicly. But there’s also no real reason for PC gamers to go blaming consoles for ruining their games.

Blame the devs for showing off dead end experiments, or blame the publishers for allowing them to show off experiments without committing the resources to seeing them through.

I think it’s time to join the International Wanking Association to solve these issues in collective.

Side note:

I don’t see any large technical differences (i.e. lighting) between the two videos. Less post processing. Less specular surfaces (no water on streets). A few less particle instances. Not much.

I’d also say most graphics “progress” after ~2004 is wankery. There’s some good stuff though!

I’m inclined to agree that people are overreacting. While it’s surprising that they left the old assets in the game, simply because they’re taking up space, things naturally are going to change during the course of development. The devs are going to be under pressure to show “something” at a major conference like E3. If all they have to show is experimental stuff then that’s what they’re going to show. It’s perfectly normal that in the interest of shipping they may have realized they didn’t have the time to properly polish some of these graphical features they were playing with and instead decided to cut them. Lastly don’t forget that this is the first year the next-gen consoles have been out which makes Watch Dogs a borderline launch title. They probably didn’t have any idea of what the final hardware was going to look like for much of the game’s development.