Bait and Switch: The Rise of Graphical Downgrades in Next Gen

Posted: June 21, 2014 in Opinion Piece

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by L.W. Barker

Two games that have disappointed me in the past—Aliens: Colonial Marines; and Watch Dogs. One game may disappoint me in the future—Tom Clancy’s The Division. Recent insider rumblings have confirmed comments directly from the developers of the game which to put it bluntly:

“We have already downgraded a few things.”

Okay, let’s get a handle on this by going back to the games that disappointed me.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

A:CM blew everyone out of the water at E3 2012. The graphics, sound and gameplay gave us all a rush that lasted for months up to the game’s official release in February 2013. It was also Gearbox software’s # 1 selling game in its first week at retail, then the truth came out—A:CM had been downgraded to substandard levels, and Gearbox Software had basically lied to our Community.

I let them have it with a petition page that acquired 500+ likes and up to 75K fans from all over the World who shared in my anger towards Gearbox and every other developer/publisher who dared follow in their footsteps.

Gearbox Software eventually succumbed to our pressure and pushed out a patch that corrected the game’s graphics to slightly below what was shown at E3.

Watch_Dogs

E3 2013 was the debut event for next gen gaming and Watch Dogs was its highlight. I was captivated by the game’s graphics and its promise of true next gen gaming with a “complete badass” protagonist, Aiden Pearce. I wanted to be him and I wanted this next gen game right then and there. And I wasn’t the only one—many in our Industry as well as throughout the gaming community held high regards for this potential leader of next gen games.

Well, all that ended this month—Watch_Dogs had been downgraded to well below PC standards to what looks to be only a fraction above what can be found on PS3 and Xbox 360. And Ubisoft’s response after hidden graphical settings were discovered in the PC version was:

“We test and optimize our games for each platform on which they’re released, striving for the best possible quality.”

I’m sorry Ubisoft, but you had an extra 8 months to test and properly optimize Watch Dogs to ensure that it was released with the same graphics quality that was shown to the World at E3 2013. The fact is even though the game is a financial success, like Gearbox Software, you lied to our Industry and stole our hard earned cash—that is unforgivable in my book.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

So now we return to The Division and its potential downgrade from what was shown to us at E3 2014. Our insider, who is also a developer working directly on the game had this to say:

“Truth to be told, while our lead platform is PC, we just cannot have such a big gap. As you know, when the first Watch Dogs review was published by that one site, Ubisoft called it a “false review” and I’m sure everyone can see how bad that sounded when they saw that the game did look marginally better than something that was a last generation GTA IV. But no, they will not admit that they practice this or that they actively downgrade a game. It is much easier for them to say that they remove things for stability which is often a lie which you can tell by the post issues which are expected in any production we do.”

So we can confirm that the demo of the Division that was shown to us at E3 2014 will be downgraded as every other game that have disappointed me in the past.

However, I wrote this article with the hope that Ubisoft Massive, Ubisoft Reflections and Ubisoft Red Storm will read and understand that publishers and develops must stop lying to our Industry. This bait and switch routine is sick and only serves to undermine our hard earned trust that once lost, is next to impossible to reacquire.

They should not hold back graphics power on our games as some sort of sadistic reservation ploy for PS5, the next Xbox, or Nintendo’s mystery machine—we want that power now—this is why we bought our PS4, Xbox One and Wii U—let us experience next gen’s true potential!

Source: WhatifGaming.com

http://www.gamersoutpost.net

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