News Article

Ubisoft Explains Wii U Watch_Dogs Visuals as "In Between" Current and Next-Gen

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"We're optimising the controls for the beast that is the Wii U GamePad"

With regards to some key multi-platform titles coming to Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4 and Xbox One, or a combination of those five, we're in a slightly awkward spot where preview videos inevitably show footage from the upcoming Sony or Microsoft systems, and Wii U owners are left to wonder how their versions' visuals will compare. We know the Wii U can push attractive visuals, yet it doesn't match the raw graphical processor specifications of One and PS4, in addition to the fact that some developers may not necessarily prioritise optimising their games for the infrastructure that Nintendo has provided.

One of these titles with a question mark over its head is Watch_Dogs from Ubisoft, which looks attractive on the upcoming systems but, to date, has looked choppy in a commonly criticised "current-gen" trailer from earlier in the year. Speaking to CVG, Ubisoft Montreal creative director Jonathan Morin explained that the trailer in question wasn't from any particular version, but a dev build (on PC) put together for comedic effect by an external office that clearly had little eye for optimising its footage — Morin described it as "an internal communications flaw".

After stating that 'current-gen' versions weren't represented appropriately in that trailer — "there's no risk on the look of the current-gen version, it's looking pretty awesome" — Morin went on to categorise where the visuals on the Wii U stand in comparison to their current and prospective rivals.

I would say the Wii U version is pretty much in between what the current gen is and what the next gen is from a version standpoint. It's hard to position it. I would tend to say it's maybe a bit closer to current gen than next gen for certain things but it's a beautiful game on Wii U and it's cool to play it just on the GamePad.

It's a bit weird for me to try Watch Dogs on so many different things, I mean, I tried it on Remote Play on PS4 as well and it's fun to see it on all different platforms. It's fun to try out.

In terms of GamePad usage, we can perhaps expect little more than an on-screen map and simple menu options, based on this answer when queried about how the controller would be utilised.

On the Wii U you can play on the GamePad screen. There are no new features or anything like that - it's the same game but we're optimising the controls for the beast that is the Wii U GamePad.

It's also been confirmed that Ubisoft is continuing to move development of the Wii U version outside of the main studio, with Ubisoft's team in Bucharest — rather than Montreal — working on the Nintendo system.

Are you encouraged or discouraged by these remarks on the Wii U version? In terms of the visuals, are you concerned about how they'll stack up, or are they not a priority? Sound off and let us know below.


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User Comments (82)



DrScottnik said:

I have a feeling we are going to get some really long loading screens on the WiiU version!




All this talk is meaningless until they actually let people go hands on with it or release a Wii U specific trailer.



LeVideoGamer said:

Until they show a Wii U trailer, I won't be able to make a choice on which version to buy. I still can't decide whether PS4's performance or Wii U's Gamepad integration will be more important.



Flash-Jordan said:

hmmm really want this to work out well,an take some cues from need for speed mw but we shall see,also no new features on the wii game pad bar off screen play seems like an incredibly wasted opportunity for this game



Exile20 said:

Disappointed by the lack of gamepad features. Off tv is fine but this game seems it could lend itself to the game pretty well.



DarkCoolEdge said:

Hopefully it will run smoothly. No choppy framerates please.

And no, it doesn't sound good to have it developed by a B-team.



Peach64 said:

I think for Wii U owners this should be a good thing. By saying its in between, that means it's been optimised enough to make it a new version outside current and next gen. That level of optimisation doesn't usually happen for Wii U.



kdognumba1 said:

I really want to see more on it as in screens and vids of the Wii U version, not the same PS4/XB1 stuff we keep seeing.



ThumperUK said:

I have trouble believing any developer since the untruths & imaginative exaggeration told to gamers by whoever 'developed' Aliens Colonial Marines.



Ailingforale said:

I'm satisfied for now. Just think how games will look from 3rd parties when they figure out how utilize all of what the Wii U has to offer though.

And while it may be the "B-team" at least they are continuing to develop for the Wii U.



Nintenjoe64 said:

I think Nintendo will probably have a Ubisoft or 3rd Party Direct in the run up to Xmas and then we'll finally see what the Wii U version is like.

I reckon Ubi are being careful with their footage. They can't show the PS4 and PS3 versions looking too similar (if they are) but they also don't want the current gen versions looking terrible because most of their audience wont upgrade yet.

I don't think Ubisoft Romania are a B-Team so that doesn't worry me. If anything, I am glad they seem to be getting a decent studio to do the bulk of the port. Bit annoyed if they don't even bother putting a map on the gamepad.



cookiex said:

Encouraging to hear from the director himself, but I'm still worried. On the other hand I kinda expected the WiiU version to not have exclusive features since they said the experience will be basically the same across all platforms.

Don't fail me Ubisoft!



MadAdam81 said:

This is not a B team developing the game, but rather refining the port, particularly all the gamepad stuff and the optimization of the graphics. If they didn't get someone to do it, it'd just have current gen graphics with poor or no gamepad features such as off tv play.



Quickman said:

@DrScottnik Me to, apart from Rayman Legends, Ubisoft have been a bit of a disappointment IMO.

The fact that they said that they still have issues with the Wii U architecture, is very worrying indeed. Especially when other devs have been saying how easy it is to work with.

But in saying that, the PS3 and 360 versions of Blacklist were not exactly a "smooth ride", says more about Ubisoft than than the Wii U really..



ricklongo said:

As of right now, I am definitely interested in this game. I'll have to see some actual Wii U footage (and reviews, especially regarding possible bugs and technical flaws) before I take the plunge.



Sneaker13 said:

This troubles me. I'm stroked to play the game on the Wii U, but the gamepad lends itself perfectly for this game. And now they only add off tv play. Disappointing.



Samurai_Goroh said:

I'm still playing this on Wii U, partly because I have no other option since the PC version requires a whooping 6GB of RAM which I don't have, but hope that at least the game looks better than on 360/PS3. They could make it exactly the same as those consoles and not give the Wii U version any special attention, but since there is a team working specifically on let's hope there are no performance issues or loadings, etc.
The hackin' part of the game is not going to get any special features with the touchscreen?



elbcen said:

I am not too excited to play this game on Wii U; in fact, I think I will leave these 'triple A'-titles for much later on when I decide to buy one of next-gen system. Its not that I don't trust Ubisoft or anything, but Watch Dogs does look like a game made for these two new systems.



ToniK said:

I'll wait for some reviews but probably will get this game. A bit weird that they don't integrate any special gamepad features but it's ok I guess. I'm mostly happy with map and inventory type of things.



solcross said:

I've been waiting so long to hear them talk about the Wii U version. This gives me a little hope that it won't be a garbage port, but hopefully we'll get more information about it before release. I really want to get it on Wii U because I think it could end up being good if they utilize it properly.



Shiryu said:

The lack of GTA V on Wii U makes this even more desirable. I hope they sell the Wii U version by the tons and hope to keep Ubisoft third party support for many years to come.



unrandomsam said:

I still don't get the impression they are trying hard enough.

If it is not full 1080p/60fps and completely free of glitches it is not worth it.



PanurgeJr said:

Honestly, I expect this game to be among the first to highlight how much of a step up next-gen isn't. Yes, it will look better, but not as much as people think, and if the large install bases of current gen machines can get almost the same game without getting a new machine, and if it is worth it to developers to continue to provide content to current gen, I think that PS4 and The Bone are in for the same slow start Wii U was.

So if the Wii U graphics are between PS3 and PS4? That's fine, and I don't see how it can possibly affect gameplay.



ACK said:

Oh, I forgot. They want us to download an app for second (third?) screen features. What a horrible trend. These companies are confused if they think most gamers want their games to interact with their smart phones... Or even have smart phones...



hypercoyote said:

Man, I'm disappointed to hear there's not really any extra Gamepad features, the Wii U really could add a lot to this game. If that's the case, I would most likely end up getting the PS4 version to be real and get the better graphics. I want to show the WiiU version love but it seems like a downgrade to me. The games that will shine on the Wii U will be games designed FOR the Wii U, not ported to it.



Ryo_Hazuki-san said:


not necessarily true the wii u disc drive is better than the ps3 and 360 and the multi layer disc that nintendo uses do not require an install so loading times will be dramatically faster.. look at black ops for example and need for speed ...



unrandomsam said:

@cookiex Dunno why anybody would make that choice. PS4/Xbone could easily do the same as the current gen version with 1080p and double the framerate. Not all that surprising due it being Ubisoft though. (The quality of their ports are so bad on anything other than the platform they want to support the most).



unrandomsam said:

I suppose there might be an £800's worth of graphics card option but I don't want it that much.



Samurai_Goroh said:

@ACK You nailed it. I don't have a smart-phone, nor it is likely that I will any time soon. My phone already does what I want from it, calls and text messages. And Pacman. And Puzzle Bobble.
Point is, as a gamer I find my money much better spent in a 3DS or even a Vita, than on a pricey smart phone. I might get a tablet, though, but I assure it's not because I want to play games on it. Shame they're disregarding the second-screen built into the GamePad, entirely.



gojiguy said:

Blacklist wasn't a lazy port... The Wii U version runs at native 720p with v sync while all others run at sub-HD resolutions with screen tearing!

Anyways, basically echoing everyone else here I wanna see how the Gamepad is used. I want a Wii U edition trailer.



gojiguy said:

Also, if you guys wanna see footage I recommend sending your tweets towards the official Watch_Dogs twitter today. There will be a live video Q&A session. Tag your tweets #WDQA I believe and they will show up in the livestream.



JadedGamer said:

Im interested in this game but it wont be a day one or month purchase for me. Ubisoft is notorious for slashing game prices.Saw rayman legends for 40$ at gamestop.I dont like the current gen graphics remark,but Im expecting big things from this title.Hope we dont get another weak port



AcridSkull said:

I'm getting the PC version as I simply want to play the best version possible. I hope I'm wrong but I can't help but feel the WiiU version will turn out to be the worst of the bunch.

Ubisoft has rubbished those specs which were seen on uPlay and stated that the PC requirements will be much lower.



Dyltheman said:

wii u was the system i would've gone with from the beginning. i assumed this grapical thing seeing as how the gamepad takes up a bit of memory. the wii u can perform well (maybe a TINY bit more would've been fine so 3rd parties need not fear) but i know the wii u version will be good.



GreatPlayer said:

Do you guys prefer crappy graphics with short loading time, or great graphics with long loading time?

I actually prefer crappy graphics with short loading time. Some people may want to throw the control pad to the TV due to occasional awkward control in Wonderful 101, but I want to throw the pad to the TV due to the frequent loading time! Loading, loading, and loading...



Macarony64 said:

Seems to me like they try but not hard enough. But it they add camera view on the pad separate from TV it would be cool has hell.



AdanVC said:

After Super Mario 3D World, Watch_Dogs is my second most anticipated game this holiday... My main concern are not the graphics but rather a good an stable game on Wii U considering that this is a HUGE sandbox game, so I'm glad the Director is very aware of this and the possibilities with the Gamepad. Either way, Wii U is a little powerful console. Maybe a couple of low-res textures here and there, less fog in some areas, less polygons on the characters and voilá! Wii U is not so weak as most people think, remember that tech demo video when the console was announced, and the Legend of Zelda graphics demo.



Sceptic said:

Ubi moved WiiU development to a country with low labor costs. Better than dropping features, but the writing is on the wall.



Jellitoe said:

I been hearing this in between current and next a lot. Call of Duty Ghosts is "in between current and next gen" but we have seen no images to show the differences. I don't really care about graphics all that much, but I would like to see what the differences are.



NMH-TRI said:

I'm disappointed about Ubi's comments regarding the Gamepad. Seems like a missed opportunity. Though Batman did have off tv play AND Gamepad specific features. One or the other though, not both at the same time.

Oh well. Even if they just did map/inventory and off tv play, I'm okay. I often hear people complain when more than that isn't done. Not having to pause. Open map at all times gives you better orientation. Off tv play. C'mon, these things alone significantly enhance the experience. Watch Dogs will be mine.



Marshi said:

Im sure the game looks amazing even on current gen.i mean it isnt THAT detailed!so as long as it looks as good as ps3/360 ver with maybe a smoother frame rate/higher native resolution il be more than happy.
What worries me majorly however,which ive wrote on the latest ac 4 wii u news, is the trend of missing features or dlc for the wiiu version. If the wiiu version of ac4 or watchdogs is lacking anything that is available on ALL OTHER VERSIONS then I see no reason why I should buy anything from ubisoft anymore



withoutdk said:

it would not have hurt much to put a little more ram etc in the wii u... but nintendo would rather keep the 2 bucks...



Dreamcaster-X said:

@Hayabusa That's not true. The Wii U version of Splinter Cell is much much slower loading than the PS3 & 360 due to the inability to load textures to the hard drive. It looks great but loading is more than double.



eza said:

They should have taken their tablet/smartphone app functions and ported them to the gamepad.

This is a game that has been hyped so much over the last year that I'm getting highly suspicious of how good it will actually be.
Will it really be an organic reactive metropolis, or will it be the same GTA pedestrian and driver AI that we've always had, and some set pieces (most of which we've seen in the many, many promotional videos they've released)?

This is definitely one that I'll buy maybe six months after it's come out, after the inevitable bugged launch, and the patches that fix the problems they'll have.
By then the PC version might have a free hi-res texture pack available (like Skyrim did) or modders will have made it even better in a way that's impossible on the consoles (like GTA 4).
It'll also be €14.99 on Steam in the summer sale while the consoles will still be asking at least €50 for an inferior version.



alrighthearthis said:

I don't particularly care about playing games like this on my Wii U. I bought my Wii U primarily to play Nintendo games and third party games designed specifically for the console. I will play games like Watch_Dogs on my PC a few months after release when there is a price drop or good sale on Steam.



uhhhhhhhh said:

Pathetic that they don't utilize the gamepad features!!! THIS GAME WOULD BE PERFECT FOR THAT!!! Will there even be any touchscreen menus,etc?????

I was really looking forward to this game, but now i'm having second thoughts.



capriboy said:

I just hope the list below in order to be happy:
Mario Kart 8.
Super Mario 3D World.
Some Mario Galaxy.
Maybe some Bomberman Multiplayer.
Dreaming, some Castlevania.
Dreaming deeply because of some psychotropic ... Miyamoto develops the more destructive FPS game ever seen ... kkkkkk

Everything else I want to play on PS4.



Spectator said:

If they can't utilize the gamepad for this type of game, it will be disappointing and kill one of the main reasons to buy this version.



Dogpigfish said:

Obviously supporting Nintendo puts them at a conflict of interest with the twins. I'm just happy they are fighting to produce on the hardware. In theory the game is going to sell millions, they just don't know on which system. Putting it on Wii U is so they can convince buyers they want to support new tech.



Kirk said:

"Ubisoft Explains Wii U Watch_Dogs Visuals as "In Between" Current and Next-Gen"

Because that's where the power of the console falls.

Does anyone here remember a time in the IGN Wii Lobby where so many of the totally blind fanboys that hang around that place were adamant the Wii U was as powerful as the other next gen consoles (as well as believing a bunch of other optimistic fanboy rubbish about the console too)?

What a load of tosh.

I bet you they still think it's just as powerful as the PS4 and Xbox One.

The Wii U is what it is and now Nintendo just has to support it with as many stunning games as possible, which will hopefully increase sales and bring more third party support as a result, if it expects it to sell to more than the fanboys at this point.



wiiucompl said:

Wii U version = the only one with off-TV mode.
1. CPU/GPU of Wii U is lower than PS4 or XboxOne. But GamePad features - there are no real opponent in the market.

2. No need 4K game for now without 4K TV in my room. Many players will look for the new console for a year or two, when 4K will become popular.



Mochtroid said:

There is really no need to get all caught up in visuals anymore. All I want are games that are FUN. If Watch Dogs is a fun game, then it's a WIN in my book.



CaPPa said:

I'm not concerned over how Watch Dogs looks on the Wii U. It was obvious that none of the versions would look as good as what was shown at e3 (other than on high spec PCs). I've already seen people say how bad the Wii U version looked, then realize that it was actually the PS4 they were looking at and quickly backtrack. I believe that when it releases that all the versions will be fairly similar, just with longer draw distances and less pop-in on the higher end consoles.

I'm happy that they have a separate studio working on the Wii U version, rather than Montreal squeezing it in amongst the other versions (which would surely resulted in less effort). As for GamePad integration, well I'm hoping it'll be on Splinter Cell's level as while it wasn't anything astounding it did streamline the game immensely.



CaPPa said:

Just to note, the Bucharest team did do some work on Zombi U, so they'd have some experience with the Wii U and the GamePad already.



brandonbwii said:

His answer does make it sound like the only feature it will have is off-tv play. I'm pretty sure that's not what he meant though. I hope not.



banacheck said:

I would tend to say it's maybe a bit closer to current gen than next gen

PS4 version for me plus we get the exclusive content too.



QuickSilver88 said:

The remarks are sort of cryptic are they not? First he says no gamepad specific features then says this alternate team is doing optimizations for the beast that is the gamepad? Imdon't get would think the 2nd screen app features would be put on the gamepad for sure right? Ubi has been a mixed bag lately. Black List looked the best on WiiU and used the gamepad well, still load times were horrible and Online was broke for all systems at launch but ps360 got fixes quick while WiiU waits. AC4 groups says they worked hard to opitimize and are proud of frame rate results ( heres hoping). Rayman is brilliant and it is obvious WiiU was lead system. I have WD pre-ordered for WiiU as I won't buy ps4 until late 2014 so I hope they do a decent version without choppy framerate. If it reviews well then I will keep it and with a game so big OffTV will be a plus, if it blows then I will not open it and trade it towars Mario or Sonic. Last thing on load times.....seeing that 90% got 32gb WiiU Why don't the games do a partial install to flash (like a lot of ps3 games) putting several gigs of textures or engine resources on flash and streaming the rest from disc? Then You could delete the installed data after done with the game....seems this would help those lon loads as surely that flash has to be faster access than disc and used in combination should provide a speed up.



BlackStar9000 said:

@Samurai_Goroh you think that 6gb of ram is a lot for a pc, or gaming laptop? I have a 2010 gaming laptop and its the low end version and it STILL has 6gb of ram. LOL!



Bessestad said:

Hopefully all motion-sensitive controller-crap that they problably will add for no reason will be a option, as in Splinter Cell Blacklist. Man.. do I hate those..



element187 said:

@LeVideoGamer Doesn't matter which console you get it on, all of the console versions, including PS4 and xBone will be 30fps.... actually we don't even know the resolution it will run at on PS4, when the developer was asked if the PS4 version would run in 1080p, he avoided the question entirely.

Nextgen consoles aren't really very powerful at all. Its maybe on par with a low end gaming PC. The CPU is built for a tablet, and the GPU is the mobile version of the Radeon 7850.



WiiLovePeace said:

I'm on the fence on this game. I either get it on Wii U or I don't get it at all. I may wait on reviews, I may buy day 1. I'll just have to wait & see I guess.



Gameday said:

Im worried to say the least..If they try to many things for the beast pad then im afraid they'll struggle with this version. The graphics comparison is the least thing on my mind, someone above stated maybe having long load times and such. Off subject Nintendo needs to focus on that battery life unless this game is able to use pro controller im tired of being limited with the distance or better yet this cord being plugged in for most of the time.



Laxeybobby said:

I'ts a game that has me wanting to buy now, however I'm suspicious of the lack of anything visual and words are cheap. I'll hold off until reviews go to print.
I think it will be like Splinter Cell in terms of graphics, (hopefully no in terms of the broken online play).
Re any support for it once it is released - I have a gut feeling that's not going to happen. Having read the announcement about ACIV not being supported with DLC I can see Watchdogs being any different, and if Watchdogs requires patching after release, I can see it being like Splinter Cell, the last of the formats to be patched months after the others!

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