It takes a good indie developer a few weeks to optimise their game for PC, but a huge development studio like Ubisoft seems to take pride in launching their game at a sub-optimal level, Watch Dogs can be added to the list suffering from day one optimisation issues.
The biggest issues are frame rate and stuttering on Ultra graphics, even with desktops that should be able to run any PC game at the best settings and have no problems. It shows Ubisoft has not optimised the high-end graphics options to meet players needs.
In Game Issues
Watch Dogs has issues hitting solid 60 FPS, especially when driving and hacking. The amount of effects in the background and foreground might have something to do with the decrease in FPS, along with V Sync not working as intended.
Stuttering is also a big issue, the amount of cut-scenes and interactions with NPCs, along with the open world hacking, makes the game liable to stutter. This can make gameplay rather unenjoyable and force the player to drop graphical quality settings in order to get a decent experience.
Forbes Jason Evangelho wrote a great article on the issues around Nvidia’s proprietary software, hardware optimisation and tools for game developers to use, forcing AMD users from having the same gaming experience, which has happened on Watch Dogs.
Nvidia has had a growing relationship with game developers, using the GameWorks utility tool to make game settings and optimisation better on PC. GameWorks is proprietary and locked away from AMD, meaning the same optimisation cannot be done throughout the system.
The close relationship allows Nvidia to not reveal trade secrets to the game developers, instead working on the GameWorks integration together. This does give Nvidia GPU users a competitive advantage over AMD, but some say it isn’t that bad, GameWorks just shows Nvidia works harder than AMD on PC.
Day One Patch
Ubisoft loves their day one patches, since the optimisation for PC is not great and there are some bugs here and there, we might see a big patch rollout on PC for Watch Dogs, offering new optimisation to bump the frame-rate up to solid 60 and fix stuttering.
The day one patch might fix Watch Dogs, currently getting slammed on the optimisation end. The game itself appears to be highly rated by those who have already played it, even if it feels like the driving and interaction with NPCs is worse than Grand Theft Auto V.
Watch Dogs has a ton of DLC available and more coming in the next few months, meaning a day one patch might not just be for optimisation purposes. If we see any day one DLC, we are sure the PC community will flip, as this is seen as a no-go for most well liked developers.
Watch Dogs Future
The future of Watch Dogs is definitely under a lot of potential scrutiny in the coming weeks, if game journalists don’t like the title and give it a low score, it might affect the future of Ubisoft’s work on the game, but we cannot see the game getting slammed hard.
Watch Dogs was meant to be a franchise, in 2013 Ubisoft talked a lot about the game continuing for a decade and spawning multiple new titles. The amount of pre-orders for the title might make that so, but if it fails to deliver on an entertainment front the next in the series might not be as popular.