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New PC mod for ‘Watch Dogs’ delivers authentic E3 2012 visuals

A modder has compiled hidden code found in Watch Dogs in a easy to use mod that brings all of the authentic E3 visuals to PC gamers.


When Watch Dogs hit the market, PC gamers weren’t satisfied with the game’s visuals. Even on max settings, the final port failed to re-create that high level of graphical fidelity and lighting like that of the E3 ’12/13 presentations. PC owners stipulated that Ubisoft had severely downgraded the version in favor of balancing out a disparity between the PS4 and Xbox One ports.

Now PC owners can finally play the Watch Dogs they had anticipated for the better part of two years.

A Guru3D modder known as TheWorse has unearthed hidden “E3 code” within the PC version of Watch Dogs that ultimately re-creates that distinct lighting that was nixed from the final cross-platform release. TheWorse has discovered that all of the original shaders and graphical upgrades featured in the famous E3 presentations are still in the game’s files/code.

The dedicated modder then compiled all of his findings in an easy-to-use mod package so that everyday gamers can install the settings–but it’s worth mentioning that the mod is still in its early stages and is a work-in-progress with many more fixes and additions to come.

A side-by-side comparison of the mod (left) with the retail version (right) courtesy of Kadzait24.
A side-by-side comparison of the retail version (left) with the mod (right) courtesy of Kadzait24.

The differences between the two versions is almost like night and day, with incredibly dynamic shadows and lighting along with more detailed bloom effects straight from E3 2012. The mod brings a darker flair to the Windy City but also exemplifies that same visual flair PC gamers were expecting, really bringing out a whole new dimension of the game.

TheWorse’s mod v0.6 includes the following visual upgrades:

  • Changes to the default fog values
  • Enabled bokeh DOF for the main cameras
  • Stuttering Improvements
  • E3 2012 Bloom
  • Performance Improvements
  • Enabled Headlight Shadows
  • LoD Changes
  • Reflection changes
  • Added 3 new cameras to the game (closer, normal, further)
  • Rain changes (High quality rain drops, properly reacting to light, etc)
  • LensFlares (WIP)
  • Lighting changes (TESTING AND WIP)
  • Civilians density changes

Users on Reddit have reported higher frame rates and improved graphical stability after installing the mod, and more content is soon to come.

These findings will no doubt deepen the rift between PC gamers and cross-plat developers in terms of graphical downgrades to favor next-gen consoles. While it is great news that PC owners will be able to finally experience Watch Dogs as it was originally showcased, many speculate as to why Ubisoft didn’t just deliver this version in the first place.

Furthermore one has to wonder what Ubisoft thinks about all of this. The company has announced a new patch for Watch Dogs that is primed to hit on all platforms, with PS4 coming first and “in the coming days” on PC. The PC updates will include crash fixes, graphical improvements for cutscenes, and various other refinements–but there’s no mention of a huge visual overhaul akin to those of TheWorse’s E3 mod.

To pick up the mod drop by GameFront or check the original forum thread.

Via: NeoGAF, Reddit

Source: Guru3D

Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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