‘Watch Dogs’ PC Mod Makes it Look as Good as Original Reveal

Published 11 months ago by

Assassin's Creed Easter Egg In Watch Dogs

When Ubisoft’s open-world vigilante hacking game Watch Dogs was first revealed at E3 2012, gamers worldwide “oohed” and “aahed” over the high definition graphics and the detailed portrayal of Ubisoft Montreal’s alternate version of Chicago. When another gameplay trailer for Watch Dogs was released in fall 2013, however, it wasn’t long before there was an outcry over what appeared to be a noticeable downgrade in the graphics.

That’s not to say that Watch Dogs‘ graphics upon its final release were bad, but for a game that was (prior to its delay) going to be one of the major titles to launch the new console generation, Watch Dogs didn’t represent the massive leap forward that many were hoping for. It did get a PC release however, and with PC releases come PC graphics mods.

Watch Dogs has only been out for a few weeks, so expect plenty more mods to come in the future, but for now a modder going by the online handle TheWorse on Guru3D claims to have unpacked the PC version’s code and created a mod that restores some of the effects seen in the original reveal trailer that later disappeared – in particular the “E3 2012 bloom” effect for the game’s lighting. The mod is a work in progress, currently at version 0.6, but includes changes to the game’s weather (rain and fog) and also enabled headlight shadows for some great noir-ish effects. Check out some stills from the modded version of Watch Dogs below.


Watch Dogs PC mod high res screenshot 1

Watch Dogs PC mod high res screenshot 2

Watch Dogs PC mod high res screenshot 3

Watch Dogs PC mod high res screenshot 4

Watch Dogs PC mod high res screenshot 5

As it’s still an early version the mod can cause some visual glitches like flickering and stuttering, but for those who want to get their games looking as beautiful as possible on PC this mod is definitely worth taking for a spin.

The lack of headlight shadows wasn’t the only graphical oddity in the vanilla version Watch Dogs. Because of the kind of processing power it would take to render real-time reflections in the huge, glass windowed buildings of Chicago, reflective surfaces in the game will often appear to show an alternate universe rather than what’s actually in front of them. Perhaps we’ll get massive real-time reflections in the next console generation.

Tell us if you’re a fan of this graphics mod – or if you’ve managed to track down a better one – in the comments.


Watch Dogs is now available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The Wii U version is aiming for a fall 2014 release.

Source: Guru3D

TAGS: PC, PS3, PS4, Ubisoft, Watch Dogs, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One

  • JDub519

    I’m surprised you guys haven’t had an article about the loading screen bug that’s plagued a bunch of people.

    • Josh

      seriously. had mine a few weeks now and still cant play it

      • JDub519

        They need to hurry up and fix that.

  • Me

    You’re missing the most important part that makes this a real story. The code for all of these graphics were already in the game code, the modder merely unlocked them. Ubisoft deliberately crippled the game’s performance on PC.

    • djnforce9

      I can only think of a THREE reasons to lock out features like that.
      1. To narrow the aesthetics gap between the PC and console versions.
      2. The developers were afraid of Crysis happening all over again where the current hardware (even the highest end) was unable to max the settings out and maintain good performance. I still remember when I had an AMD 2900XT crossfire back in 2007 and Crysis would fall to 24FPS (or less) at times on
      Very High spec even without any Anti Aliasing enabled.
      3. These features introduce bugs into the game which could not be squashed before release. Only thorough testing will determine what these issues are (or if they even exist at all).

  • TaboriHK

    I might care more if the game itself was even slightly interesting or memorable. No amount of polish on a turd will keep it from stinking.

    • Josh

      Is it really that bad? all my friends say its awesome

      • TaboriHK

        3 out of every ten minutes are genuinely fun and interesting. The other seven minutes are frustration, irritation, repetition. The story stinks and was clearly rewritten at least once. It’s mostly a bad GTA clone with a gimmick.

  • jwalka

    link to the mod page please :3

  • Dale White

    Except it’s not a mod at all. It’s literally just screwing around with a bunch of ini files to get working items that were left in the game by developers already. Most players of Fallout 3 on PC have to do the exact same thing to even get the damn thing to work, but that doesn’t constitute a mod.

    A mod is where Aiden would be made to look like Spongebob Squarepants.

    • xylisn

      I think he unpacked some hex-binary files. I may be wrong though

  • Lio

    Restoration is the word for it.

  • zmonkey

    So now it’s pretty disappointing instead of plainly disappointing. 😉