A modder claims to have discovered almost all of the original "shaders and improvements" used in the original Watch Dogs 2012 and 2013 E3 trailer packed away in the game's files. Not one to sit back and stir up a controversy, the modder is proactively taking the code he has discovered and is reintroducing it into the game via modifications. While as yet incomplete, the mod currently enables the bloom of 2012's E3 trailer, headlight shadows, and adds high-quality rain drops and rain density.
Here's a full list of modifications added with his "TheWorseMod" as of version 0.6. He notes that performance on this version is "not the best":
- 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)
- Lighting changes(TESTING AND WIP)
- Civilians density changes
The question now becomes why Ubisoft saw fit to remove these features in the first place considering they had the code already within the game at one point. The obvious and most likely explanation is that they didn't want to be forced into supporting the extreme graphics options. The less reasonable and also just as likely option is that they wanted the PC version of the game to have visual parity with its console counterparts. I don't believe I'm comfortable with either of those options.
Developer downgrades of PC versions of video games are becoming a growing trend, but no game in recent memory has so blatantly hurt their PC build as badly as Ubisoft with Watch Dogs. Considering that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are both significantly less powerful than modern gaming PCs, yet publishers still want to lead on console, this trend is likely to become only more prominent.
Watch Dogs is currently available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Download the PC modification at the following third-party source. Note game modifications are not supported by the developer and may have unexpected ramifications on the overall experience.