Hitting the ground in less than a week’s time is Ubisoft’s much-anticipated Watch Dogs, an open-world game that combines elements of Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell and hacking and a lot of attention to detail into a single-player experience that only gets more interesting when you play while connected to the internet. Its probably the most ambitious project that Ubisoft has taken on for a long time and it’s a game so important to the company that they delayed it to make sure everything was polished and working.
Recently though, the game has come under fire from gamers and other online publications for some apparently insane minimum requirements to play it and it seems like Ubisoft is eager to clear the air properly to prepare people for possible disappointment should their hardware not be up to scratch.
In the last week Jonathan Morin, Ubisoft’s creative director of Watch Dogs, took to Twitter to answer fan’s questions about the hardware requirements. Call of Duty: Ghosts launched in late 2013 with similarly high requirements (such as a minimum of 6GB of RAM) although it was revealed, once the game was officially released, that it didn’t really need more than 4GB. Activision later patched the game to run on systems that had 4GB of RAM, because if you didn’t have 6GB or more system RAM the game simply wouldn’t start up.
Many of the questions have been aimed specifically at the RAM and CPU requirements, which will hamper a lot of rigs that may not be up to scratch for the game. Morin dealt with these and other questions about the gameplay, but noted that he wasn’t a hardware nut himself, relying on answers from his hardware teams.
When asked about how the game would run on a lower-end, dual-core system at 720p;
— Jonathan Morin (@Design_Cave) May 19, 2014
When asked about what GPU would be suitable to run the game at Ultra settings, Morin revealed that Nvidia’s hardware is strewn throughout the development team. This makes sense, considering that it is part of Nvidia’s The Way Its Meant To Be Played (TWIMTBP) campaign and will be bundled with select Geforce graphics cards on launch.
@RaR_XPyr0X 90% of the dev team runs on Nvidia Geforce 670, that will run Ultra if you have the CPU to match.
— Jonathan Morin (@Design_Cave) May 19, 2014
Answering another question from the same fan later on, Morin noted that processors scoring between 9000 and 10,000 points on PassMark, which means that the game ostensibly needs a Intel Core i7 2600 or better to run it at full tilt. PassMark does favour Intel processors as a result of their testing methodology, so ideally any six-to-eight-core processor should be enough to run all the threads that this game needs.
On the memory front, Morin notes that the game can run if there’s only 4GB of RAM in the system, but cautions that there might not be enough left when the operating system takes the chunk is needs for all the processes and background programs that it needs to run.
@Rock_The_World6 4GB is lower then min specs. It might run if nothing else is running, but when it swap to your hard drive it will lag.
— Jonathan Morin (@Design_Cave) May 21, 2014
I think that it’s pretty likely that the game uses around 3-4GB of memory depending on the settings and a lot of this will be texture related. Instead of streaming textures and required objects from the hard drive or SSD all the time, the game may be employing system memory to load it up in its entirety in a compressed format. There are a lot of games that have done this in the past, but we’ve never had anything on the scale that Watch Dogs promises.
Before he stopped replying to all the questions, Morin assured console buyers (PS4 and Xbox One) that the game would look equivalent to the PC version running at high settings.
— Jonathan Morin (@Design_Cave) May 22, 2014
I personally don’t find this difficult to believe considering that minimum specifications for running the game requires a Core 2 Quad processor and a Geforce GTX460, but I do question what kind of framerate we’ll be looking at here. There’s nothing to suggest that the game is framerate locked in the same manner as Need for Speed: Rivals, but there is every chance that this is what could be happening when your hardware isn’t above a certain level to disable V-Sync.
On the other hand, I also worry about what kind of hardware would be required to run the game in multi-monitor setups or even on a 144Hz monitor. What mammoth hardware configurations will be needed to achieve that? We’ll find out next week Tuesday. Don’t forget to read NAG’s review of Watch Dogs, whenever that’ll be coming out!