Earlier in the week, news hit that a modder had dug through the PC files for Watch Dogs and had found a way to reactivate a number of graphics options that Ubisoft had decided to hide. These graphics options essentially made the game look like it did when Ubisoft first showed it to the world in 2012. The fact that there was a recent online kerfuffle about visual downgrades prior to the game’s May release, only served to exacerbate the general reaction to this modder’s discovery.

Ubisoft has now officially responded to this discovery and has issued a statement on the matter. That statement directly addresses online speculation that Ubisoft purposefully gimped the PC version of the game. No mention, however, is made of the conjecture that Ubisoft did this to appease the console hardware manufacturers Sony and Microsoft.

Full statement after the jump.

The dev team is completely dedicated to getting the most out of each platform, so the notion that we would actively downgrade quality is contrary to everything we’ve set out to achieve. We test and optimize our games for each platform on which they’re released, striving for the best possible quality. The PC version does indeed contain some old, unused render settings that were deactivated for a variety of reasons, including possible impacts on visual fidelity, stability, performance and overall gameplay quality. Modders are usually creative and passionate players, and while we appreciate their enthusiasm, the mod in question (which uses those old settings) subjectively enhances the game’s visual fidelity in certain situations but also can have various negative impacts. Those could range from performance issues, to difficulty in reading the environment in order to appreciate the gameplay, to potentially making the game less enjoyable or even unstable.

Thanks for playing Watch Dogs and stay safe on the mean streets of Chicago.

-The Watch Dogs Team

Read into that what you will. Personally, I feel that using the excuse of performance is a poor one considering PC gamers can optimise their graphics settings to obviate any performance issues anyway; potential performance issues do not explain why the options were removed from the game to begin with. That being said, I do somewhat agree with them when they say that these graphics settings could cause “difficulty in reading the environment” – that depth of field effect is a little overzealous.

Source: Watch Dogs official website