Ever since the beginning of this gen we’ve seen multiple controversies ranging from broken server launches like Master Chief Collection to No Man’s Sky laughable lack of content. And at the tip of that growing shit pie is ‘graphical downgrades’.
Point is developers lie to us. The term snake oil may be overused but in the context of the situation it’s a perfect match. Publishers at the end of the day are in the business to make money and to expand, and the fastest way to convince you their product is gold is by selling it to your eyes first. We like looking at beautiful things, as dumb as it sounds that’s the truth. Companies like Ubisoft are well known for their downgrades with games like Watch_Dogs, The Division, Rainbow Six, and Far Cry 4 to name a few. Lately the biggest controversy to hit us in the graphical downgrade department is EA and BioWare’s Mass Effect Andromeda.
YouTuber YongYea who started his fame around the launch of MGS V has shared his thoughts on what Mass Effect Andromeda could have been. In the video he compares the alpha footage with the final release and the difference is kind of shocking.
What’s odd about this is that the Alpha footage was allegedly from 2014 which was 3 years ago. The downgrade could be for several reasons most notably optimization. It’s no secret that we all thought the PS4 and Xbox One would be power houses only to realize they’re just slightly more advanced than their previous gen counterpart. I mean can you blame us? The majority of tech demos in 2013 showed us amazing high quality textures, animations, physics, and effects only to realize that we will be getting a dumbed down version of those things. The demos themselves do probably exist but only to be simulated on god tier PC rigs.
It’s worth pointing out that most of these trailers are shown during E3 so with that on the horizon it’s always good stay vigilant and aware that we may be seeing something we may never actually play.
But it’s not all grim and bad news. Companies like Naughty Dog were truthful with their Uncharted 4 gameplay live demo, and games like DOOM have vastly improved in the final product when compared to their E3 demos (which is how it should be). And yes, even Ubisoft have been recently honest with their Ghost Recon Wildlands, For Honor, and Steep E3 gameplay demos. Bungie were also honest in letting us know that Destiny 2 will not run at 60 FPS on consoles due to CPU limitations (although that by itself feels like a bit of a stretch).
So are we seeing an improvement? Definitely. Will we stop seeing BS gameplay footage? Probably not. But the important thing is consumers are noticing and that’s the important part.