Ubisoft told us they were giving us a glimpse of the future before showing off Watch Dogs at E3. That future? Almost definitely the company's first showing of its next-gen technology. It was subsequently confirmed by Ubi's president Yves Guillemot in an interview with GTTV that the game will be coming to "PS3, 360, PC and... we'll see". Followed by a knowing smile:
Above: Yves Guillemot with the most thinly-veiled confirmation a game is coming to next-gen we've ever seen
Certainly there's no chance the demo Ubi showed would be possible on current-gen consoles, which can only mean one thing - it's actually a first glimpse at the next generation of console gaming. Have a look at the Watch Dogs demo below and then scroll down for our robot-eyed analysis:
The cloth physics
Never mind that Batman's cape is all lovely and flowing in Arkham City. Can he put his hands in his pockets? No. Aidan Pierce can. And there's no ugly clipping through his arms or anything like that. In fact, only once in the whole demo did we notice an object pass through another, and that was the glass in the car window as the target gets pulled out through it.
Above: "Cos I've got one hand in my pocket and the other one is... in my other pocket"
Then there's the quality of different fabrics. It's not so much in that it looks like silk, but that it behaves like silk. It clings. It even self-shadows. It's incredible. It's unlikely to appear as an incidental detail on current-gen.
Above: "That's nice! That's really nice!" we said, pointing to the lady's behind. We meant the silk effect, obviously. Her bum's horrible
Above: Look at the softness of that grey suit jacket. You can imagine how cool the lining would feel if you picked it off a hanger
Better facial expressions than Quantic Dream's latest
Who needs Ellen Page when you've got Aidan Pierce here? He's got cheeks that appear to move independently to the skeleton underneath - and with immense subtlety. It's a breakthrough moment, and (apparently) all being done in real-time.
Above: Look at the shadows on his cheeks? And they move like real cheeks do! Incredible. Ubi has somehow managed to render real-life 'affable'
There's no repeated anything
The biggest giveaway that this is not current-gen tech is in the variety of the graphics. Look at all the uniquely-dressed people! And then there's the quality of the textures, from the marble in the walls of the club through to the quality of the street itself.
Above: So many uniquely-rendered people, occupying diverse and far-reaching environments
And then there's the fact that every NPC is acting differently. One guy in the street even hands a flyer to a girl walking the other way. And when the traffic lights crash occurs, a guy who had been minding his own business quickly rushes to help a woman driver from her car. There's just so much going on - and it gets even better on the next page.