Ubisoft Explains Why It Created A New Engine For Watch_Dogs Instead Of Licensing One

Watch Dogs

Well our dear readers, we’ve got some good and some bad news for you today. The good news is that Ubisoft has answered some of our questions about Watch Dogs – a game that most of you are looking forward to. The bad news is that our PC-centric questions remained unanswered. According to the French company, a Q&A that is dedicated to the PC version will go live shortly and will shed some light on the version we’ll be getting.

But anyway, that’s not what this article is about so let’s move forward. Like most of you, we’ve been wondering why the development team decided to create a new engine specifically for Watch Dogs instead of licensing one from Crytek or Epic Games. And thankfully,¬†Dominic Guay, Senior Producer on Watch Dogs, was able to enlighten us.

As Dominic said:

“We built the Disrupt Engine alongside the project, since the beginning. We knew what we wanted to achieve required us to build new tech. This was caused by the density of a modern day city, the staggering amount of details, the ability to cross this world at speeds of 150 miles an hour while preserving all the details, our intention to push the player immersion and the high fidelity of the world. But beyond that, we wanted to have a dynamic game world that reacted to the players actions. Our game direction did not allow for a static world that only played carefully pre-designed scenarios. In WATCH_DOGS, players have the freedom to choose their own plan using a large array of approaches and the game needs to respond to them. This required us to increase the interactivity of our game engine affecting all areas: physics, graphics, animation, AI…”

Now that sounds great, especially if Watch_Dogs stays true to those dynamic claims. But what about the other engines like CRYENGINE and Unreal Engine 4? According to Dominic, there are no solutions that match Ubisoft’s criteria for Watch Dogs, as those engines¬†are very much driven toward serialized content.

“Now, on the subject of third party technologies, there are no solutions that we know of that matches those criteria available. The engines you refer to are very much driven toward serialized content that you generally traverse through “levels”, not a fully open world game without choke points and loadings. They also manage online in a traditional manner, having you go through lobbies and menus, separating multiplayer and single player. There is also a considerable strength in having full ownership on one technology. It empowers the developers and favours innovation in every areas. It guarantees that no area of the technology is a black box, that the team can adapt and extend the game’s engine to answer all of its needs.”

Stay tuned for our full interview with Ubisoft about Watch_Dogs in which we discuss about the Disrupt engine, its multi-core support, whether it will support mods or not, and its physics engine!

John Papadopoulos

John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities. Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved - and still does - the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the "The Evolution of PC graphics cards." Contact: Email