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Here's Watch Dogs running on an Ultra spec PC - and the hardware you'll need to do the same

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Here's Watch Dogs running on an Ultra spec PC - and the hardware you'll need to do the same

Watch Dogs’ most recent trailer was recorded on a rig rocking an Intel Core i7-3930K and a GeForce Titan. It could hardly be more unattainable if the GPU was cooled using a steady supply of dragon’s blood, or if its disc drive read DVDs via a diamond needle.

You needn’t own the most powerful graphics card in existence to run Watch Dogs on ‘Ultra’, though - merely something in that ballpark.

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The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot tackles player loneliness with pets in new update

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The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot tackles player loneliness with pets in new update

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is a game with an ingenious high concept - Diablo vs Dungeon Keeper - that we really would have preferred to like. But in practice, it felt a little like returning home to find you’d been burgled. Every day.

What does work in Mighty Quest is the nitty gritty hacky slashy part - so it’s odd to see Ubisoft Montreal fiddling with that side of things, rather than work on rebalancing the business of castle building. Pets will accompany players on their grand home invasions, providing company and picking up gold and life force.

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Watch Dogs PC system specs demand hefty processors

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Watch Dogs PC system specs demand hefty processors

For a brief moment Watch Dogs was available to pre-order from Steam. The page has been pulled, but whilst it was available the minimum and recommended specs for the game were plain for all to see. 

Despite the upset over the apparent visual downgrade since the game’s original E3 reveal in 2012, to get the most out of Watch Dogs you’ll still be needing a relatively beefy PC. 

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Watch this: Watch Dogs' wind, water and lighting effects on a high-end EDIT: PS4, sigh. But still pretty.

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Watch this: Watch Dogs' wind, water and lighting effects on a high-end EDIT: PS4, sigh. But still pretty.

EDIT: The video's in-game text tells a lie, say PC Games Hardware. It's playing on a PS4. Sorry. Who knew those things could look good too?

EDIT-EDIT: And now YouTube inform us that Ubisoft themselves have asked for the video to be pulled down, "on copyright grounds". Hopefully it'll pop up somewhere else soon, correctly-labelled. We quite liked it.

Want to see what Watch Dogs looks like on PC? You probably already have - there wasn’t anybody foolish enough at E3 last year to demo their new games on anything else. But how about a detailed breakdown of some of the lovely effects that keep future Chicago ticking along?

The video’s all a bit In German - but mostly written in universal languages like wind-rustled trees, rain-slick pavements, and the reflections of 30-storey offices in the fountains of central Chicago. It’s a tech demo, but a mood piece too.

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The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot review

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The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot review

Every day I log into The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, I’m stepping over broken glass to reach my own front door.

I’m logging in to improve on my dungeon, but before I start, I suffer a report of the night’s losses: how many players raided my home, how many gems were taken from my vaults, how much gold from my coffers, and how badly the reputation of my castle suffered in the process.

Usually you’ll have had one or two visitors - but if you leave it a couple of days, you might find your fortress has been raided six or seven times. Enough to necessitate subdivision into current and older attacks.

Mighty Quest’s world is always-online, interconnected - but you’ll never bump into a castle’s owner prowling its halls, nor walk in on a raider filling their pockets with your gold. In fact you’ll never see anyone except on CCTV - replay images of an attacker long gone, probably tucked up in bed in another timezone. Surrounded by security measures and minions, you’re profoundly alone.

It’s not a feeling I’ve had before in an RPG - but it’s not an especially good one either. What’s the point of having your own castle if it makes you feel like crap?

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That's more like it: Watch Dogs trailer showcases Ubisoft Montreal's "hyper-connected playground"

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That's more like it: Watch Dogs trailer showcases Ubisoft Montreal's "hyper-connected playground"

The new Watch Dogs trailer ends, like the last, with explosions. Sorry. But it begins better, with shaky-cam shots of Chicago’s denizens - every one of which, we’re told, has a “unique identity and reacts intelligently to the world around them".

Where last month’s worrying Watch Dogs leak was a montage of revenge motives and muddled accents, today’s is precisely what it needs to be: a sell for the city.

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Chicago on forever: "doing everything" in Watch Dogs will take close to 100 hours

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Chicago on forever: "doing everything" in Watch Dogs will take close to 100 hours

A couple of weeks ago, Ubisoft sent me an email reminding me to complete Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Over tens of hours, I’ve filled the oceans with enough driftwood to sink the whole West Indies beneath the waves. I've watched Blackbeard’s facial fuzz grow from bumfluff into that famous chin-tree. But that’s left me just 39% of the way through, according to Abstergo’s metrics.

Expect a similar relationship with Watch Dogs - which has story missions enough to last you 35 to 40 hours, and enough everything else to last you 100.

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Chi-town tech: minimum PC specs for Watch Dogs revealed

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Chi-town tech: minimum PC specs for Watch Dogs revealed

It seemed a tad presumptuous to start talking specs for Watch Dogs while it kept disappearing over the horizon, first from Winter to Spring, and then from Spring to Summer. We're finally gaining on it, though, and short of suddenly raised bollards or a power surge that renders the surrounding blocks pitch black, will have caught up by May 27.

Now, finally, the Watch Dogs dev team have begun talking system requirements.

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No more console-ation prize: Ubisoft to release Watch Dogs simultaneously on PCs, Xboxes and PlayStations

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No more console-ation prize: Ubisoft to release Watch Dogs simultaneously on PCs, Xboxes and PlayStations

We’ve become accustomed to getting our open-world Ubisoft games a month later than our mates on the consoles. By that time, they’ve long since captured all their territories, talked things out with Vaas, and worn out the knees of their white robes on treetrunks. We’ve lived with it - but it hasn’t exactly engendered the sort of shared pop cultural zen moments Ubisoft would presumably like us to be having.

Maybe that’s all about to change? Ubisoft’s schedule for 2014 would seem to confirm as much. Watch Dogs is set for a May 27 release on Xboxes, PlayStations, and PCs.

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The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot opens its portcullis for free Steam beta

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The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot opens its portcullis for free Steam beta

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is an action-RPG-cum-dungeon-keeper hybrid. It's of interest not only because Dungeon Keeper proper has lately been malformed beyond recognition, but also because it’s the first ever RPG to emerge from Ubisoft Montreal's former textiles mill - birthplace of Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Watch Dogs, and a dozen other sneaky action games that’ll make you go “Oh yeah!".

Until now, access has been restricted to players willing to stump up for Steam Early Access, which seemed a bit off in a game destined to be free-to-play. But that was then, when Opulencia hadn’t opened its doors for open beta.

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Splintered, not stirred: Splinter Cell was originally pitched as a James Bond game

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Splintered, not stirred: Splinter Cell was originally pitched as a James Bond game

Splinter Cell has gone through a lot of changes since the first game in 2002, but none as significant as the changes that took place before it became the franchise we know. Yannis Mallat, CEO at Ubisoft Montreal spills the beans to IGN.

It was originally conceived as a retro-sci-fi shooter called The Drift, but it lacked soul even though it had some of the mechanics - like different vision modes and modular guns - that would make its way into Splinter Cell. Development struggled thanks to an inexperienced team with big ambitions and the project was close to being shelved. 

Then it was pitched as a James Bond game in a desperate attempt to rescue it. 

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Assassin's Creed IV owes more to "comments about Far Cry 3" than Assassin's Creed III

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Assassin's Creed IV owes more to "comments about Far Cry 3" than Assassin's Creed III

As every employee at Abstergo Entertainment knows, you can tell great stories if only you’re willing to fudge history a little. It would be easy to weave a narrative in which Assassin’s Creed 3 saw Ubisoft Montreal recognise their own hubris, and Black Flag display their newfound humility - but the truth is that the two projects were in the works simultaneously.

In fact, Black Flag learned its strongest lessons from its more lately successful sister series - Far Cry.

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Best PC games of 2013 - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

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Best PC games of 2013 - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

I’ve always liked the message that looms up beyond the splash screens every time you start an Assassin’s Creed game. “This work of fiction," it disclaims, “was designed, developed and produced by a multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs".

It’s a warning born out of fear of lawsuits; a ritual scrubbing of hands designed to curb any unnecessary excitement. But it has the opposite effect. Like an ‘18’ rating to a new teen, it promises boundaries crossed and statuses un-quoed - “Here be creative risks and bold experiments in game design," it says.

Maybe the series lost that excitement somewhere in Italy, but it clings to Black Flag like crustaceans to the Jackdaw. That sense, of creative cowardice turned to daring, high concept ends, runs through it like Ezio through Florence.

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag DLC makes Blackbeard playable in multiplayer

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag DLC makes Blackbeard playable in multiplayer

One of the aims of the top design team at Ubisoft Montreal responsible for Black Flag was to explore the man behind the beard: Ed Thatch, the “really smart guy" who called himself Blackbeard and never once said ‘arrr’, except possibly in pain. In single player, he’s part of Edward Kenway’s extended entourage - an occasional mentor in piracy found lazing about the shore of Nassau.

In multiplayer, that’s all forgotten. Want to ‘arrr’? That’s your prerogative. Buckles to swash? Please, be our guests. Tonight, you’re Blackbeard.

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Child of Light in motion: how Ubisoft’s "playable poem" plays

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Child of Light in motion: how Ubisoft’s "playable poem" plays

When Ubisoft Montreal said Child of Light was to be a “playable poem", it wasn't clear they meant the entire thing would be in verse. Rather than take advantage of the studio’s experience with voice actors, the game’s dialogue with be text only - read line-by-line according the player’s own meter.

That’s pretty cool. But it’s not the coolest thing on show in this AAA art game.

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What the last Driver game can teach us about the next-generation of driving games

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What the last Driver game can teach us about the next-generation of driving games

When Ubisoft Reflections finished up on the last Driver game, their owners did a very clever thing: they made them de-facto driving consultants on their roster of new console launch titles. So while the badge on Watch Dogs’ bonnet might feature Ubisoft Montreal, and the hub caps on The Crew will be branded Ivory Tower, it’s Newcastle’s Reflections who’ll provide the crankshafts, shankcrafts, and other essential metaphorical doohickies in both games.

That why if you want to know what sitting on top of a cantering horse made of steel, plastic and tiny explosions will be like in the games of the future, you could do worse than take a look at 2011’s Driver: San Francisco. Here are a few of the common features that’ll likely help define driving in the new generation.

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Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag trailer makes the case for its boozy new protagonist

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Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag trailer makes the case for its boozy new protagonist

Forget the business with sleeve-knives-as-heritage and apples and whatnot - I’m more interested in the apparently recessive Kenway fun gene. Altair didn’t show any signs of it, while Ezio appeared to be entirely composed of it. In Haytham, it manifested as an ability to blend nobility with roguish charm - but seemed to bypass his son, Ratonhnhaké:ton. In Desmond, the gene must have mutated into a proclivity to irritate everyone around him.

But Edward? Piratey, drinky Edward. He’s got the fun gene, alright.

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Watch Dogs PC system requirements detailed, to the horror of 32 bit OS users. UPDATE: "These are not official configs"

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Watch Dogs PC system requirements detailed, to the horror of 32 bit OS users. UPDATE: "These are not official configs"

Update: Watch Dogs graphics technical director Sebastien Viard, who should know, has said that "the real specs [will be] out soon and will be lower than [these] ones". No specific word on the 64 bit thing, mind.

Watch Dogs is going to upset people a bit: it might be the first PC game to absolutely require a 64 bit operating system to run. If it’s not, I’m absolutely sure you’ll tell us in the comments. Ubi’s showcase next-gen hacking affair has had its system specs outed by Neogaffers, who spotted them during a brief spell of absent-mindedness from Uplay.

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