Far Cry 6 graphics get lambasted as users ignore compression

After an untimely leak, Ubisoft finally unveiled some Far Cry 6 gameplay. It had musical disc launchers, a wiener dog in a wheelchair, explosions, and other Far Cry-esque elements in its fictional setting. And while some users seemed to be pleased with the reveal, others were not and ridiculed the game for its “bad graphics.” However, that likely wasn’t Ubisoft’s fault.

The Far Cry 6 “bad graphics” situation

Far Cry 6 graphics get lambasted as users ignore compression

Many in the live chat were berating the Far Cry 6’s visuals, likening it a Telltale title, saying “downgrade 2021,” or equating it to a game from 2014. The above screen shot is just from one small instance in the chat, which was sandwiched between users sliding in Breaking Bad references and negatively overreacting to the female protagonist (despite it letting players choose their gender). Some other viewers in the reactionary Reddit thread were doing the same. The “downgrade” accusations are particularly questionable since this is the first time the game has been shown.

However, this likely isn’t Ubisoft’s fault as this seems more of a victim to the way in which it was presented. For starters, the stream maxed out at 1080p, which is not indicative of what it can probably run at on current hardware. Immortals Fenyx Rising, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs Legion, and Rainbow 6 Siege all have potential to run at 4K on newer consoles and PCs so Far Cry 6 probably will, too. Ubisoft even uploaded a 4K version of the stream after the live rollout.

And like those other Ubisoft games, Far Cry 6 is also coming out on the PS4 and Xbox One. This means that it can’t completely push forward into the current generation as it also has older systems to worry about.

But the compression is likely the biggest culprit. YouTube compresses videos as they get uploaded or streamed, as shown by YouTuber Marques Brownlee. This means that the way the game looks playing locally is going to look significantly better than any video of it on YouTube if both are played at the same settings. It’s just the nature of the beast and probably shouldn’t need to be pointed out in 2021.

Players are quick to criticize visuals and accuse companies of “downgrading” their games. There have been some examples of this even from Ubisoft as players probably haven’t forgotten about Watch Dogs’ E3 2012 reveal. It wasn’t quite in line with what eventually came out, but it was nowhere near a bad-looking game. These less extreme examples get mixed with egregious ones like the Aliens: Colonial Marines gameplay trailer, which was significantly different from the product that shipped. Games have to adapt during development so small changes should be expected, but YouTube’s compression algorithm is no game’s fault.