Spoiler alert: this post doesn’t have the answer, but there are some details to make your mind speculate a bit as to what the hell it could be. It turns out that the infamous bullshot-worthy trailer for Watch_Dogs back in E3 2012 has an apparently “unbelievable story” behind it. If you need a refresher, this is the one that got everyone talking:
You might remember this trailer quite well as it and many others like it have been the frequent subject of controversy–from trailers that can’t possibly be real-time even on the most extreme hardware setups, to trailers that ran on a bleeding edge PC but were shown in a context that implied it might’ve been on an actual PlayStation or Xbox.
In Digital Foundry’s latest time-capsule-style retrospective on past press conferences, Rich Leadbetter teases some information about what it took to get that original Watch_Dogs reveal up and running–and it apparently wasn’t a high-end gaming PC:
There’s a story about the original E3 2012 asset that at some point I’m gonna share, but it wasn’t running on PC. That’s all I can say at this moment. […] The story I’ve heard is so unbelievable about how they managed to get it running […] it needs double sourcing [but the] source that I’ve got is…he’s pretty impeccable. But yeah, it would never’ve looked like that. That’s all I’m going to say. [laughs] Hopefully, I’ll be able to [get this] story verified because it is remarkable.”Rich Leadbetter, Digital Foundry
So…if it wasn’t a PC, what on earth could it possibly have been that would make it so “remarkable?” Rumors about PS4 and Xbox One dev kits were floating around in 2012, but those would hardly be worth of any sort of extravagant story.
Perhaps the most logical attempt at speculation would be that it might’ve been some kind of supercomputer made of multiple consoles. We’ve seen this done with both the PS3 and Xbox 360–but that’s nothing more than an uninformed, speculative shot in the dark. It’s anyone’s guess as to what the story Leadbetter is alluding to here really is–if, that is, it can be actually verified. Hopefully we’ll hear more about this soon–until then we’ll just have to be really jealous over what Leadbetter told the DF crew when the camera wasn’t rolling.
Check out Digital Foundry’s feature on the PS4’s reveal here (Leadbetter comments on Watch_Dogs toward the end of the video):