Saying that Ubisoft made a lot of announcements at E3 this week would be an understatement. The company revealed new entries in many of its most popular franchises, introduced a new subscription service called UPlay+ and showed off some new standalone titles. Nvidia wants to draw attention to something Ubisoft didn't emphasize, which is that Watch Dogs: Legion will support real-time ray tracing on RTX graphics cards.
As we covered on Monday, a Watch Dogs: Legion demo Ubisoft showed at E3 was set in London and depicted a member of a revolutionary group, Ian, removing the "non-" from several non-player characters to help him fight government surveillance drones. This mechanic is new to the series, and Ubisoft clearly wanted to focus attention on the ability to recruit and play as various NPCs during its presentation.
Nvidia later announced that its GeForce RTX is "the official graphics platform" for Watch Dogs: Legion. What does that mean? Well, it mostly means the game will support real-time ray tracing, the graphics technology on which Nvidia based much of its RTX platform's appeal. The company also noted that the game will use additional "advanced Nvidia gaming technologies to create stunning visuals."
Game developers regularly partner with graphics companies in a bid to offer better visuals and performance. That doesn't mean a given title requires a certain graphics card--Watch Dogs: Legion will be playable on graphics cards featuring AMD GPUs as well. But the game is supposed to assure players who do rely on a specific company's products that they'll get the best possible experience. (Whether or not that's actually true for most games is another question.)
The announcement has greater significance for Nvidia. So far the company has struggled to convince people that ray tracing support justifies the cost of its RTX lineup. That could be at least partly attributed to a relative dearth of games that support ray tracing, so even though other developers have expressed interest in the technology, it's more important for Nvidia to be able to point at games like Watch Dogs: Legion that will support the feature.
Watch Dogs: Legion is set to debut in 2020 and will be available on PC via the Epic Games Store and Ubisoft Store. The game can be pre-ordered now for those platforms, plus PlayStation 4 and Xbox One via Ubisoft's website. It will also be part of the Google Stadia game streaming service.