Ubisoft's newest dystopian efforts start strong with allusions to modern-day challenges pertaining to privacy and "cyber warfare," working to build-up our character as a counter-culture hacker. And, as with Ubisoft's other AAA titles, the game builds this world with high-resolution textures, geometrically complex and dense objects, taxing shadow/lighting systems, and an emphasis on graphics quality.

Watch Dogs 2 is a demanding title to run on modern hardware. We spent the first 1-2 hours of our time in Watch Dogs 2 simply studying the impact of various settings on performance, further studying locales and their performance hits. Areas with grass and foliage, we found, most heavily hit framerate. Nightfall or dark rain play a role in FPS hits, too, particularly when running high reflection qualities and headlight shadows.

We look at performance of 11 GPUs in this Watch Dogs 2 video card benchmark, including the RX 480 vs. GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1080, RX 470, R9 Fury X, and more.

Today Ubisoft announced open beta dates for their upcoming MMO shooter Tom Clancy’s The Division. The open beta will take place between February 19th and the 21st on PC and consoles. The open beta beta will feature a new mission in addition to the content from the prior closed beta, and Ubisoft has indicated that those playing the open beta get “a special reward” unlocked in the full game on release. Accompanying this announcement is a trailer teasing some of the new content, seen below.

For a week following the holidays, game news has been non-stop in its roll-out since Christmas day. Valve experienced store downtime on Xmas for a period of about an hour, resultant of an emergency shutoff to protect users from a caching issue that exposed personal information. Valve stated that users have nothing to worry about with regard to credit card information and account data.

That wasn't Santa's only gift to the games industry, though; employees at Red5, developers of Firefall, were reportedly told that payroll would not be issued due to lack of studio finances.

News more specific to games – not just the industry – emerged for The Witcher 3, Escape from Tarkov, and Far Cry Primal. Additional information was revealed about the new Assassin's Creed: The Game: The Movie adaptation. You'll find all that in our news recap video below. Script below that.

MSI is launching its new Z170A Krait Gaming R6 Siege motherboard, heretofore “mouthful,” in collaboration with Ubisoft. The Krait Gaming R6 Siege is essentially a new version of the existing Z170A Krait Edition. The Krait R6 Siege motherboard will come bundled with Ubisoft’s new Tom Clancy game, Rainbow Six Siege (standard edition), a continuation of the tactical squad shooter series. This promotion starts on December 1st and runs through March 1st, 2016.

It's game launch season. This is the busiest time of year for the games industry, and that's apparent to anyone who's followed recent launches – it's been one hit after the next. Black Ops III led into Fallout 4, into Battlefront, into Assassin's Creed Syndicate, and now Blizzard's Overwatch. The intensity of the season makes for plenty of discussion topics in the gaming news space (and for lots of benchmarking), something that GN's newest commentator is eager to discuss.

This week's biggest news items include, perhaps obviously, Assassin's Creed Syndicate & Battlefront launches, the Overwatch beta weekend, and some Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 news. Our loose script / video outline can be found below the news recap!

Assassin's Creed: Unity was the last AC title we benched, and it led us to an exciting discovery: Some games, like AC Unity did, will present a sizable performance disparity between 2GB and 4GB models of the same video card. The Assassin's Creed series has long been heralded as a standard bearer for lighting, shading, and FX technologies, emboldening its geometrically complex environments with supporting filtration and processing. Lighting and shadows propel games like Assassin's Creed to a point in visual fidelity where, without bloating poly-count beyond reason, the models and meshes look smooth and sculpted beyond the geometry's own means, were it unassisted by lighting.

Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Syndicate was made available to us last night, at which point it was immediately used for benchmarking AMD's brand new R9 380X GPU. This graphics card benchmark of Assassin's Creed Syndicate tests the game at Ultra and Medium settings across 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions. All the latest cards are present in our Syndicate GPU benchmark – the GTX 980 Ti, 980, 970, 960 4GB vs. 2GB, 950, and 750 Ti from nVidia; the R9 390X ($240), R9 380X, R9 290X, R9 285, and R9 270X from AMD.

Of most note, AC Syndicate carries Unity's legacy of truly accentuating the 2GB vs. 4GB VRAM gap in the GTX 960 cards, something that should, theoretically, propagate to other multi-size models (like the R9 380, if we had them).

Ubisoft's sales revenue for the first half of 2015 has dropped 60% as compared to the first half of last year. Actual profits have not yet been reported. In its official report, Ubisoft does hasten to add that they still exceeded their sales target, and that the company intends to make the majority of its sales during 2H15 with the release of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Rainbow Six Siege, Just Dance 2016, and Rayman Adventures.

The next Far Cry has been unveiled as "Far Cry Primal," Ubisoft's newest endeavor in a gritty, ongoing series of survival games.

Primal feels, at its surface, almost a little like Turok – just without the dinosaurs and 1997 graphics. The game sees a visit to 10,000 BCE, the Stone Age, and places emphasis on the prevalence of “massive beasts” like mammoths and sabertooth tigers. Given Far Cry's history, it seems like a prime opportunity to revitalize integration with HairWorks or other fur-enabling technologies, though there's presently no confirmation of this. We're hoping to visit graphics tech with Ubisoft in short order.

Today starts off with some exciting news -- especially for some old-school PC gamers: The next installment in the long-running Might & Magic franchise will be entering its second closed beta today. Titled Might & Magic: Heroes VII, the beta is open to all those who have already pre-ordered the game.

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I don't think we've ever tested any AAA games without a follow-up “crash fixes” article. Bugs run rampant – especially for PC users – in most modern triple-A titles, and that remains true for Far Cry 4. After last week's Assassin's Creed benchmark and crash fix posts, we've returned with a Far Cry 4 crash fix guide.

This crash fix guide addresses Far Cry 4 white screens, failure to launch, black screens, CTDs, frame stuttering, & AMD issues.

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