Assassin’s Creed Unity Runs at 900p and 30 FPS on Both Consoles
There have been a lot of complaints about the graphical fidelity and the smoothness of video of games on next-gen consoles. However, Ubisoft’s treatment of Assassin’s Creed Unity isn’t just upsetting one console’s user base but the whole of gaming.
In an interview with VideoGamer, AC Unity senior producer Vincent Pontbriand said that the resolution of ACU would be set at 900p and framerate locked to 30 FPS on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The reasoning behind that is so baffling that everyone has turned against Ubisoft.
In his interview, Pontbriand said, “We decided to lock them at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff.” In a great bit of irony, all he and Ubisoft did was create an even bigger debate over the forced parity between the Xbox One and PlayStation Four versions of the game.
However, Pontbriand says that it comes down to the CPU for each console limiting the framerate and resolution. He told VideoGamer:
“It’s the CPU [that] has to process the AI, the number of NPCs we have on screen, all these systems running in parallel. We were quickly bottlenecked by that and it was a bit frustrating, because we thought that this was going to be a tenfold improvement over everything AI-wise, and we realised it was going to be pretty hard. It’s not the number of polygons that affect the framerate. We could be running at 100fps if it was just graphics, but because of AI, we’re still limited to 30 frames per second.”
I’m not a programmer so I don’t have any educated commentary on the matter but running AI through the CPU and graphics through the GPU is how I always thought it worked. As such, limiting the number of AI characters because of the CPU makes sense and capping everything to the lowest common denominator wouldn’t be too heartbreaking since (on paper) the CPU has the smallest performance gap of the console components.
However, the parity in resolution and framerate is contrary to everything we’ve seen from multi-platform games. Over the first year of the current console generation, we’ve seen a clear performance advantage to the PS4. While the Xbox One did get a performance update during the summer, I don’t recall reading that it was big enough to bring the performance to parity. With that history, it’s hard to buy what Ubisoft is selling.
It didn’t take long for an Ubi spokesperson to backtrack so hard that the whole company may have pulled a hamstring. A spokesperson was quoted as saying “Final specs for Assassin’s Creed Unity aren’t cemented yet… The development team has been hard at work delivering the best Assassin’s Creed possible on next generation consoles.”
Basically, Ubisoft is trying to say that while the game is guaranteed to run at 900p and 30 FPS at a minimum but it might run better. With about six weeks until release, it’s entirely possible that a patch could improve resolution, framerate or some part of the graphics package. Last year’s release of AC4 on PS4 was given a patch to increase resolution to 1080p so it’s entirely possible that resolution or some other improvement could be introduced in a patch this year.
And if you’re a member of the PC Gaming Master Race, don’t think that picking up the game on Steam or Uplay will make it all better. After all, Ubisoft has a pretty poor track record of making optimized PC ports.