I guess this is what the games industry would refer to as a PR disaster. Assassin’s Creed Unity has been all over the news lately, and not because of previews and trailers. The game has become the subject of Internet scorn and ire because of its resolution, framerate and the words on one developer. The game will run at 30fps in 900p on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Here’s the quick and dirty version of the story. VideoGamer asked Assassin’s Creed Unity producer Vincent Pontbriand about the resolution and framerate of the game on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. His answer: “We decided to lock them at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff…”
Just so we’re clear here, the resolutions and framerates of new generation games have been in focus pretty much since the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One launched. Gamers have clung to these numbers as, rightly or wrongly, an indication of performance and game quality. I’m not here to argue that they should or shouldn’t be doing this, I’m just saying that resolutions and framerates are being used as metrics when it comes to gaming platform preference.
Pontbriand’s line about forcing console parity to “avoid all the debates and stuff” has been denied by Ubisoft. In spite of that denial, the news spread like wildfire. It’s gotten so bad that Ubisoft has had to produce a long piece on its blog, a site normally used to push pre-order incentives, just to attempt to calm the storm. Judging by the comment section of the post, it’s not working.
Let’s be clear up front: Ubisoft does not constrain its games. We would not limit a game’s resolution. And we would never do anything to intentionally diminish anything we’ve produced or developed.
That’s how the blog post starts. It’s then a series of denials, whether true or false, regarding pushing the PlayStation 4 version down to be on par with the Xbox One’s, followed by some real talk about how raising the resolution and framerate limits what they can do with in-game AI.
That last bit I completely buy, by the way. It takes power to push full cities of AI, regardless of framerate and resolution. Ubisoft had to make a decision here, and lowering those metrics for overall game performance sounds like the right one.
Here’s what I do know: someone is wrong. Point-blank, either VideoGamer is wrong about its quote, or Ubisoft is wrong about their decision to force console parity. Either way, it’s not good.