Assassin’s Creed Unity Hits 900p/30FPS On PS4, Xbox One


In a move that is supposed to curb debate (although it will ultimately set off an even worse debate in the same vein), Ubisoft has revealed that Assassin’s Creed Unity will operate at a 900p resolution and 30 frames per second output on both the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game. As told to VideoGamer, the decision to do so was to “aim for platform parity to avoid discussion over the difference in performance.”

Senior Producer Vincent Pontgriand, to wit:

"We decided to lock them at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff. Technically we’re CPU-bound. The GPUs are really powerful, obviously the graphics look pretty good, but 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 could be running at 100fps if it was just the graphics, but because of the AI, we’re still limited to 30 frames per second."

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The most troubling thing about this revelation is that we now have evidence that developers and publishers are willing to reach parity for the Xbox One’s hardware limitations over developing a stronger version of a game on the PS4. This kind of thing was not commonplace for the PS3/Xbox 360 generation, where the PS3 was harder to develop for due to the Cell microprocessors. Sony had to suck it up and come to the realization that developers who had to create games for their titles were going to provide a possibly worse version of a game on the PS3. Look no further to Bayonetta on PS3 running, at times, half the framerate of the Xbox 360 version.

The PS4 is a console with better hardware specifications than the Xbox One, while both use an x86 architecture. It’s Ubisoft that is developing Assassin’s Creed Unity here; they’ve had ample time developing and publishing for both consoles. The Xbox 360 and PS3 aren’t even receiving their own editions of this game! To hear that they’re developing at 900p/30fps on both the Xbox One and PS4, to me, can mean one of several things:

  1. Ubisoft Montreal, who developed Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Watch Dogs on both the PS4 and Xbox One (with the PS4 having a better resolution for both titles on Day 1), for some reason, cannot do better for the PS4 on this game.
  2. The PS4 version can reach a better graphical output, but Ubisoft are keeping it at parity to av0id a graphics debate on their own terms.
  3. The PS4 version can reach a better graphical output, but Ubisoft are keeping it at parity at the request of Microsoft/a third party.
  4. The PS4 version can reach a better graphical output, but Ubisoft are keeping it at parity until they can confirm a Day 1 patch for the PS4 version to look better (which they have done before).
  5. Ubisoft developers don’t want to put in the effort to develop multiple versions of the game’s outputs (except for the PC version) for whatever reason.
  6. Other (write your theory in the comments below)

Regardless of an understated reason, by forcing parity for both the Xbox One and PS4 versions of Assassin’s Creed Unity “to avoid all the debates and stuff,” Ubisoft is effectively stirring the debate pot themselves. Hopefully we can hear a better-explained reason from someone higher up soon, as only one of my five theories above can get the company out of the corner Ubisoft painted themselves in postively.

Assassin’s Creed Unity will be released on November 11th for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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