Ubisoft Issues Laughable Response on Assassin’s Creed Unity’s Resolution

Assassin's Creed Unity

Ubisoft, you should have just stayed quite. Stop saying things unless you’re going to be honest.

Sr. Communications Manager Gary Steinman took to the Ubisoft blog today to try and address the recent controversy regarding Assassin’s Creed Unity, its resolution, and parity concerns. You can read the whole thing here.

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.

Let’s be clear up front: All other things identical, there’s no way the PS4 version should be 900p if the Xbox One version is 900p. That it is shows that they aren’t taking full advantage of the more powerful system, which would mean they are intentionally diminishing a version. The supposed CPU bottleneck can explain the 30fps, but not the 900p resolution for both systems. The PS4 has a more powerful GPU. Also, as for constraining games, Watch Dogs PC says hi.

Which, of course, brings us to Assassin’s Creed Unity. The game has been in the media lately, and not just for a recent round of hands-on previews and features. One outlet ran a story using some quotes from Senior Producer Vincent Pontbriand to suggest we lowered the resolution on the PlayStation 4.

“Absolutely not,” Pontbriand says. “We’ve spent four years building the best game we could imagine. Why would we ever do anything to hold it back?” Pontbriand goes on to say that he understands why someone might think that’s the case based on a recent interview, adding “I simply chose the wrong words when talking about the game’s resolution, and for that I’m sorry.”

It’s kind of hard to believe that bolded part; one doesn’t simply misspeak to that degree.

“We decided to lock them at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff.”

That’s pretty clear. That’s not using the wrong words, that’s telling a half truth when you weren’t suppose to.

Which, of course, had some gamers wondering: If this is a truly new-gen game, why not deliver it in full 1080p on both consoles?

Few gamers were wondering that. After all 900p or below is fairly common for multiplatform games on Xbox One. The more pressing concern is why is not 1080p on PS4, the more powerful system with only a few games below 1080p? There’s only one other game on PS4 that is 900p that is also 900p on Xbox One, and that’s EA Sports UFC. Here’s a list of multiplatform titles and how they break down resolution wise:

GAME PS4 XBOX ONE
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag 1080p (patch) 900p
Battlefield 4 900p 720p
Call of Duty: Ghosts 1080p 900p
The Golf Club 1080p 720p
Lords of the Fallen 1080p 900p
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes 1080p 720p
Metro Redux 1080p 912p
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor 1080p 900p
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 1080p 900p
Thief 1080p 900p
Trials Fusion 1080p 900p
Watch Dogs 900p  792p

 The answer is both simple and complex. Assassin’s Creed Unity is pushing the new-gen systems more than any other Ubisoft game has ever done. A quick look at the visuals – the city itself, the crowds, Arno in motion – will show how beautiful and how “next-gen” the game truly is.

And yet, if the two are identical, you clearly aren’t pushing the PS4 far enough. There’s a reason why, in every example above, that the PS4 version has the higher resolution… because it is the more powerful system, with a much better GPU.

The more complex answer? A game’s final resolution isn’t set until late in the development cycle. This is notable because the team has dedicated much of the past few months to optimizing Unity to reach 900p with a consistent 30 frames per second. Considering the sheer number of pixels that are being moved around at all times – which affects both the CPU and GPU – that’s a significant achievement, especially as Assassin’s Creed Unity will release when the new-gen consoles are barely more than a year old. (As with all hardware, it becomes easier to optimize with more experience and software/middleware solutions that only come with time.)

To be a “complex answer,” this says absolutely nothing. Great, you have it running at 900p and a solid 30fps on Xbox One… why is the PS4 version also 900p?

As of now, Assassin’s Creed Unity is locked at 900p. But why “stop” there? “We know a lot of gamers consider 1080p with 60 frames per second to be the gold standard, especially on the new generation of consoles,” Pontbriand says. “We realize we had also pushed for 1080p in some of our previous games, including AC4. But we made the right decision to focus our resources on delivering the best gameplay experience, and resolution is just one factor. There is a real cost to all those NPCs, to all the details in the city, to all the systems working together, and to the seamless co-op gameplay. We wanted to be absolutely uncompromising when it comes to the overall gameplay experience. Those additional pixels could only come at a cost to the gameplay.”

Complete and utter nonsense. Ubisoft must think we’re all stupid. PC gamers expect more options (much higher framerates, games that look better than consoles even if the modders have to do the work) because the PC’s can be much more powerful. At the same time, the simple fact is that the PS4 IS more powerful than Xbox One. An identical version shouldn’t happen unless they’re deliberately holding back the PS4 version, which Pontbriand’s original statement said clearly.

Ubisoft, if you want to continue talking about it, just come out and admit that Microsoft paid for parity. If that’s not the case, then address the reason why the two versions are apparently going to be identical even though one system is more powerful than the other. Because they shouldn’t be.

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Regardless of whatever CPU bottleneck you have, if you can get the Xbox One version running at 900p then there is no reason why the PS4 version shouldn’t be running at 1080p. The only thing that makes sense is that Microsoft gave you money so that there would be parity.

You wasted your time writing up a response that doesn’t actually say anything or answer any questions.

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Yeah, Retweet it Phil. Money not well spent. Parity or not, marketing deal or not, it’s still going to sell more on PS4.

Between this “response” and the earlier quotes trying to tell gamers that 30fps feels better and is more “realistic,” it’s clear that Ubisoft thinks their potential consumers are complete idiots.