It wasn’t too long ago that there was a piece here at One Angry Gamer about certain games becoming part of a trend to maintain spec parity. The article covered whether or not AAA titles being held back or downgraded for the sake of maintaining parity would become a regular exercise from studios trying to keep the manufacturers happy. Well, it looks like Ubisoft is hopping onto the parity-trend train, as Assassin’s Creed Unity will be forced at 900p and 30fps on both the Xbox One and PS4.
Speaking with VideoGamer.com, Assassin’s Creed Unity‘s senior producer Vincent Pontbriand stated that…
“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.”
That’s one of the most ridiculous things anyone can say for the sake sticking to what amounts to a PR decision. Videogamer also points out that Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was also 900p at 30fps on both the Xbox One and PS4, but Ubisoft steathily released a patch for PS4 owners to boost up the game’s resolution to 1080p. They pulled out this sneaky move during the peak of the Resolution-gate fiasco in hopes of trying not to be dragged into the bitter trenches of the fanboy console wars.
Well, thanks to this move, Ubisoft you are now officially in the trenches of the fanboy console wars.
According to Pointbriand, this is all a CPU thing and – considering that the CPUs are supposed to be relatively the same in the PS4 and Xbox One – Pointbriand tries to pass off any potential optimizations on the GPU or memory bandwidth to utilize higher performance output from the PS4, saying…
“We were quickly bottlenecked by [the CPU] 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. “
Apparently the money Ubisoft dumped into their own proprietary A.I., systems a few years ago wasn’t finely tuned for eighth-gen console CPUs; is that what Vincent is saying?
What would be terribly embarrassing is if in the final game the A.I., was only a partial grade above the previous iterations of A.I., in Ubisoft’s titles. At that point, one would have to question why a sacrifice in resolution was made to accommodate a partial upgrade? However, we can’t know for sure until the game releases, at which point it will be thoroughly pored over by pixel counters, A.I., enthusiasts and rabid fanboys alike. I mean, we can’t just take Pointbriand’s word for it, can we? That’s how Resolution-gate got started in the first place.
Assassin’s Creed Unity isn’t the only game that couldn’t hit 1080p recently on the Xbox One. There was also Deck13 and CI Games’ Lords of the Fallen, which also only managed to hit 900p on the Xbox One. Except, on the PS4 the game is running full HD at 1080p, as reported by Videogamer.com. Shadow Warrior is another game that gets the 900p treatment on the Xbox One but it will be 1080p on the PS4. The hardware disparity between both consoles dictates the difference in their final performance output.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Assassin’s Creed Unity gets a post-release stealth-patch on the PS4 to bump up the resolution to native 1080p. That previous NDA gag-order that was briefly mentioned in that interview on Metro.co.uk gave gamers the heads-up that a lot of this “parity” talk comes from higher-up. But are we all too surprised at this?