Gaming, VR World

Assassin's Creed Unity Dev: The PS4 Couldn't Handle 1080p 30FPS For Our Game

A developer for Ubisoft’s (NASDAQ: UBI) upcoming Assassin’s Creed Unity has spoken out on the studio’s controversial frame-rate/resolution lock.

A short while ago, Ubisoft revealed that AC: Unity would be locked at 900p 30fps across both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

The controversy ignited when it was found out that Ubisoft has a deal with Microsoft, leading many to suspect that the company purposefully limited the performance capabilities on the PS4 version to “even out the playing field” with the Xbox One.

AC Unity 2

It’s been revealed that Microsoft’s Xbox One is only capable of hitting native resolutions of 900p and has to upscale to reach 1080p. Thanks to its graphical performance, Sony’s PlayStation 4 can hit a native res of 1080p and often sustain 60 frames-per-second in-game.

The news came straight from Giant Bomb’s recent podcast, where an anonymous dev apparently tipped the publication off.

According to the dev the PlayStation 4 “couldn’t handle 1080p at 30fps for our game”, and that the team had significant troubles in just hitting 900p with Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Throughout the letter the dev aims to bring the whole controversy into perspective by painting a realistic picture of Unity‘s gigantic scope.

NeoGAF has compiled a transcription which follows:

“I’m happy to enlighten you guys because way too much bullshit about 1080p making a difference is being thrown around. If the game is as pretty and fun as ours will be, who cares? Getting this game to 900p was a BITCH. The game is so huge in terms of rendering that it took months to get it to 720p at 30fps.

“The game was 9fps 9 months ago. We only achieved 900p at 30fps weeks ago. The PS4 couldn’t handle 1080p 30fps for our game, whatever people, or Sony and Microsoft say.

“Yes, we have a deal with Microsoft, and yes we don’t want people fighting over it, but with all the recent concessions from Microsoft, backing out of CPU reservations not once, but twice, you’re talking about a 1 or 2 fps difference between the two consoles.

“So yes, locking the framerate is a conscious decision to keep people bullshitting, but that doesn’t seem to have worked in the end. Even if Ubi has deals, the dev team members are proud, and want the best performance out of every console out there.

“What’s hard is not getting the game to render at this point, it’s making everything else in the game work at the same level of performance we designed from the start for the graphics.

AC Unity

“By the amount of content and NPCs in the game, from someone who witnessed optimization for lots of Ubisoft games in the past, this is crazily optimized for such a young generation of consoles.

“This really is about to define a next gen like no other game before. Mordor has next gen system and gameplay, but not graphics like Unity does. The proof comes in that game being cross gen. Our producer (Vincent) saying we’re bound with AI by the CPU is right, but not entirely.

“Consider this, they started this game so early for next gen, MS and Sony wanted to push graphics first, so that’s what we did. I believe 50% of the CPU is dedicated to helping the rendering by processing pre-packaged INFORMATION, and in our case, much like Unreal 4, baked global illumination lighting.

“The result is amazing graphically, the depth of field and lighting effects are beyond anything you’ve seen on the market, and even may surpass Infamous and others. Because of this I think the build is a full 50gigs, filling the bluray to the edge, and nearly half of that is lighting data.”

After coming into hot water by claiming they unified resolutions/frame-rates to “avoid debates and stuff “, Ubisoft delivered an apology.

“Let’s be clear up front: Ubisoft does not constrain its games. We would not limit a game’s resolution,” Gary Steinman wrote on Ubisoft’s official blog.

“And we would never do anything to intentionally diminish anything we’ve produced or developed.”

The debacle has earned the attention of the gaming community, who has been wary of Ubisoft after the infamous visual discrepancies in Watch Dogs. It’ll be interesting to see if the company responds to the words of the purported anonymous dev, but for now, we have to take it as speculation–even if it does offer a unique and revealing counterpoint to the frame-rate wars.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is slated to release on Nov. 11, 2014 across Playstation 4 and Xbox One. For more information be sure to visit the game’s official website.

  • kftgr

    Nice write up of the whole issue. Hope you can follow up with analysis of looks and performance after the game releases.