Ubisoft explains why Assassin's Creed launches last on PC

Lead designer Jean-Sebastien Decant says PC versions of franchise entries are last to be worked on internally.

Ubisoft has explained why Assassin's Creed games have historically launched on PC several weeks, and in some cases months, after the console versions come to market.

Speaking with Polygon, lead designer Jean-Sebastien Decant said the reason is because the PC version of each game is simply the last version the development team works on.

This will again be the case for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Ubisoft confirmed this week that the pirate-themed action game will hit PC on November 19, almost three weeks after its initial debut for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U on October 29. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions arrive as launch titles for those platforms in November.

Decant said at the onset of development, Ubisoft will focus on one "master version" and concentrate its efforts on this version before moving to other iterations. The PC version comes last, he said.

"It all depends on what is the master version," Decant said. "If for instance, the [Xbox 360] version was the master version, or the PlayStation 3 version was the master version, then we'd need a little bit more time to adapt it for the PC. But we need to finish that other version first."

As a result of the PC version being the last to be completed, Decant said the development team often needs a few additional weeks to implement final tweaks to assure a polished experience.

In the case of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, the current-generation versions for Xbox 360 and PS3 were the "master" versions, Decant said.

"The technology goal we had [for ACIV] was for the current-gen," Decant said, noting development shifted to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC thereafter. "You need to finish one and make sure that it's clean before you can then finish the others."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

Want the latest news about Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag?

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Discussion

451 comments
zebomoby
zebomoby

that image looks awesome......

Dante-xero
Dante-xero

I'd say they're releasing their pirate game on pc last because of pirates....

Yaarr..

AlexFili
AlexFili

If the PC version always comes later and they know this, then why do they always set an earlier release date and push it back? It's frustrating. Just admit that it will be out a month later and stop moving the 'goalposts'.

Also I would like a justification why the European Wii U Assassin's Creed IV version is delayed by three weeks. If it's ready in October for America why isn't it ready for us? I'm not angry just puzzled.

frylock1987
frylock1987

AC just needs to die off already.

Same repetitive gameplay every time.

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

wtf is going on in that screenshot? that's gotta be one of the worst looking models i've seen, and i go to a digital arts and animations school...

rmartinezdl
rmartinezdl

PC VERSION COMES LAST?


Buying YOUR GAME comes last bitch. thanks for the free game.

Evilnator
Evilnator

Scenario A: They just need time to develop absurd DRM and encourage piracy.

Scenario B: They got the conecept of versioning wrong, you're supposed to develop the most powerful version first and then dumb down for the less powerful systems (or  create less powerful versions of the software). The theory behind this is that it's easier to strip what you already have than forcefully build into it potentially screwing with the already established code.

apophis32
apophis32

that ok that they are always last  because PC gets the always gets the best version. 

nomadic_topgun
nomadic_topgun

We know that developers don't care about PC gamers.

Hector_01
Hector_01

"Jean-Sebastien Decant said the reason is because the PC version of each game is simply the last version the development team works on."

In other news, 1 hour after 10:00 am is 11:00 am

My point is, there is no point just like this article lol


botsio
botsio

just hoping it is built on the same engine as far cry 3.so i can play it on my current laptop.

ngweihong
ngweihong

When a game initial "benchmark" set for next-gen. It will be difficult/costly to release along with current gen. This because next-gen can support more then twice of polygon and texture size then current gen. It will be pain in the as* for developer to reduce/change all their texture / poly / physics / shaders / coding / and animation to look nice in current gen.


I think another reason is, when Black Flag in beginning development next gen dev SDK still not available for developer thus they not taking the risk.

Finally is market issues, if the game set to release on PS4/XboxOne only. The sell will be very low since the machine is still very new and not much people really own it.


skornedwarrior
skornedwarrior

I find it kind of dumb for Ubisoft to release 2 games on the same day for PC. Watchdogs and AC IV come out the same day on PC now. Sounds like most people will be choosing one or the other on day 1 unless they have the cash for both.

sebbysebbseb
sebbysebbseb

I like Uplay more than I like Origin... Just sayin'. Nothing to add to this discussion.

TehMasterer2
TehMasterer2

This article does actually contain a couple of noteworthy points:

1) They began development with current-gen systems in mind, not next-gen

2) They prioritise console releases over the PC release (this was already pretty obvious, but they just confirmed it)

In other words, the article says more about their game engine technology than it does about the reason for PC release delays.

But it is interesting to note that next-gen systems were not their initial goal - what you should really be worrying about is whether this means their next-gen technologies will be badly implemented or if they shifted focus early enough in development to do a good job of it.

renerak
renerak

Thanks for that perfectly illogical explanation. 

jhewjrhejejrhjr
jhewjrhejejrhjr

If developers are attempting to somehow "cut-down" on PC gaming or "quit" on it altogether to maximize revenue then fine, we will quit on your games too. PC gaming is what started it all.

Erebus
Erebus

"Why is the PC version released last?"
"Because the last version to be released is for the PC."
"Ah, ok -- thanks... wait a ..."

GAMERALL
GAMERALL

This article basically says: "Fun Fact: 4 is the fourth natural number because it's preceded by three other numbers. Who knew?!"

YoreLore
YoreLore

"Jean-Sebastien Decant said the reason is because the PC version of each game is simply the last version the development team works on."     How insightful!  Thanks for the amazing article Gamespot.

WiredDreemz
WiredDreemz

I really don't care when I get it on PC, as long as it is not a year later, or worst case scenario, not at all! There are plenty of other great games hitting shelves around the same period, so I really don't mind waiting.

Stefarooh31
Stefarooh31

Bullshit - they want the console versions out earlier as the generation of today have no idea what it means to wait for something.

They exploit that and continually fuel it knowing full well that the idiot of today will pick up the title again later on his/her preferred system should that system be PC.

As gamers the generation between the younger and older, more mature gamer has never been wider. Where the younger audience will happily open its purse for iteration 100 of the same franchise the elder, more discernible gamer will wait for the sales or ditch the entire series completely.




Starkzard
Starkzard

Polished? that AC3 on PC was everything but polished... >_<

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

they need more time on it because the PC version is special.

bbq_R0ADK1LL
bbq_R0ADK1LL

But I thought I became part of the Master Race when I bought a PC?

Ubisoft, y u no recognise my master race?

Prats1993
Prats1993

No love for PC gaming, lol. No need to worry, AC is shit.

arqe
arqe

Yeah Ubi your AC games sucks i dont think people will care what you do with Assassins Creed.

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

Everything this guy is saying is BS. It's plain and simple why Ubisoft games often come out a tad later for PCs: So they can add their Uplay DRM. 

I have to hand it to Ubi, despite this. They do better with PC than most publishers, but seeing uplay overlay messages pop up in addition to steam overlay? It's just too much. We don't need publisher specific achievements and hubs. It's just silly.

Fursnake
Fursnake

I'm good with it coming out later for the PC, I will need that time to play through Watchdogs. I just hope AC4 isn't as sketchy as AC3.

sujith12
sujith12

assassins creed 1,2 and brotherhood were a masterpiece

but i am getting sick of this game

assassins creed 3 was a bit of disappointment 

all these games were best in pc

hope this one will do better

Halloll
Halloll

Assassin Creed isn't a good fit for PC, it's too casual. true PC games should be involving and require an attention span longer that that of a squirrel. a good PC game is something like Thief.

suko1983
suko1983

@frylock1987 Easy... don't play it. For the rest of us there are a lot of different eras to visit. AC I & II where the best, but now it's more about exploring and history.

StokeMeAClipper
StokeMeAClipper

@Evilnator 

I think they ensure it works as intended on the lowest spec platform. Then when it's time to concentrate on the higher spec versions they just slap on some higher res textures and other graphical bells and whistles.

When PS3 and XBOX 360 came out most of the early titles were PS2/XBOX games at heart with higher res graphics. They were not designed from the ground up to take advantage of the new hardware. That is why early days on a new console are so annoying because they want to push their game out on as many platforms as possible so your new hardware isn't being used in a meaningful way.

That is also why PC fans dislike consoles as games are not being designed to utilise the more powerful hardware their PC has.

StokeMeAClipper
StokeMeAClipper

@jhewjrhejejrhjr

"PC gaming is what started it all".

I'm pretty sure you are talking from an orifice reserved for expelling waste.

Kickable
Kickable

@spikepigeo everyone hates Uplay and we know that they know it.  and they know that we know that they know it.  why so sure they would lie about this?  They're Ubisoft what's the point?

Fuelade
Fuelade

@sujith12 The AC games have been sketchy at best on PC since the first game, and made worse by Ubisofts DRM. AC3 certainly wasnt without its issues on PC either let alone the game being a disapointment.

Kickable
Kickable

@Halloll what a snobby load of bullshit.  from another PC gamer.  God we're obnoxious in general.

Garm31
Garm31

@Halloll Unfortunately it looks like Thief has been dumbed down for the casual "I'm a gamer too" douchebag. It looks a lot like Dishonored, which itself is a poor mans Thief.

Halloll
Halloll

@Garm31 @Halloll Dishonored is more like Assassin Creed than Thief except you actually control your character and assassinate stuff.

luciann
luciann

@Garm31 @Halloll You must be joking, dishonored was one of the best games there. And it wasn't easy at all. But i guess you play games on normal difficulty 

Hector_01
Hector_01

@luciann @Garm31 @Halloll i found Dishonored to be rediculously too easy to the point it was fucking boring.  I'm not gonna call it a poor mans thief. What i will call it is overrated.  

Krauklis
Krauklis

@luciann @Garm31 @Halloll Dishonored hard? You can just finish the game and get the good ending by blinking from one lamppost to the next most of the time. I am not saying it's a bad game, but it was so easy just to blink through almost every level unseen.