Assassin's Creed Unity Runs at 900p/30fps on Xbox One and PS4 to "Avoid Debates" [Update]

Limited by the consoles' CPUs, neither the Xbox One nor PS4 version of Unity will run at the reported target of 1080p/60fps.

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Update: Ubisoft has issued a statement denying it has downgraded the PS4 version of Assassin's Creed Unity.

Original story: The new current-gen and PC-only Assassin's Creed game, Assassin's Creed Unity, will run at a resolution of 900p and a frame rate of 30 frames per second on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Speaking with VideoGamer, senior producer Vincent Pontbriand revealed the figures, which come in below the 1080p/60fps figures that Ubisoft was reportedly targeting for both platforms. And while there is a technical reason for not being able to reach those numbers, Ubisoft decided to make the two console versions identical in the interest of parity. "We decided to lock them at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff," Pontbriand explained.

No Caption Provided

What holds Unity back is the processors that the consoles are equipped with. They are what's responsible for handling AI--and there is a lot of that to be handled, as Ubisoft has claimed the game can support crowds of 30,000 NPCs.

"Technically we're CPU-bound," Pontbriand said. "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 were quickly bottlenecked by that and it was a bit frustrating, because we thought that this was going to be a tenfold improvement over everything AI-wise, and we realized it was going to be pretty hard. It's not the number of polygons that affect the frame rate. We could be running at 100fps if it was just graphics, but because of AI, we're still limited to 30 frames per second."

We've followed up with Ubisoft to see if we can learn anything more about the situation.

Both the Xbox One and PS4 versions of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag ran at 900p initially, but a patch released on launch day brought the PS4 version up to the vaunted resolution of 1080p. It isn't the only game to run at a high resolution on PS4, but more recently, thanks to an update, developers have increasingly reached 1080p with the Xbox One versions of their games.

Unity is one of two original Assassin's Creed games coming on November 11, the other being Assassin's Creed Rogue for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For more on Unity, check out our newly published preview.

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Avatar image for dazevanz

Sorry but the consoles are very weak! It is so easy to play games at 1080p on even a weak pc. What do they expect? Their cpu is very slow at less than 2 ghz i mean come on! The ram is fine but the graphics cards are so far behind. They have been very greedy that's the problem. They should of gone with a higher cpu clock and a gtx 680 gpu or equivalent. With that they could of played all games so far at 1080p 60fps with the right optimisation. Have you seen how cheap a fx 8350 is?it is cheap and far better than consoles so it proves they are greedy. The console would have to be bigger for better cooling but that's better than a weak machine to last you 8 years! At this rate in 2 years time when graphics are more advanced consoles will look more than terrible

Avatar image for onefai

I am glad I read this article. I have a PC with an i7 and GTX 770. The GPU is already outdated! I thought about getting a PS4 or Xbox 1 because it is less hassle. I sure don't want to run games at 30fps with 900p. I am sticking with PC. I wish there is a way to rent PC games. Once I beat the games, I normally don't replay them.

Avatar image for psx_warrior

If they handled the console versions of the game like the PC version, then they could easily do what they have to to make the game run well on both machines without either being downgraded. After all, PC users have all manner of different specs and can adjust settings. One would think ubisoft could do the same. It's just marketing crap.

Avatar image for onefai

<< LINK REMOVED >> Well, PSX. It is easier said than done. PC has way more resources. The CPU and GPU in the "next gen" are already last gen compared to PC. There is a reason why consoles are so much cheaper.

With your rationale, they can run next gen games on NES and Gameboy.

Avatar image for liroku

<< LINK REMOVED >> The MINIMUM requirements for PC users is ridiculously higher than console specs. 4GHz 8 core CPU minimum and a GTX 680 (2GB). The way ubisoft handles PC versions is by royally screwing them over with piss poor optimization. Consider yourself lucky the console hardware can even play at 30FPS with the garbage work they have been shoveling out lately.

Avatar image for lostn

"Update: Ubisoft has issued a statement denying it has downgraded << LINK REMOVED >>."

This is a lie. Because "avoid debates" is pretty clear cut. If they didn't downgrade anything, then there are no debates. Both machines are equal at running the game. But if there are debates to avoid, then this clearly isn't the case. Could their PR department put in a little bit of effort? Don't assume we're all morons.

Avatar image for FuzzyPancakes

<< LINK REMOVED >> It was probably close, fps wise for both consoles (so there was probably no point to make minor graphics improvements) because of the complex AI I guess (AI normally tends to favor or run on the CPU not so much on the GPU, both systems have very close specs for CPU's) if anything it will probably just render smoother on the PS4 when there is more intense action.

Avatar image for Martyr77

I HATE how PS4 players are being held back by the X bone. We all know the X bone is a weaker console but there is no reason for this! Seriously let the PS4 have better graphics since it can handle it as clearly the X bone cannot.

Avatar image for hotwog21

Xbox One cloud can boost AI processing by 600%



rumble triggers


smarter matchmaking


killer instinct

3 operating systems

directx 12


fantasy football


call of duty

dlc that that thins player pools

make it backward compatible with xbox 360 and xbox live arcade games, if your gamer tag can make the leap over why cant your xboxlive arcade games? Answer: they can :)

enable chat between xbox 360 and xbox one

separate the kinect properly

then you will be back in the race.

Avatar image for lostn

<< LINK REMOVED >> Well Microsoft told us developers can assume each Bone is capable of 4X the processing power included in the specs due to their cloud servers doing graphics processing. I've yet to see this materialize though. All we've seen from the 'Cloud' is some of the worst AI ever in Titanfall, and dedicated servers, which anyone can run on PCs, and have been for over 15 years now.

Avatar image for Creed02

and a downgrade for PC version as well

Avatar image for hotwog21

the cloud

Avatar image for TitanPolaris

Well this I did not see coming! If they are already having problems with these AMD Jaguar CPUs for the current gen of consoles then even us PC gamers will get the shaft with badly made ports if the console versions to not run well! If I were Ubisoft I would start to worry about that other game coming around black Friday in November Far Cry 4. If AC next gen can't handle the hardware without down scaling it like with Watch_Dogs in order to get these games to run right then what will happen to their main flagship franchise Far Cry? Ubisoft needs to either delay AC or Far Cry in order to get these issues ironed out before they hit the market if these consoles can not run it at least 60fps at either 1080p or 900p to avoid the Watch_dogs backlash that was on the level of Colonial Marines in terms of bad mouthing that game even though it sold well back in May.

Otherwise we that still have last gen consoles will buy those versions instead in the case of Far Cry 4 or the PC version and cross our fingers again hoping that Ubisoft has learned it's lesson after the Watch_Dogs debacle on the PC version. After all these two big hitter franchises for Ubisoft are going against 4 other big time franchises Civilization, Call of Duty, Dragon Age and GTA, so they can not afford to drop the ball like EA does with their franchises SimCity and Battlefield.

Avatar image for amputate

What fucking bullshit is this?

You could have literally said you're too fucking lazy to optimize AC and I'd be less pissed.

Since when did Ubisoft give 2 shits about what their consumers want and or think?

That's right, since never.

Seriously, release the division and after that you guys can royally go **** yourselves!

Avatar image for Fennerman

they cap the resolution at 900p and they say its a CPU problem because of the AI?? they are clearly lying, resolution is a GPU problem, and lowering it shouldn't help in the AI calculations. They clearly have gpu problems too... To me the AI thing seems like a "white lie" to make it a little more acceptable that "next gen" consoles are not really powerful at all.

Avatar image for jenovaschilld

<< LINK REMOVED >> No, the more NPCs on screen is a cpu function, the machines can have 1million bouncing balls on screen at once, but NPC that have their own routes, interactions, reactions, etc goes into the realm of AI and cpu. The xbox has a fine cpu but it is also well known that the heavily bloated OS operating system that runs tons of background apps for the socially needy manchilds of the day so they can feel special about themselves and the bowel movement they just told the world. Even with the Kinect removed their OS is still behind the sony machine.

That is why I wish the XB1 would come out with an update that allows the machine to go into a low resource mode whenever certain highend games are launched, thus allowing as much processes, RAM, and power as possible to go toward powering the game. I personally buy a console to play games, not to run facebook, record tv, post videos of my headshots, tweet, - I have tons of computers for that.

Avatar image for Fennerman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I was talking about the resolution. They say it's a cpu + AI problem, then why do they cap the resolution at 900p??

Avatar image for jackt246

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Jenova what are you talking about?

An upgrade to 1080p wouldn't change the NPC number on screen that would require a FOV change.

Also a 1.6 - 1.7 ghz eight core processor is not fine especially when it can actually only process 4 instruction sets at once.

I will agree with you in that both the PS4 and XB1 need to have the OS's altered to make them a gaming machine first and a media centre second.

Avatar image for bigruss730

Roll on 'next' gen....

Avatar image for ck10304

It's kinda sad if we're already butting up against the consoles' hardware limitations. Hopefully they get better at squeezing every drop of power out of them.

Avatar image for Slayer420

I'm not buying this game.. but not due to this.. I'd much rather play AC Rogue on my PS4 than Unity. The setting of Unity holds no appeal to me at all which is a huge disappointment as AC Black Flag was brilliant. Unfortunately I don't know if I want Rogue enough to bust out the Xbox 360.

Avatar image for zfazal84

I'm sure Sony fanboys have a bunch of petitions and hashtags and twitter campaigns boycotting the game.. NO PARITY XBOX ONE HOLDING BACK PS4 MAKE IT 1080P OR WE WILL NOT BUY IT None of that is going to make a difference. You sony ponies bought Watch Dogs, Battlefield 4, UFC, by the millions, and those are all 900p on the PS4.

Just stop it... We don't believe you.. You're gonna buy the game.

Avatar image for nurnberg

"avoid debates" 2317 comments and going, nice!

Avatar image for kujel

It was a brilliant marketing ploy wasn't it.

Avatar image for Uangry

Just another reason not to buy this years CoD...I mean AC.

Avatar image for -JMD-

Nice going ubisoft. Criple the PS4 version so that Xbone dont be ashamed... Every day that passes, i hate the gaming industry more and more... They are sell outs. But its my bad that i like gaming... And there is nothing i can do.

Avatar image for lostn

<< LINK REMOVED >> You've gotta understand that Xbox is co-marketing the game this time around. Normally it was Sony. MS most likely told them to not make the PS4 version any better, to avoid debates.

Avatar image for MonocleOwl

<< LINK REMOVED >> You can stop gaming, quit the industry altogether.

Avatar image for -JMD-

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> No i cant... I am a addict unfortunately.

Avatar image for SweetPandaLove


Avatar image for DeusGladiorum

Ah, CPU bottlenecks. I used to know what those were like, especially in AC4, when I too rocked an AMD CPU -- and that was a 6-core FX-6300 overclocked to 4.5 GHz, which in both multi-threaded and single-threaded performance still accomplishes waaaayyyyy more than any 8-core 1.6 or 1.75 GHz Jaguar CPU. However, then I actually upgraded to a 4-core Intel i5-4690k which I overclocked to 4.3 GHz and it's been ridiculously smooth sailing ever since. So I guess what I'm saying is...

...I know your pain, console peasants, I know your pain ;)

Avatar image for Fine_TableLamp

So just lower the amount of NPCs. The other games in the series had enough NPCs running around in my opinion. Just give what you have better AI and I'd be happy.

Avatar image for blee575

He admits without shame that they dumbed down the PS4 version so that xbox gamers don't feel sad? THEY KNEW WHAT THEY WERE BUYING PEOPLE.

Avatar image for Intocable

From Ubisoft: "You know what? I was kidding yesterday!! :-), please don't cancel your pre-orders..... "

Avatar image for xrizz1066

And so it begins, X1 hold the PS4 back. Well I wont bother buying the game then, especially as there are so many others on the market. Roll on Uncharted 4. Then we'll see what can truly be done with the PS4.

Avatar image for IanNottinghamX

*Takes a deep breath and thinks* Hmmmmmm...So Wii-U cant run Ac Unity or Ac Rogue(but it can run on Xbox 360/Ps3). And Then they say Ac Unity can BARELY run on Ps4 and Xbox One? HMMMMM I think maybe the people at Ubisoft dont know WTF theyre doing??!!!! #Faildevelopers

Avatar image for frozenuxx

Sooo how does that feel to have a game being held back because someone else hardware can't take it? HAHAHA

Avatar image for ftskamins

<< LINK REMOVED >> Best comment!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Sooo how does that feel to have a game being held back because someone else hardware can't take it? HAHAHA"

Avatar image for Banyek

I was really angry when I saw the actual cpu clock speed on the new gen consoles. If you think about it, it really isn't a suprise, that newer games having difficulties running a game smoothly. Todays cpu-s are running twice this speed, and are cheap too, look at the amd fx series ! they barely cost any money and do double the speed.

The thing is, I wouldnt care about this stuff, but I kow it will have a bad influence on pc ports.Look at dead rising 3 !

Avatar image for Nawras

Also another note, it depends on the graphics engine and how optimised it is. Crytek gave us next-gen graphics years ago on hardware specs much lower than what we have now. I kinda feel that Ubisoft is doing some marketing here "oh look we managed to get bottlenecked by the CPU".

Avatar image for glitchking88

<< LINK REMOVED >> You're confusing GPU usage in areas where CPU is applicable.

Avatar image for Sefrix

Game engines can be built to be CPU or GPU heavy.

Avatar image for Nawras

<< LINK REMOVED >> you're probably right; my bad. I'm wondering what's the design decision for having to render 30K NPCs and lower the frame rate to 30 if they can have less NPCs and lock the game to 60fps, and the reason why the crowd of 30K needs to simultaneously exist (ie NPCs on the other side of town could be generated as you proceed towards the area).