Ubisoft Denies It Lowered PS4 Specs on Assassin's Creed Unity [Update]
PlayStation 4 version displays at 900p; Same as Xbox One version "to avoid debates"; Ubisoft issues new statement claiming specs are not final.
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Update: Ubisoft has said there is still a chance that the final specs for Assassin's Creed Unity could go beyond 900p.
"Final specs for Assassin’s Creed Unity aren’t cemented yet, but we can say we showed Assassin’s Creed Unity at 900p during our hands-on preview event last week," a spokesperson for the publisher told GameSpot.
"We’re confident that gamers will be thrilled with the gorgeous graphics and how Paris is brought to life in Assassin’s Creed Unity."
Original story: Publisher Ubisoft has moved quickly to clarify a claim made by one of its employees that the PlayStation 4 version of Assassin's Creed Unity was locked at 900p in order to maintain parity with the Xbox One edition.
Vincent Pontbriand, a senior producer at Ubisoft Montreal, said the Unity development team "decided to lock them [the game] at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff".
Due to the regularity in which PS4 games render at a slightly better resolution than Xbox One games, many interpreted this quote to suggest the PS4 version's resolution was lowered. This assumption, while not proven, triggered a storm of complaints on game forums and social media.
In a swift response, a Ubisoft spokesperson denied that it has lessened the PS4 version, instead suggesting that 900p was the initial target for both platforms.
"We understand how Senior Producer Vincent Pontbriand's quotes have been misinterpreted," read a statement sent to Kotaku.
It continued: "To set the record straight, we did not lower the specs for Assassin's Creed Unity to account for any one system over the other. Assassin's Creed Unity has been engineered from the ground up for next-generation consoles."
"Over the past 4 years, we have created Assassin's Creed Unity to attain the tremendous level of quality we have now achieved on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. It's a process of building up toward our goals, not scaling down, and we're proud to say that we have reached those goals on all SKUs."
"At no point did we decide to reduce the ambitions of any SKU. All benefited from the full dedication of all of our available optimization resources to help them reach the level of quality we have today with the core Assassin's Creed Unity experience."
The issue of optimising performance on consoles is complex. With enough time, coders can find numerous ways of drawing more resources from a console, but tight deadlines often mean there's little time to fulfil a system's potential. This could explain why Ubisoft Montreal is sticking to a modest resolution at 30 frames-per-second.
Pontbriand, before Ubisoft issued a statement, explained to VideoGamer that "technically we're CPU-bound".
He 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 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."
Sony previously detailed that developers can use the GPU for processing.
"With PlayStation 4 we focused on all of the ways that developers could use the GPU for things other than graphics," Mark Cerny, the PS4's hardware architect, told CVG in June 2013.
"Now, that doesn't mean worse graphics. What we noticed was, over the course of a single frame, there are many things going on in a GPU but there are some things not being used at all, so that is a wonderful time to use it for other processes."