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.

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Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

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.

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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."

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