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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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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Avatar image for zebomoby

that image looks awesome......

Avatar image for Dante-xero

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


Avatar image for FeliciousClank

@Dante-xero Smooth.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for frylock1987

AC just needs to die off already.

Same repetitive gameplay every time.

Avatar image for python1026

@frylock1987 Yes cause naval combat was totally a thing in AC2.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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...

Avatar image for FeliciousClank

@wizardboyus but it's fucking hilarious. :P

Avatar image for rmartinezdl


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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for StokeMeAClipper


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.

Avatar image for wizardboyus

@StokeMeAClipper @Evilnator couldn't have said it better myself

Avatar image for apophis32

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

Avatar image for nomadic_topgun

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

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for botsio

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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for rajwraith

@Stardust7 ...? Wow... just wow.

Avatar image for Stardust7

@rajwraith I give up lol..all of you are right....PC is more profitable ,have less piracy and you guys are not jerks ....satisfied now? ;)

Avatar image for sebbysebbseb

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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for renerak

Thanks for that perfectly illogical explanation.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for StokeMeAClipper


"PC gaming is what started it all".

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

Avatar image for Erebus

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

Avatar image for GAMERALL

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

Avatar image for renerak

@GAMERALL I know right. Who Knew?

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for Starkzard

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

Avatar image for bongsyas_23

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

Avatar image for 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?

Avatar image for Fuelade

@bbq_R0ADK1LL The Master Race is overrated!

Avatar image for renerak

@bbq_R0ADK1LL Maybe we should show our Master Race identity card.

Avatar image for sebbysebbseb

@renerak @bbq_R0ADK1LL So our GOG/steam account eh

Avatar image for Prats1993

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

Avatar image for arqe

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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for deactivated-57bcc1891a93a

@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?

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for deactivated-57bcc1891a93a

@Fursnake yea if anything we're already used to it.

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for JamesThePrince

I just came here for the picture >:D

Avatar image for Adenosine

LOL! That picture of the shocked lady really made me laugh! I wonder what it was that she saw....


Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for deactivated-57bcc1891a93a

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