Speaking as somebody who covers video games, graphics are one of those things where the people who care, care intensely, and the people who don’t rapidly have their eyes glaze over. But major companies shooting themselves in the foot? That’s always funny! So let’s hear Ubisoft try to stop forum arguments by making the graphics on their flagship franchise deliberately worse!
In a move that will in no way backfire, Ubisoft has announced that Assassin’s Creed: Unity, will be locked at thirty frames per second and 900p. To be fair, though, they do actually have an excellent reason for this, according to VideoGamer:
“Technically we’re CPU-bound,” [senior producer Vincent 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 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.”
That makes a lot of sense. As much as I mock this game for being Hitman’s Creed, these games are enormously technically complex and need a lot of work to deliver both a fun experience visiting pointy death on the French and the living historical museums these games tend to be. Paris during the French Revolution was a bustling city; you can’t exactly deliver that with the same three guys standing around spouting the same dialogue.
That said, he opened that comment above with this:
“We decided to lock them at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff,”
Oh, Vincent. You’re adorable. Doomed, but adorable. As I’ve noted before, I don’t have a horse in the graphics race, but trying to prevent people from arguing over graphics is a fool’s errand and now you’ve dragged the console wars into it. Seriously, I bet there’s already a thread on NeoGAF entitled “ACU 30fps/900p ‘cuz XBONE SUX,” with the intelligent rebuttal of how Sony just doesn’t have ambition, and then a PC gamer smugly telling them both his gaming experience is better.
On the other hand, we do appreciate Ubisoft trying to limit dumb arguments on forums, and would encourage them to at least keep trying to do it. It may not make the Internet less stupid, but at least somebody’s trying to make it happen.