Ubisoft’s biggest mistake with Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s PS4/Xbox resolution parity
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Assassin’s Creed: Unity will both run at 1600 x 900 pixels of resolution.
The news was a bit of a surprise.
Since both consoles launched last year, it’s been expected to see the PlayStation 4 versions run at a higher resolution than the Xbox One versions. For example: the previous Assassin’s Creed, Black Flag, ran at 900p on Xbox One and 1080p on PlayStation 4, with both at 30 frames-per-second.
It’s hard to explain the hardware differences between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 without the kind of knowledge someone actually working on the consoles would have. A few developers have come out to say that Sony’s newest console is, in some way, more powerful than Microsoft’s, though, and the games have, so far, shown it.
But it wasn’t the numbers that angered the gaming audience, or that started the #PS4noparity hashtag. No, it was the game’s senior producer Vincent Pontbriand’s statement to VideoGamer alongside the news.
Pontbriand told the site, “We decided to lock them at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff.”
The debates, Pontbriand lightly refers to, are the ongoing discussions, arguments, and crusades about the resolution games run at on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. His quote suggests that Ubisoft would like to sidestep the issue completely, but that’s not what happened.
The real problem is not that the games are the same it’s that Ubisoft took the safe route. Taking the option that least offends is common for blockbuster games. Many of them have mechanics, story, and art that hopes not to badly offend anyone so that the broadest audience has the potential to buy it. Now, it seems, the resolution shouldn’t hurt anyone feelings either.
Ubisoft wants there to be no obvious difference between the two versions so that nobody thinks about cancelling their pre-order. It misread the situation and has now dug itself in a hole of a controversy. It also misread its audience.
The gaming audience has paid close attention to resolution from the start of the new consoles. For some, it helped them choose which to buy. Now we see company’s announcing resolution like a new multiplayer mode. It’s part of the marketing now. It’s important, and not something that should be given little thought.
The game comes out early next month. It’s probably too late for Ubisoft to do anything about the resolution. The question isn’t will Ubisoft change it, it’s will Ubisoft learn anything from this?