Another week, another Ubisoft story that has caused uproar and division, aided once again by statements from the publisher that only make things worse. This week, Sony fans are up in arms because Assassin's Creed: Unity will be released across Xbox One and PS4 running at 900p and 30fps.
For comparison's sake, Unity's predecessor -- Black Flag -- enjoyed a fairly equal release itself, but it wasn't long before the game was patched on PS4 to take advantage of that system's potential, and upgraded to 1080p/30fps with an additional free patch, with the Xbox One version stuck at the launch 900p/30fps.
There was disparity for Watch Dogs as well, running at 900p on PlayStation 4 and 792p on Xbox One.
Here, however, Ubisoft have opted for parity, apparently in order to "avoid all the debates and stuff," senior producer Vincent Pontbriand told VideoGamer in an interview. "Technically we're CPU-bound. 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."
Except it's done the complete opposite. A hashtag has emerged (all movements have hashtags these days) -- #PS4NoParity -- from fans accusing Ubisoft of dumbing the game down on Sony's platform to achieve console parity (Ubisoft have since refuted that notion). The ire from PS4 owners is somewhat understandable, consoles are an investment after all, and if you can only afford one, you want to try and make sure it's the best one, with the expectation that games will be optimised for the £300-400 machine you just bought. Of course, it's entirely possible that Ubisoft felt that this might be the correct move for the game -- trying to locate a graphical sweet spot that would please everybody while ensuring that all of Unity's systems could run smoothly and without compromise.
But we're not in the business of making excuses for publishing leviathans with triple-A titles coming out of their pores.
In the interests of science, I (a PS4 owner) sat down with Jon (a man with an Xbox One) to have a little chat about this whole debacle, and to see if we could arrive and some sort of consensus and answer a few questions on the matter.