30FPS, 30FPS, 30FPS
Fast forwarding to last week, Ubisoft said that Assassin's Creed Unity, which launches next month, will be rendered at 900p on both the Xbox One and PS4, at 30FPS. If that wasn't bad enough, World Level Design Director on Assassin's Creed: Unity, Nicolas Guerin, had some truly crazy things to say.
He said that the development team decided on 30FPS because it gave the game a "more cinematic feel". He went onto say: "At Ubisoft for a long time we wanted to push 60 fps. I don't think it was a good idea because you don't gain that much from 60 fps and it doesn't look like the real thing. It's a bit like The Hobbit movie, it looked really weird. And in other games it's the same - like the Rachet and Clank series [where it was dropped]. So I think collectively in the video game industry we're dropping that standard because it's hard to achieve, it's twice as hard as 30fps, and it's not really that great in terms of rendering quality of the picture and the image."
But Guerin wasn't the only one who seemed to gloss over 30FPS, where AC: Unity's Creative Director, Alex Amancio said: "30 was our goal, it feels more cinematic. 60 is really good for a shooter, action adventure not so much. It actually feels better for people when it's at that 30fps. It also lets us push the limits of everything to the maximum. It's like when people start asking about resolution. Is it the number of the quality of the pixels that you want? If the game looks gorgeous, who cares about the number?"
Well... what can we take away from this? We are seeing Ubisoft justify 30FPS for what reason exactly? Using the "cinematic feel" reason feels like it's just that - words, and that the real reason is that Unity isn't capable of running on the APUs found in the next-gen consoles at 1080p, let alone 1080p at 60FPS. We're not even getting 1080p at 30FPS, or 720p at 60FPS, but a worse middle ground: 900p at 30FPS. With 900p being 1600x900, we're getting a resolution barely better than 720p, at a frame rate that PC gamers can only laugh at.
I actually called Ubisoft out in my article, and I'm going to do it again - have me at your office, and 100 out of 100 times in visual tests, I will call 30FPS against 60FPS, each and every time.
But the problem is deeper than that, because if one of the biggest gaming powerhouses in the world - Ubisoft in this instance - cannot get the next-gen consoles to render their engines that they've been working on for half a decade at 720p at 60FPS, let alone 1080p at 60FPS, we're not going to see it on this generation of consoles, PERIOD.
This may sound like a big claim, but Ubisoft has been investing hundreds of millions of dollars into new and existing IP such as Far Cry, Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, The Division, The Crew, and many more.
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