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Feature: I’m Skipping Assassin’s Creed Unity and Here’s Why

October 7, 2014 Written by Heath Hindman

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(Ed’s Note: Views expressed here are solely of the author’s and does not represent those of PlayStation LifeStyle as a whole).
 
Recent news has shown that Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity could have been released with 1080p resolution on PlayStation 4, but because the Xbox One version could only manage 900p, Ubisoft scaled back the PS4 version to “avoid all the debates and stuff” about console specs.
 
Worrying about console parity isn’t Ubisoft’s job, however.
 

I understand that Ubisoft wants to keep good relationships with all of the console manufacturers (well, two of them at least), because multiplatform games have bigger potential audiences and higher possible sales, but at some point you have to think less about the people wearing Armani suits and signing contracts, more about the people in jeans handing cash across a counter. Our money is just as important and should be treated that way.

In Ubi’s defense, it’s also understandable to be tired of arguments. Last generation was chock-full of debates about multiplatform performances. It got tiring. Be that as it may, people will be people, and the solution isn’t holding things back from people who ended up with one system or the other. Despite not having a 360, I never wished that 360 owners had worse performance on Bayonetta and Skyrim just because the PS3 versions didn’t handle those games as well. That would be stupid. Whether the group includes me or not, don’t hold one group back because of the other. It’s not like we’re siblings and you’re giving us birthday presents; we’re customers who are paying money individually for products. If we want the best version of that product, by all means let us pay you for it.
 
 
I won’t buy any game if I feel I’m not getting the most value for my money. This fiasco simply seals that Unity as a no-go.
 
The history is fascinating, the gameplay will likely be an improvement over past installments, but with so many other amazing games coming out all the time, I can be assured that the time will be filled by another great game.
 
The craziest part of this all? I’m not even a big graphics guy. Two of my favorite recently completed games are Papers, Please and To the Moon, neither of which is exactly a graphical stunner. I never have much input when I see raging frames-per-second debates and arguments about 900p vs. 1080p. Eh. It’s just not what I care most about. It’s fine for other people to do it; you gotta discuss what you’re passionate about, but it’s just not where my priorities lie.
 
Don’t get me wrong, a severe frame-rate drop can bother the heck out of me, but I’m just not one to get too much into the 30 vs. 60 discussions and stuff. I simply don’t have much to add. I’m sorry if that makes me not hardcore enough.
 
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Graphical indifference be damned, Ubisoft’s move here gets my attention because it represents a disservice. There’s a sacred agreement when someone hands money to someone else in exchange for goods. The person handing over the money does so in good faith that the merchant is providing the best possible item for that money. Honoring this will lead to more business for the seller and future products of interest for the buyer.

If a company intentionally scales back the visuals of one version of a game, that shows to me that they’re not handing their best product over the counter. If one console can manage a resolution that another has trouble with, so be it. I feel the same way if a PC version gets held back because of console. (Fortunately for the Master Race, their versions of games can quite often take advantage of the hardware they play on. Want to enjoy games in resolutions even higher than 1080p? A good computer can be a graphic enthusiast’s dream come true.) Just this summer, we also heard about Watch_Dogs — another Ubsisoft game — having its PC version downgraded to keep the playing field the same.

Essential Reading:

True, some users of the mods that exposed the higher quality graphics said that it affected performance, but part of the appeal of PC games is that you can customize those settings based on your own priorities. Leave the option in, perhaps with a warning to the players so they know what they’re getting into. Another downgrade doesn’t sit well with me. A game should work as well as it can on the given hardware.
 
So here I am, as a guy who prioritizes graphics below most other things, alienated by a resolution decrease. It’s not about the graphics themselves, but about the motivation behind it. The disservice to customers looks worse than any visual downgrade.