Ubisoft Developer Explains Difference Between Retail Consoles and Dev Kits Amid Assassin’s Creed Unity Issues
Eurogamer recently published an article stating that Assassin’s Creed Unity’s “no face” bug has been fixed. Understandably, many readers commented on the article wanting to know how the issues slipped under the radar. Ubisoft’s Gameplay Programmer, who goes by the name of LordDemigod (verified account), jumped into the comment section to answer some of the questions, and stated that while he hadn’t personally worked on Unity, the issues could be down to differences between retail consoles and dev kits. Here’s a compilation of his responses:
Just as a note – I have not worked on Unity so I have no idea what is going on with this game.
But to answer your question: ‘Do they not have retail units to test on?’ – Yes, we do have retail units, but you can’t test anything on them, because they can only run signed code. Which means that the only time when we can actually run a game we worked on on a retail console is when we get the actual discs with it in the studio, couple weeks before the release.
And yes, there are bugs that appear only on retail consoles which do not happen on devkits because of hardware or firmware differences, those are usually fixed in time for day 1 patch or slightly later, but I honestly don’t see how you could do anything about them beforehand, since like I have said – we can’t run games in development on retail kits.
I have absolutely no idea what is wrong inside the code of that game or how that team is going to fix it. I only commented on the fact that yes, there are differences between devkits and retail kits. And yes, I have seen those differences causing issues that could not have been caught before release. I don’t know how many (or if any) of those issues in Unity are caused by this, so I can’t possibly comment(as much as I would love to).
One example I can give you is where a game I worked on was already certified and on its way to the shops, and new console firmware was released the same day as the game. That firmware caused some small issues, so everyone who updated their console before playing the game thought there were problems in the game. And we don’t get early developer access to the new firmware – we get it on our devkits the same time as everyone else.
Do you agree with LordDemigod?