Video game publisher Ubisoft is taking a whole lot of fire today after one of their developers implied that the company intentionally limited the PlayStation 4 version of the upcoming Assassin's Creed Unity in order to maintain graphical parity with the Xbox One version.
It started with a quote from Ubisoft Montreal producer Vincent Pontbriand, speaking to the website Video Gamer about their decision to keep Unity maintaining 900p resolution and 30 frames per second on both the Xbox One and PS4.
"We decided to lock them at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff," Pontbriand reportedly said, no doubt referring to a string of extended conversations that have sprung up in the past year over the technical differences between Sony and Microsoft's current-gen consoles.
Around a year ago, gamers spent a whole lot of time arguing over what was then dubbed ResolutionGate, a controversy triggered by discoveries that several multiplatform games had higher resolutions on PS4 than Xbox One. In the months that followed, as more and more third-party publishers released games for both systems, it became clear that the newest PlayStation was at least slightly more powerful than its Xbox competitor. Though there's been a ton of debate over the significance and importance of resolution and frame-rate differences, comparison videos and technical breakdowns have almost consistently favoured the PS4.
In fact, last year's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag saw a patch days after release that bumped up its resolution to 1080p on PlayStation 4, an improvement over the Xbox One version's native 900p display.
So today, people are interpreting Pontbriand's quote—"We decided to lock them at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff"—as the company admitting that in order to avoid triggering more of these debates, they intentionally capped out the PlayStation 4 version of the newest Assassin's Creed, which will be out on November 11. I reached out to Ubisoft earlier today for clarification on this point, but they weren't able to comment further by press time.
Meanwhile, gamers are fuming. There are GAF and Reddit threads stuffed with people angry at Ubisoft for this decision, and the newly-created #PS4NoParity hashtag on Twitter is full of people asking Ubisoft not to lock the PS4 version's technical capabilities and threatening to boycott their games.
— Patrick Brizendine (@Anihl8r) October 6, 2014
— D. Lambert (@PhotogDoug) October 6, 2014
— Kayes (@KayesPlays) October 6, 2014
Gimping a game intentionally means doing less than your best, and that's a poor attitude to have when creating something. #PS4noparity
— Rhody Tobin (@Roto13) October 6, 2014
— Jeremy Conrad (@ManaByte) October 6, 2014
If you disagree with forced parity in the console industry, spread this tag and join forces! #PS4NoParity!
— Shane Stocks (@Shane_Stocks) October 6, 2014
— Michiel Van Minnebr. (@De_Michiel) October 6, 2014
— Neuromancer (@NeuromancerGAF) October 6, 2014