In an interview with Edge magazine, Ubisoft’s associate producer Sylvain Trottier was seemingly caught throwing the need for PC optimization overboard. However it has recently came to light that his quote was taken out of context, and only related to the R&D phase of Black Flag’s development. Ubisoft have since posted on their blog with an explanation of their optimization process, and why they are all “PC fans”.
First Trottier clarifies on what optimization means during the R&D phase of development.
“You want to push the particle and lighting effects to the max to see how it looks,” Trottier says. “Thing is, while you’re doing that, the performance doesn’t matter. We were doing R&D. But we weren’t doing R&D for performance. We’re doing R&D to try to see how far we can push the limits, to make our game look very amazing.”
After they’ve got the game looking great and ticking all the right boxes, they then start on the optimization. “This is where the optimization phase starts,” Trottier explains. “And we started doing optimization on PC first.”
Why PC first? Most noteworthy is that these next-gen consoles are much closer to the PC in their architecture, so making improvements on the PC can have a direct affect on the next-gen version.
“It’s absolutely not true that we don’t care about PC optimization,” Trottier says. “If we didn’t care about PC optimization, then we would not have such a big team in Kiev. We have a team dedicated just to the PC version in Kiev.”
With their partnership with Nvidia, Trottier ensures that further optimization is on the way. NVIDIA PhysX and support for 4K resolutions are in an upcoming patch.
“We are very proud of the PC version of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag,” Trottier continues. “The game runs well on low-end PCs, and lots of additional features were added for higher-end machines, allowing each and every customer to fully enjoy the experience on their PCs. Our partnership with Nvidia that saw our respective engineering teams work together to develop a highly optimized PC version also demonstrates our commitment to the platform.”
“If you can see our game run at 4k resolution on PC, it’s magical. It’s beautiful.”