Over-reaching and the smelling of rats

hal9000

Today on the Geek Infusion, Matthew talks about attempting to keep up with the Jones’ in regards to a gaming rig.

More after the break.

I was surfing around the internet this morning, looking at some of the foolish things that Ubisoft has been saying about Assassin’s Creed: Unity, and I came across the PC specs on Video Gamer magazine, and I find myself aggravated.

As you can see, the minimum requirements for this game are far and away above average for most current PC titles. With a requirement of an i5 processor, 6 GB RAM and a 2GB card. Not to mention a WHOPPING 50GB of disk space.

I’ll be able to run this system with my Alienware Alpha, there is no fear there (due to it also being a Steam Machine), but I still take issue with the specs. They are really limiting themselves in their clientele, especially when the economy is just starting to come back and people are just starting to have money again. Though I would doubt sincerely the average person’s ability to drop money on the system that Ubisoft recommends.

An i7 Processor? Are you kidding me? That top-end processor is usually reserved for professional, competitive gaming or high-end 3D design and editing, and now Ubisoft is coming along and stating that this is what it recommends? Not to mention the 3GB video card and 8GB of RAM? I find this absolutely out of this world.

To build a machine that requires that, or, heck, just purchase one from a OEM is going to cost anywhere between $800 – $1300 CAD. (Granted, building one would come in around $600 – $700). So, I suppose unless you’re part of the core, elite “PC Gaming Master Race” as Yahtzee would put it, you’re stuck with the console version which is not shaping up nicely in the video department.

I especially have trouble swallowing a recent statement from Ubisoft stating that it wasn’t locking Unity at 30 FPS and 900p on the consoles due to power reasons. Given that PC is clearly going to have the option to run at a much higher frame-rate and resolution, I think we can safely call this a lie, and that makes me even more angry than the specs.

Granted Black Flag (and presumably Rogue) run at the same level on PS3, and it looks fine. But if that’s the case than why am I having to upgrade to a new console? I would rather have an engaging game that looks good than require a new console/pc that is solely going to allow me to have more NPCs on the screen.

Rome felt alive in Brotherhood, and I felt like New York and Boston were the same. Certainly the Caribbean was well populated, so why the need to shift to thousands of NPCs all of a sudden?

And on top of all this, I feel bad, at the moment, for people who wanted to play this game on PC and now won’t be able to. I have a friend who purchased, on my advice, a new PC last year from I Buy Power, and it is a solid rig. But with his processor, he is just meeting the system requirements.

He is far and away  alright on RAM (12 GB) and on his video card (two Nvidia 750 in SLI I think), and he has a 2 TB HDD and a 100GB SDD. But, according to Ubisoft’s statement, it’s the processor that matters for this game.

Imagine dropping  $1200 like my friend did, only to find out that, in this instance, you’re machine is barely powerful enough. So, unlike most games, he won’t be running it on high, it’ll be on medium low. And at that point you may as well play it on a console.

Please understand that I am very much aware that this is first world problem, but I feel as if Ubisoft over-reached somewhat.

I also understand that pushing the boundaries is a good thing, it’s what allows gaming to develop as an art form and a source of entertainment, and seeing what you can get technology to do is a good thing. But going from something like Black Flag which could run on a comparatively weak technology (i3 was fine for medium) to then ask for the top of the line as your recommend is a bit odd. They are putting design before gameplay in this case, and that’s a slippery slope.

We’ve been down this road before nearly 20 years ago when Dai Katana was launched. It was supposed to have incredible AI and due to this required, for the time, a top of the line rig. This was a serious detriment to the sales. Granted the years-long development and constant push-back of the release date didn’t help.

I understand that it’s too late for Ubisoft to go back to the drawing board on this. I’m hoping the release a patch that adjusts the game for lower-end systems as some games are doing and have done for years, but knowing how this company has been behaving lately, I wouldn’t bet on it.

I think, due to the requirements on the PC version, you’re going to see sales suffer significantly as the game launches. We are heading into the Christmas season, and people don’t have the money to drop on a new game AND a new rig.

I will suggest, however, that this could push people towards the console version of the game, which is perhaps what Ubisoft wants. I mean, their PC releases of Assassin’s Creed are usually just an afterthought and are significantly behind the console in terms of release.

I do hope, however, that Ubisoft gets hung with this. Between the insane requirement level on the PC version, and the scaling back of the console versions, I’m inclined to smell a rat. They overreached, and didn’t have a way to fix it, as it was likely discovered too late in the development cycle.

Well, Ubisoft, that’s just too bad, and I sincerely hope this comes back to bite you in sales while going up against Warlords of Draenor and the Halo: Master Chief Edition in the same two week period.

Thanks for reading, and take care,

-Matthew

p.s. At this point, I’m disinclined to purchase Unity myself. I’m starting to not trust Ubisoft on it, and I don’t want to waste my $70 that could be used for something else. Like Batman: Arkham Knight.

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Over-reaching and the smelling of rats

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