The release of Ubisoft's tentpole franchise entry Assassin's Creed Unity hasn't exactly gone smoothly. The first red flag was the review embargo, which was scheduled for 12 hours into the game's launch day in order to give plenty of people time to purchase it before reviewers could warn them about bugs and performance issues. And there were a lot of bugs and performance issues.
Since Assassin's Creed Unity's release, Ubisoft has been scrambling to get the game in a working condition amid a flurry of complaints, lackluster reviews and falling stock prices. Two patches later and Ubisoft is now readying a third, but the immediate issue of game-breaking bugs has meant that the developer is still working on looking into Assassin's Creed Unity's low frame rates.
It has been speculated that the frame rate issues are the result of the game's crowd sizes, which Ubisoft boasted could support up to 10,000 NPCs. In a post on the official Ubisoft blog, however, the Live Updates Team says that their testing so far has not indicated that crowd size is the problem, and that they are working on other fixes to improve frame rate stability and optimize performance.
- Streamlining some technical aspects of navigation: We’ve fixed a number of edge cases with our detection system to smooth certain behaviors during parkour. We’ve fixed a few objects which were improperly tagged to smooth navigation.
- Improving task scheduling: We’ve tuned the way the computing tasks are prioritized and parallelized by the processor cores to improve framerate in certain edge cases.
- Tweaking performance for Reach High Points: We’ve optimized the reach high points, during the camera swooping sequence to improve framerate a little bit.
Though crowd size was something we looked at extensively pre-launch, it is something we continue to keep a close eye on. We have just finished a new round of tests on crowd size but have found it is not linked to this problem and does not improve frame rate, so we will be leaving crowds as they are.
The other fixes don't sound altogether too optimistic, offering only to improve frame rate "a little bit" and "in certain edge cases." The update also does not guarantee that these fixes will be included in Patch 3, so it might may be some time before players are able to run the game at a stabilized 30fps. In the mean time the options are either to simply battle on through the game or to wait a few more weeks to play it in the hope that the various patches will have upgraded it to a more playable state.
It's understandable that Ubisoft would want to clamp down on any talk of crowd sizes affecting the frame rate, since the large number of on screen NPCs was one of the selling points of the game and ostensibly a mark of it being a step up from previous games in the franchise. If, as this update claims, the crowd sizes aren't the cause of the frame rate problems then fixing the issue is going to be a lot more complicated than a simple patch to limit the number of on-screen NPCs.
The update assures players that complaints are being taken "very seriously" and "we want to see it resolved as much as you do," along with promises that players will receive frequent updates in "the weeks ahead." For those who haven't yet purchased Assassin's Creed Unity, we'd recommend holding off for a couple of months until the game has been patched up a bit more.
Assassin's Creed Unity is available now for PS4, Xbox One and PC.