Marking yet another milestone for the killer franchise, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag on the PlayStation 4 is the first Assassin’s Creed game to be rendered in true native 1080p. In other words, the already gorgeous game will be, well… even more gorgeous when it sets sail on the PS4.
One small caveat: players will need to download a title update (available shortly after release) to enjoy the full 1080p native resolution.
Even without the title update, the game is undeniably stunning on next-gen consoles. Indeed, as Associate Producer Sylvain Trottier suggests, some players might not even be able to tell the difference. That’s because the game, as shipped, is being rendered on next-gen at a resolution that’s very close to 1080p (900p, if you’re curious), and the upscaling process barely adjusts the image.
“If it’s running at 720p vs 1080p, you’re going to notice the difference, by far,” Trottier explains. “But if it’s set at a resolution that’s very close, where most of the pixels are already there in internal processing, most people won’t see any difference.” Those who can spot the differences might note that the game would be, in some very subtle ways, slightly less crisp but a tiny bit smoother.
But why ship at 900p in the first place? To meet an essential goal: deliver a visually brilliant game at a steady 30 frames per second (the industry gold standard for open-world games). Finishing the game at 900p gave the development team the extra room in terms of the GPU and CPU usage to ensure the framerate never dips below 30 frames per second. The team then used the time between the ship date and the release to focus on a title update that could deliver native 1080p resolution on the PS4.
But they didn’t stop there.
“The most important part of this title update is not necessarily 1080p native resolution,” Trottier smiles. “It’s the fact that even when we were done with the project, even when we were finished with the certification and everything else, even when most of the engineers had started to work on other projects – like we always do at Ubisoft – some of my engineers continued to work on Black Flag and they even developed a brand-new anti-aliasing technique.” (Anti-aliasing is a technique used to diminish the occasional appearance of jagged edges in computer-generated graphics.)
Indeed, along with the full 1080p native resolution, the visuals have been improved even further, simply because the engineers knew that with the additional time they could do even more. So they did. And now, not only will you see every single miniscule pixel in glorious 1080p native resolution on the PS4 – exactly as the artists rendered it – but you’ll also see an even cleaner, clearer and more brilliant moving image than anyone even imagined. (Pay special attention to finer details like the ropes on the ships if you want to get an eyeful of what we’re talking about.) And the best news for gamers on the latest next-gen systems? This anti-aliasing technique will be available for both PS4 and Xbox One.