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Ubisoft: ACIV Development Much Easier On Next-Gen Consoles

Think it's harder to develop games for the fancy new consoles, as compared to the current systems? Ubisoft says flatly, "nope."

While one might assume that it'd be relatively easy to develop a game for consoles that have been around for six and seven years, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag game director Ashraf Ismail told eager Reddit questioners that in fact, developing the latest AC installment on the PS3 and 360 was "very difficult and even nightmarish."

On the flip side, creating the game for the PS4 and Xbox One was all smooth sailing (pun intended). This was primarily because the new consoles are "very similar to PCs," which resulted in this:

"Best game development experience of my career. Team was great, production was the smoothest I've ever seen, no one got burned doing overtime and super proud of the result! Its been absolutely wonderful. 2.5 years to make a game is perfect! Longer than 3 years can start wearing a person down."

Ismail added that there were a few hurdles because Sony and Microsoft weren't 100% certain about the requirements for the new consoles. "They were trying to figure them out themselves," Ismail said. But that's to be expected with new hardware and beyond that, the development process was "super smooth." Well, that's great news because Black Flag turned out really well on the PS3...now I'm salivating to get into the PS4 version!

Tags: assassins creed iv black flag, aciv black flag, ubisoft, assassins creed sequel

11/5/2013 9:29:49 PM John Shepard

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Comments (38 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, November 05, 2013 @ 10:23:27 PM
Reply

Ubisoft never was a very good technical developer.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, November 05, 2013 @ 10:47:05 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYqLeBrN1fc

nonsense world, that's just nonsense =p

5:20 is good ;)
6:19 is pretty good too ;)

Last edited by Temjin001 on 11/5/2013 10:54:09 PM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 5:20:32 AM

That's nonsense, man. Anyone - and I do mean *anyone* without exceptions - that delivers tripple A after tripple A releases are very skilled at what they do.
Had they not been technically good they'd gone the safe, standard linear route with their games. Open world games are *the* most complex thing to create.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 9:29:54 AM

I'm talking about the technicals, like not solving a crippling framerate issue for 4 games in a row.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 11:05:32 AM

Open-world games are NOT the most complex to create. It's just a lot of size, and it takes a lot of skill to jam that much size and detail onto a system. That's merely one form of development ability, Beamboom.

You can call linear "safe and standard" all you want. See, they actually require a STORY and CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, which, to me, make the challenge of creating a bunch of different mountains and houses look like child's play. I see one as art, the other as a technical skill, and I care much more about one than the other.

I appreciate all forms of skill, of course, but to make something like Uncharted requires MUCH more in the way of a diverse development team with varying skillsets, as opposed to say a Bethesda team making an Elder Scrolls game.

You know what I see as easy? Make a game as big and involved as you can, but ignore any need for a narrative because nobody will care. Then, hide behind the, "oh, you just make the story yourself as you go along" to avoid the necessary artistic side, and then get praised for having really detailed buildings and ten million side quests - and even main quests - that don't seem to mean anything.

Do you know why you don't often see games with stories like Bioshock Infinite and Beyond: Two Souls? Part of it is because people these days have the attention span of a gnat, and they just want the freedom to run around in circles and do whatever they want. The other part is because it's very, very difficult to produce GOOD STORIES. Any studio with significant technical skill can make a big open-world game. Without a very special writer, a linear production fails.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 11/6/2013 11:10:12 AM

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Temjin001
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 11:18:29 AM

beamboom I wouldn't write off linear as easier so quickly. linear may be more procedural but developers aren't sitting their with less to do because of it. No, they're filling that time with very complex rigging and 'set pieces' that are custom implemented to linear duration. I can't name a single open world game that tries to do as much with such things as something like Uncharted does. It's really a different fundamental approach to game design for both camps and it's hard for me to claim one route is so much more superior to another.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 1:24:41 PM

Ben that's why I agree with you 100% on the 8 you gave Beyond: Two Souls. Even though I can see why some gave it the much lower scores, when one deals with something that is like 80-90% narrative implementation I think a critic must make adjustments.

Frankly it drives me up the wall that we don't see more games like Bioshock, to my mind it's so easy to improve on video game stories that it boggles me why so few do it. Most of the time we don't seem that far away from Mario rescuing a kidnapped princess.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 1:43:12 PM

We're in a potentially dangerous trend right now that simply translates to "bigger is better." And the bigger it is and the more freedom we have, the less story will be considered important.

I also find it funny that people bash games like Beyond for having a story that is sub-standard when compared to movies or books. Of course, it's vastly superior compared to other GAMES but that somehow falls by the wayside. There's a contingent now that's basically trying to convince people that any game with a story is trying to be a movie, or some such nonsense, and the LESS story it has, the MORE of a "video game" it is.

As I say, dangerous.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 2:21:38 PM

Uhm Ben, the topic here is technical skills, not writing skills or narrative.
Quoting, "Ubisoft never was a very good technical developer." --> TECHNICAL <--
That's the post I reply to.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/6/2013 2:21:58 PM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 2:38:41 PM

@Temjin: Oh by all means, there are *obviously* incredibly skilled developers also on the more linear releases. I mean, come on. Of course there are.

But if you set a technically lesser skilled development team to work on a game they will be muich better off choosing a linear execution than to make something open-ended, simply because the gamers actions wil be a lot more predictable. It's the many unknowns that comes at play in open world games that makes the complexity (basically you as a developer will never know exactly what will happen).

And again - I am now only, *only* talking from a technical perspective, not artistic or any other perspective.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/6/2013 2:46:42 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 3:36:54 PM

Even from a purely technical standpoint, I don't agree that open-world games are that much more complex to create. To get them to look good and run properly is more of a challenge, certainly, but there are technical hurdles linear adventures face that open-world games don't.

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Akuma07
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 8:42:15 PM

I don't really think it is fair to say that Naughty Dog are more skilled developers than other AAA studios.

I also don't think that the Uncharted series are more technically complex than an open-world game.

To say that open-world games are not that complex is nonsense, and comes from a lack of understanding.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 8:45:42 PM

beanboom if you're saying it's easier for, say, an indie dev to create something like Super Meat Boy than say (insert lower cost open world game here... two worlds?) then I suppose I could agree. That being because the scope of a linear game can be very constrained and very limited, much like classic side scrollers or atari games from many years past. But at the premium level I think it really is in the context of the developers ambition.
There are also the pseudo genre offerings like Mass Effect. Where there's a core overarching plot but within that plot there are many many sub plots that creates for a very episodic experience, usually for building relationships and the acquisition of more experience and resources. The game goes from a more open world feeling game to narrowed missions that take on linear mission design. It's like a pseudo offering of linearity and open world that seems to work pretty well. Though, I will say, Mass Effect's linear set pieces and specialized rigging and events don't come close to something like Uncharted.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 11/6/2013 8:47:27 PM

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Beamboom
Thursday, November 07, 2013 @ 4:05:27 AM

@Temjin;
That's exactly what I mean, Temmy. A linear execution leads to fewer unknown variables, it really can be put that easy. Rule of thumb is that the easier events are to define the easier they are to code.
There's a reason why indie games are pretty much all linear, classic game designs. As you too point out, it is because it is a lot less complex by the very design of the software.

You mention Mass Effect, and BioWare's games are interesting in these respects. On the contrary to what many say I don't see them as very open at all, they are just very well camouflaged linear games. That goes for everything BioWare has done, it's their trademark.

BioWares main skill is the writing/narrative/cinematic elements of the games, not the technical elements. Their games are pretty basic from a pure technical point of view. It's just very well packaged, an effective vehicle for their stories.
And just for the record, BioWare is my favourite developer of all time, hands down even.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/7/2013 4:09:12 AM

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Akuma07
Tuesday, November 05, 2013 @ 10:46:41 PM
Reply

If development was so much easier because the consoles are more like PC's. Then why is the PC version always delayed?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, November 05, 2013 @ 11:03:40 PM

Publishers have decided that to maximize their profits they want to have the versions that are much more difficult to pirate (console)out first and for a decent period of time. People who have a PC rig and a console are less likely to just get it free then.

Once the hype has died down and passions are low they quietly release the PC version at a more fair price point to minimize the overall effect of piracy on game sales.

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firesoul453
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 1:41:59 AM

While these are closer to being PCs than last gen they are not PCs.

Plus PCs don't have standard hardware.

Last edited by firesoul453 on 11/6/2013 1:42:15 AM

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___________
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 2:31:44 AM

world, you do realize that pirating a PC game is actually allot harder than consoles right?
ps3 and 360 just take your system into a mod shop and they will install custom FW for you, or hell get them to install a ODE, optical drive emulator, so you can pirate games to your hearts content!
no CD keys, no internet authorization, no security checks, no nothing!
all PC games even have little programs built into them which check if you have registered a legit CD key, if not the game removes certain features.
arkham series for instance batmans cape wont open, skyrim every time you use the quick travel map the game crashes.
console games have no such protection.
not to mention 99% of pirate sites are infested with viruses.
i pissed myself laughing the other day when a GTAV PC leak turned up, and millions of people were complaining about it being infected.
seriously?
come on, NO ONE can be THAT stupid!
no such problem with consoles.
its a hell of allot harder to pirate games on PC than on consoles!

$$$$$$$ is why.
pissed myself laughing the other day when one of the first ACIV reviews was actually a review of the PC version of the game!
the version which is still suppose to be in development and not releasing till a month later.
i even sent their support team a email with the link to that review surprise surprise i havent received a reply.
god i hate ubisoft..........


Last edited by ___________ on 11/6/2013 2:38:03 AM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 5:17:39 AM

It's not delayed for technical reasons. There are politics/business strategy involved.

And underline, it's far far faaaaaar easier to just download a cracked version of a game than it is to mod your console (with all the hassle that follows afterwards, especially when you want to install a legitimate copy later that checks system version). It's not even comparable. Not by a long shot.

So World is of course right. They are juicing the money from the platforms with the least piracy first.

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___________
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 7:50:30 AM

right, so downloading CFW chucking it on a USB stick and installing it as normal FW, than downloading multiman or any other backup loader and installing games to the HDD and bobs your uncle, is far harder than downloading cracked versions of games, defeating the CD key checks, disinfecting your PC from the viruses it gave you, then putting up with the anti piracy measures the games employ.
whatever.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 9:31:41 AM

BTW that isn't just me talking, grumblings from developers have been saying this for awhile now, they just can't go public with anti-piracy being their purpose for delays because it is a PR nightmare.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 2:24:08 PM

Underline, have you modded your PS3? I believe you imagine it's far easier than it actually is to keep a modded console running, unless you isolate the machine and just let it run in it's own little bubble.

And trust you me, I know what it implies to get pirated software to run on a Windows computer. You are exaggerating the procedure to the extreme.
Oh how I wish you could let *some* nuances into your post (and general living). It would make your posts so much more interesting to read.

@World: You are of course right. Piracy has been a major threat to PC gaming for years. However I've read some articles indicating that things have turned for the better the later years, undeniably at least partially because of digital distribution (read: Steam) making legal copies that much more accessible (and often cheaper).

Last edited by Beamboom on 11/6/2013 2:33:28 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 3:28:23 PM

I fully modded my Xbox 1, it's a freakin beast now. I can even run Killer Instinct Arcade emu, some PS1 games, and the great N64 games on that sucker. Buuuuuuut that thing never touches the internet and I did it all myself with minimal knowledge, modding a PS3 looks like a nightmare.

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___________
Thursday, November 07, 2013 @ 9:12:00 AM

indeed i have, still do so i can run all the emulators i want.
ever since the 4+ keys leaked every time $ony releases a FW update several days later its repacked for CFW.
running CFW is exactly the same is running standard, so how exactly is it so difficult to keep it running?
im sorry you still havent pointed to a SINGLE thing that makes it so difficult.
by all means if find it brain surgory to download a .pup file onto a USB stick, and install it, and install .pkg files onto a USB stick and install them from the XMB.
if thats so difficult, well, said person needs their head looking at!
hell a friend of mines about as tech savy as a brain dead ant and even he managed to hack his ps3 and customize it to his liking.
im sorry but PC games have FAR more protection than console games do, FACT!
i dont see uncharted 3 removing game features because it detected its pirated, do you?

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Beamboom
Friday, November 08, 2013 @ 7:52:06 AM

It just isn't, Underline. Your attempt is adorable, but there's just no way to argue that it's easier to install an entire system and prepare the packages on USB and then transfer them to the hacked system, and keep your hacked system updated via alternative installs.

That is a *lot* more hassle than to just download a torrent, install it and press play. You just can't argue against that. Sorry sir.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/8/2013 7:53:03 AM

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___________
Friday, November 08, 2013 @ 8:56:10 AM

but you dont just download a torrent now do you?
and why are you making maintaining the CFW such a big deal?
so then i guess maintaining a OFW system is so difficult as well because it requires the same processes.
im done no point arguing to a mule.
PC games are FAR harder to pirate FACT!
first they have CD keys which cracking them is quite difficult, then theres the systems built into the game to detect this.
and what such features do console games offer?
no, really?
yea, thats what i thought.
PC games are FAR harder to pirate, FACT!

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Beamboom
Friday, November 08, 2013 @ 9:27:22 AM

*YOU* don't have to crack anything, you as a user just downloads what others have cracked for you. If that job is difficult or not is not something *you* relate to. The job is already done for you.

All you do as a regular user is to download the pirated software and install it, as you so perfectly well know. *Maybe* append a patch to it afterwards. How hard that piece of software were to crack in the first place is just of no relevance whatsoever to this discussion. What we discuss here is what's hardest for the users!

I just don't understand why you are so insistent on this. It's like you want to make believe that piracy never has been any issue on the PC platform cause it's so hard? I just don't see what you try to prove here.

Last edited by Beamboom on 11/8/2013 9:31:14 AM

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___________
Saturday, November 09, 2013 @ 8:42:40 AM

im trying to disprove the BS notion that piracy is such a issue on PC and not on consoles.
every time something happens to PC everyone says oh thats because of piracy which is bullsh*t!
take every big launch of this year, which version leaked first?
KZ 2 and 3 were on torrents MONTHS before release!
same goes for GoW judgement, GOW ascencion, and pretty much every big MP game.
only big release which managed to somehow avoid that was GTAV, but that still leaked albeit only a few days and that was because stupid best buy sold a few early copies as usual.

point is you cant just download the torrent and install it and bobs your uncle.
thats what you do on consoles, on PC you still need to look for fixes to the game specific files which most times never get fixed.
last time i checked no ones provided a fix for the batman games disabling batmans cape once the game detects it being pirated.
as ive said a billion times though now consoles have no such protection.

not to mention hacked PC games always run like sh*t!
i remember a friend of mine downloaded skyrim and hes got a far higher spec PC than me because its allot newer, and hes actually getting WORSE performance than me!
not only FPS wise, but his is constantly crashing as well.
pirated games always have stability issues to put up with as well, so not only do you have to stuff around to get it working in the first place, but then you have to find a way to circumvent the security procedures like batmans cape, then you have to put up with the performance dips, then you have to put up with the constant freezing and crashes!
consoles again have no such issue, no jumping through any hoops just download the game and play it like a normal game you purchased, and best of all its just as stable and smooth as the retail version because you havent adjusted or modified any of the files like hacked PC games do!

point being piracy on consoles download the game MONTHS before release, and enjoy!
PC download weeks before release if your lucky, then good luck finding solutions to the game specific security features.
therefor making pirating PC games FAR harder than pirating console games.


Last edited by ___________ on 11/9/2013 8:46:50 AM

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___________
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 2:41:04 AM
Reply

i dont think he means nightmarish because of the architecture, but nightmarish because they would of had to chop and change things to fit it on older systems.
one thing that really worries me, allot of next gen titles are cross gen.
so how do we know there truly next gen?
how do we know that thief 4 and co are not getting diminished because the developer wants to make as much cashola as possible?
the sooner this cross gen craze dies away the better!

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PlatformGamerNZ
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 3:23:44 AM
Reply

well thats gud to hear i wonder what they are developing right now for the next AC game next year as they are supposed to be going annual(which is stupid but)yea you have to wonder what they are doing along with ac4

happy gaming =)

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 3:44:57 AM
Reply

This is *exactly* why I've always been an advocate for standards: It makes for better, more stable software. The less they have to spend on making the bloody thing work, the more time (read: budget) they will have to implement stuff and tweak'n'optimize instead.

There once was a certain user around here who time and again argued against that and *totally* ignored the actual work involved with the hardware, but I tell ya: It's a reason why we see standards being established and winning through on all sides of the digital world today.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/6/2013 3:49:28 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 1:25:18 PM

What sort of standards are you referring to?

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Beamboom
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 2:28:10 PM

Well, any standard really, but in this case the Intel architecture Sony shifted to. That's the core of why it's beome this much easier for them.

But we see it everywhere else too, from multimedia and network protocols to connectors of various types (HDMI and Bluetooth being two good examples) to something as basic as chargers (microUSB).

Apple are typically the ones who are left fighting the standards now, but even they converted to the standard PC architecture some years ago.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 3:29:11 PM

Ah I see what you mean, like universal common sense stuff that doesn't result in bottlenecks.

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Beamboom
Thursday, November 07, 2013 @ 4:17:18 AM

From a developers point of view it is nothing but a massive pain in the ass to have to relate to multiple non-intercompatible ways of doing essentially the same.
And the more experience you gain in one way of solving something the better you get at doing it that way, and in practise that leads to better results than if a new technology is introduced that *theoretically* should make your product better, but in reality just hampers everything else.

HDMI is a good example in that it enables units from all various manufacturers to communicate with each other. Your Sony TV remote control can communicate with your Yamaha amplifier and your NAD dvd player now.

So even if an engineer at Sony could come up with a better way for your Sony TV to communicate with your SONY amplifier, the benefits for following a standard way of communicating greatly outweights the disadvantages of the HDMI limitations. If you catch my drifts.
That's what we see here now too, with the shift from Cell to X86.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/7/2013 4:17:34 AM

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ProfPlayStation
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 2:49:57 PM
Reply

Now watch Bethesda still deliver broken games to consoles and tell us to wait for the patch.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 @ 3:29:51 PM

yeah that's gonna happen no matter what I'm afraid, but where else can I get a game like Fallout or Skyrim?

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Beamboom
Thursday, November 07, 2013 @ 4:19:19 AM

I forgive Bethy everything if they deliver something on the level of Fallout 3 with the engine of Skyrim.

I'll forgive them every crash, every frame drop, everything. I... Need... My... Fallout. :)

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