Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate’s PC release is imminent and scheduled for the 19th November worldwide. Compared to previous titles, this is a fairly brief delay and raises questions about the studio’s ability to create an optimized port. Back in August, Sam Kovalev, Studio Production Manager at Ubisoft Kiev proclaimed:
“We have introduced several new improvements to our production pipeline and validation process, which allowed us to focus on polishing, stabilizing and optimizing the PC version very early on in the project,”
“This has been one of the top priorities for the production team this year.”
“The additional four weeks are for us to really bear down and finalize all of the polish and optimization, to make sure the game and all of its systems are stable when it launches, so it runs smoothly for all players starting on day one,”
Without trying to sound too cynical, PC gamers have heard similar promises before and experienced poor scaling across a wide range of hardware. Thankfully, just before release, a video has emerged which provides an insight into the game’s performance. The video was originally found by Twitter user @RobotBrush who was kind enough to share the technical analysis:
AssSssss | PC Gameplay | GTX 970 https://t.co/E3aJJZRu65
— lashman (@RobotBrush) November 17, 2015
The test system in question revolves around a GTX 970 played at a resolution of 1920×1080. This is a fairly popular configuration among hardware enthusiasts and shouldn’t encounter any major problems when aiming for 60 frames-per-second. To test system performance, every setting was turned up to maximum and recorded with two pieces of monitoring software. MSI Afterburner and FRAPS were both used to determine GPU utilization and frame-rate. Although, having both of these running simultaneously might have impacted on performance.
Nevertheless, during indoor sections, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate hovers around the 40-45 frames-per-second mark which is pretty disappointing albeit playable. However, once the player moves to outdoor environments containing large crowds, the frame-rate suddenly drops to around 30 and can get as low as 23. Initially, I thought the dramatic change could be a result of low GPU usage, but the MSI Afterburner clearly shows 99% utilization.
Theoretically, the disappointing performance could be improved after a release-date patch but this is still not an ideal situation. Additionally, if a GTX 970 cannot attain over 30 frames-per-second in densely populated areas, how will 2560×1440, 3440×1440 or 4K users be able to reach a playable frame rate?