Assassin’s Greed

By Alec Meer on January 22nd, 2008 at 9:44 pm.

METAPHOR

One title that’s not currently on our Big Games Of 2008 Wot We Should Post Many Words About list is Assassin’s Creed. Mostly that’s because it’s already available on console, and across the sinister mass of the internet you’ll find many a proferred opinion on it, filled with love, hate, hate towards people who love it, hate towards people who hate it or, most commmonly, bitching about its cutscenes. Judging by regular mentions in our threads, it’s a game that causes strong feelings amongst you lot too, so perhaps you don’t need us to give you the skinny on this one. But you do still need us, right? Right?

Also, we really don’t know whether there’ll be much, if anything, different about the impending PC port. Until now. The first truly concrete piece of information’s just in, and it’s a stonker. The minimum system requirements for it are, well, a little shocking.

Processor: Dual core processor 2.6 GHz Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ or better recommended)

RAM: 2 GB (3 GB recommended)

Video Card: 256 MB DirectX 10.0–compliant video card or DirectX 9.0–compliant card with Shader Model 3.0 or higher (512 MB video card recommended)

(Source, 2, 3)

The most demanding PC game ever? Quite possibly. Seeing a dual core CPU as a stone-cold must-have is unusual enough, but the bit I keep staring at in disbelief is “3GB recommended.” Oh Em Gee. 2GB’s only just becoming the accepted RAM stickage for a new PC, but who has three bloody gigs of the stuff? (Um. Except me. But I nicked mine from mates who work on hardware mags). Thinking about this, I had a flashback to the glory days of Planetside. There was something like outrage amongst my peers that the game needed a whole gigabyte of RAM to run well – some felt it was an obscene amount of memory to have, a crazy luxury, like underwear made of diamond.

I can think of two reasons for this ridiculous hardware asking price. One (the obvious one) – the game simply hasn’t been optimised for PC. It smacks of someone just pulling the big Port lever and then slapping it straight onto a disc without spit’n'polishing it up for non-360/PS3 hardware. Why? The game’s picked up a bit of a bad rep in some quarters; perhaps there’s been a decision that PC sales will be too minimal as a result to justify the time and extent of making the port scaleable to lower-end systems. Or perhaps focus-grouping has suggested only very dedicated PC gamers, those with the flashiest graphics cards and ultra-RAM, are interested in Assassin’s Creed. Or calculation had it that cost of reworking the engine significantly outweighs potential profit. Or maybe it’s the more traditional excuses of piracy (on that note, here’s a Call of Duty 4 developer expressing his dismay at piracy levels) and flagging PC sales. Perhaps all of the above. If minimal optimisation is to blame, I’d doubt it was a decision made lightly, at any rate.

Two – This version of the game is vastly more beautiful and silky-smooth than its already gorgeous console cousin. It’s going to fill every last byte of those three gigs with untold wonders, and denying the game to the mere 63% of gamers with less than 2Gb RAM was deemed worth the sacrifice to make this happen.

Hmm.

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64 Comments »

  1. RiptoR says:

    * Maybe the viewdistance ingame will be better than in the console versions, requiring large amounts of data to be cached to reduce framedrops.
    * Or insanely detailed textures.
    * Or no loading whatsoever (except when starting the game), and just one big continous world to explore.

    Any combination of the above could help explain the requirements. Not that my own rig will have a problem with those requirements…

  2. Janek says:

    Wow. That’s.. quite excessive.

    Which is a real shame because Ubi Montreal’s games (Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia etc) have traditionally had an exceptional ratio of prettiness to performace, even on lower-end PCs.

    I am sad. Definitely looks like a half-arsed port. Although I guess at least they’re honest.

  3. Yhancik says:

    Quite excessive indeed, but will it ever equal (relatively) the DX10 requirement for Halo 2 ? :p

  4. Chris R says:

    I really wanted to get this for PC, just so I could run about the city, “faffing about” as Yahtzee put it. I usually have the most fun in GTA just rampaging around the city, with no clear goal in mind, other than “Don’t get caught by the cops.” Was really looking forward to doing that in “Faffing-about Creed”…. hopefully I still can and it’s Number 2 that is the reason for the crazy requirements.

  5. Dracko says:

    Considering the hype and console popularity, wouldn’t they want to make this game as accessible as possible, not just to die-hards? It reeks of poor optimisation to me.

    Well, the war of graphical bedazzlement isn’t over yet, either way.

  6. Raptornas says:

    Oh this can just get stuffed, I was quite looking forward to playing this but my Rig which isn’t shabby by a long standard just doesn’t have that kind of Ram owing to a slight shortage or money during the build.

    I barely have enough time for games these days anyway and when developers try and make peoples life difficult its just not worth it so if these are true quite frankly they can just step off.

  7. Dracko says:

    I’m going to go with something now that you mention it, Raptornas, because it doesn’t seem to be uncommon: It seems that among many Western developers there’s a developing trend towards short and sweet games now. How far do you reckon this has to do with a now grown audience which may be perceived not to have as much time to spare as when they were kids or teens?

  8. Kevlmess says:

    I don’t want to sound overly cynical but I really seem to be out of choices:

    It’s a Ubisoft port, all right.

  9. Dan Forever says:

    I was putting off getting this for 360 as I wanted it for PC…but hearing this news has raised doubts :(

  10. Evo says:

    …./shakes head in despair :(

  11. Matthew Gallant says:

    Assassin’s Creed was better than most people give it credit for, but it wasn’t good enough to justify this kind of upgrade!

  12. The_B says:

    Assasins Creed 2 for PC Minimum Requirements:

    A Holy Grail

  13. Chis says:

    This is excessive? It’s 2008, gentlemen. A Pentium DC E2160 can be bought for less than £50 and overclocked reliably to 2.7GHz (I have done this with my games PC – it works as long as you have a good air cooler). 2GB of DDR2 RAM costs less than £30. These are conservative prices, I’m sure eBay has them even cheaper.

    I’d agree with comments like “badly-coded port” – there’s been more than enough of those to go around – but really… this sort of spec doesn’t cost very much. (Easy to go nuts on a graphics card though…)

  14. The_B says:

    I think the outrage at cost is a little niave to be honest Chis. Sure, relatively the cost of a hardware upgrade may not be that expensive, but cost is not the only reason people don’t wish to upgrade, a lot of people may be scared or not know how, and then there’s just the outright inconvience of it just to play one game. Perhaps it would be fair enough if more games used this spec by this point but quite frankly they don’t, and the majority of gamers I would hazard to guess have a spec roughly around the mid end the Peggle to Crysis scale. It’s both financially a rather silly move, and practically.

  15. Leelad says:

    Wiki page as a definite source…surely not.

    I’ll believe it when it’s official.

  16. Alan Au says:

    Poor projected sales on the PC? Sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy to me.

  17. Leelad says:

    Actually not wanting to appear too much of a cynical prick I though i best look at the reference for the source of the wiki..

    leads Here

    Any one know Japanese??

  18. Pwnzerfaust says:

    I’m sorry, Chris, but a PC that will last you for more than a year isn’t exactly a drop in the bucket for most people. Sure, a pretty good processor and an extra gig or so of RAM doesn’t cost that much, but a lot of people don’t need just those components; like myself, a good deal of people I know build a whole new system from the ground up once every four or so years, and that’s an investment of around £500. Adding bits and pieces can get you through those four years or so, but a lot of people’s systems are starting to lag behind with the unprecidented rush of new tech coming out all at once and they simply don’t have the money for such a comprehensive system overhaul.

    I’m not sure what you do for a living, but I certainly don’t have the money for a new graphics card, processor, and stick of RAM.

  19. NegativeZero says:

    Maybe they’ve added lots of new lines of dialogue so that the whole game won’t feel like I’m doing exactly the same thing repeatedly.

  20. Chis says:

    Perhaps you don’t, Pwnzer. I’m simply trying to cool the air around here a bit: I’m not suggesting that a whole new PC just to play Assassin’s Creed is necessarily “cheap” or a financially easy/sensible decision to make. But a lot of people shout about needing £2000+ rigs to play games like this, Crysis, UT3 etc… it simply isn’t true for the latter two games, though obviously it remains to be seen with Assassin’s Creed the specs don’t seem all that outrageous to me.

    Intel are being pretty competitive with their dual core CPU prices, so in the big scheme of things building a system to the specs given in this article is NOT as expensive as some are assuming.

    I’d certainly agree, though, that Nvidia are resting on their laurels at the moment. There is demand for faster GPU’s than even an 8800 Ultra, and what is their response? A dual-GPU solution. Now that will be expensive and won’t necessarily give the extra horsepower you’d expect.

  21. terry says:

    512mb for graphics card seems very steep imo. Although I have one (cough) I don’t think I’ve seen a game that appears to use it all. As for the CPU and RAM requirements, I might as well be using donkeys and carts to carry 1′s and 0′s. I won’t scream “lazy ubisoft! bad porting! no biscuit!” until the requirements appear on something more reliable than Wikipedia, however.

  22. Garth says:

    “2GB of DDR2 RAM costs less than £30.”
    Except for say here in Canada, where it’s closer to 100-150 dollars.

  23. Grant Gould says:

    This sort of foolishness is exactly why I’m giving up on the PC for high-end gaming. Consoles are at least reference standards, and cheaper than the upgrade treadmill to boot.

  24. Chis says:

    Except for say here in Canada, where it’s closer to 100-150 dollars.

    I didn’t mention that I was looking at prices for Corsair PC2-5400 DDR2. Move up to PC2-6400 and, understandably, it ups the price a little further. (About £40 for a 2x1GB kit of “base mid-range” TwinX)

  25. malkav11 says:

    I paid $300 for my DDR2 RAM (or near enough). It *was* the 800 mhz stuff that was top of the line at the time, though – RAM, unlike CPU or GPU or motherboard, is worth splurging on because it can last you a long, long time…this is the first time I’ve ever replaced my RAM.

  26. Hobbes2099 says:

    And people complained about a US $600 console…

  27. Alex says:

    This sort of foolishness is exactly why I’m giving up on the PC for high-end gaming.

    I can see why anyone would say that.

    Sadly, it’s this kind of foolishness that’s really driving PC gaming into the ground – if you look at the possible install base, it’s huge, but most of that possible audience has a mid-level rig at best. Some games do make use of that fact (WoW, The Sims) and they become quite succesful.

    I’m not saying there shouldn’t be room for the occasional title that tries to push graphical boundaries, but these days it seems that all new PC games start shouting about graphics before anything else.

  28. Garth says:

    If Developers would realise that we want games that are fun, not games with fucking bloom this would be far less of a problem.

  29. DigitalSignalX says:

    I have to agree with Leelad that wiki’s source can’t be verified, and that these very high specs are suspect till I read it on a Ubisoft release, not a publicly edited site.

    However, if they do end up being accurate, and you take into account BOTH

    a) the preponderance of horrible (or what I call lazy developer syndrome) ported titles from consoles to PC’s

    b) Occams Razor

    Then like you suggested, the most likely reason is simply too much time and effort would be required to optimize it for the PC at a lower minimum spec. Ubisoft = Fail.

  30. Frosty840 says:

    Well, the console wars are currently proving that devs don’t port worth a damn. Look at all the horrific PS3 ports of games in the last 18 months or so.
    Expecting them to do any better for us poor, beleaguered PC gamers is a bit much, I think.
    ::continues to prophesy the death of the PC game. For real this time, too :/ ::

  31. Matt says:

    It is strange that the game needs these specs when the XBox doesn’t have them. I assume the RAM is due to the free roaming nature of the game and large areas? I haven’t played it yet but it looks that way. For a game that already came out on a console and got fair but not amazing reviews Ubisoft have got their work cut out convincing people to upgrade to buy. For me to upgrade to more than 2gb of RAM I’d need to upgrade my OS too, as I’m still on XP32.

    Perhaps they just go for the slow sell with these things, hoping sales will keep ticking along as systems improve, or perhaps it just is another terible PC port by Ubisoft who certainly have a reputation for poor PC support and bad ports from consoles. I used to play R6:V quite a bit and though there were no game-breaking problems for me the forums used to be full of infuriated people, frustrated by the lack of support.

    Hopefully if they plan to release the game with such high requirements they will release a good demo and make sure people know about it. One of the only reasons I knew Crysis would run well on my computer was the demo.

  32. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    well, still not official as far as i know, but these specs are popping up in a few other places, apparently from ubi. but who knows. not that it bothers me, its just GTA: Jerusalem as far as i can tell anyway. and i haven’t liked any of the post psx GTA’s at all.

  33. Nick says:

    It’s Ubisoft.. what the fuck do you expect, a quality port job? The don’t give two shits about PC customers and I’m starting to get fed up with the useless bastards.

    Thankfully the game sounds like it turned out to be a bit of over over hyped rubbish anyway.

  34. ɹǝʌo llǝɟ ı poƃ ʎɯ ɥo says:

    @Nick: Overhyped, yes. Rubbish, no. Good, but not great.

    It’s wallowing in a mire of games that fared better than mediocrity, but not by much.

    That said, those specs are obscene, especially when you compare it to the specs of the two-year-old 360 or an even less powerful PS3, on it runs perfectly and acceptably respectively.

  35. Nick says:

    Well, I shall wait and see what the reviews of the port are like, I’m glad they released RESI 4 on the Wii (and did an excellent job of it too – the control system was wonderful despite what that idiot on eurogamer claimed) as I was awaiting it for the PC untill they released the godawful shitfest of a port for it.

  36. The_B says:

    I think what’s worse is that games like Guitar Hero and the Spinter Cell series have proven that ports can be done well (or at least, I’ve not heard of that many people for whom GH3 did not run absolutely fine with the requirements, err….required.)

    In most respects it reeks of laziness, but the fact they keep repeating the same laziness time and time again does raise the question: do they know this is happening, or are the sales proving otherwise?

  37. James says:

    AC on the PC will probably play best with a gamepad (like Splinter Cell — but moreso because it requires no twitch aiming) which sort of begs the question; why not play it on the 360? Any serious gamer has one, it’ll likely be half the price once the port hits, and it’s oh-so-very-nearly bug free (which is more than can be said for the Ubi ports). Plus, Acre looks lush on a 42 incher.

    On the backlash — ironically, that itself is hype about the hype. There was realistically one main criticism the game faced: the side missions were too repetitive (a la 500 Taxi-driver missions in GTA). Obviously that’s a major concern for a game that’s 90% foreplay, but AC is as much about breath-taking sight-seeing and immersion as it is about stabbing people in the face. You can say K2 is boring because it’s just a big mountain without any casinos, brothels or neon signs, but simplicity has its beauty.

    Assassin’s Creed is not Grand Theft Auto.

  38. The_B says:

    As for the game itself: I found it a rather entertaining distraction on the 360 when I played it on my brother’s 360 over Christmas. Not really following the consolses as much as the PC I can’t say I really came across as much of the hype (although admittedly I try not to get caught up in too much hype anyway) but I thought it was a decent enough stealth/action game, with the stealth diluted just enough ao those not really that good at it (eg: me) can play through while enough impressive looking things to make me exclaim a couple of times.

    It does get a little repetative mind, and the future aspect of the game is entirely superflous to requirements, even if it would set up the story of the trilogy for them.

  39. Mike says:

    I think you’ll start seeing multicore processors as the minimum requirement on more and more multiplatform titles in the future.

    It seems games developers are recognising that to squeeze the most out of the current gen consoles they genuinely have to take advantage of their multicore chips. And they’re not going to drastically change their code paths for a platform that’ll likely take the smallest slice of the sales.

    Besides, the exclusion of single CPUs is just a particularly defined overhang in the eternal, inexorable climb of minimum specs in games.

    As for the RAM, it’s become a ridiculously affordable upgrade, though there’s basically no excuse for a 2GB min spec.

  40. Kieron Gillen says:

    In passing, it’s noting that the PS3 version is a bit famed for not running that well either.

    “A patch is apparently forthcoming to fix ‘freezing problems’ but of far more consequence would be a complete optimisation of the game engine. While the 360 game drops the odd frame here and there, by and large it’s refreshing at a steady 30fps. Not so with PS3 where even the most basic action on-screen sends the refresh rate tumbling dramatically. While the detail levels and texture quality appear to be identical cross-format (though PS3 has harsher contrast), the Sony machine employs a different anti-aliasing method than 360. The result is softer edges (good) but an unnecessary blur that masks a lot of the intricate detail you’ll find on Xbox 360. The blurring effect is amplified still further should you play in 1080p, which I strongly recommend you avoid if your display accepts standard 720p – as all ‘HD Ready’ sets do.”
    http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=88461&page=3

    KG

  41. Alec Meer says:

    Hmm. I played through AC on PS3, and I can’t say I ever noticed “even the most basic action on-screen sends the refresh rate tumbling dramatically.” Performance was fine, but it was buggy – occasional lock-up, and the floor turned transparent once in a while.

  42. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    “why not play it on the 360? Any serious gamer has one.”

    !!!!! I take issue with this. Especially on a PC gaming website. If you have a gaming PC, I can’t see any reason why a “serious” gamer would desperately need a 360, apart from if they were desperate to play Crackdown or Dead Rising. Both good games admittedly, but I would hardly say one is not a serious gamer for lack of playing them.

  43. Kieron Gillen says:

    Just quoting what lots of people say. While EG may be egging the pudding, over at QT3, one of their designers – Charles, who occasionally posts here – noted that the PS3 performance *is* worse*, as they – to paraphrase – spent less money on it.

    KG

    *There was initially a mixture of reviews, with one claiming PS3 performance was better.

  44. Alec Meer says:

    I’ve not tried the 360 version, so dunno if that’s a comparatively smoother play – the PS3 one certainly isn’t some juddering mess, is all.

  45. ɹǝʌo llǝɟ ı poƃ ʎɯ ɥo says:

    @John P:

    No, I think he’s right. In general, I would prefer to play console games on a console. And AC is a console game.

    The half-assed nature of console->PC ports suggests that the developers think similarly.

  46. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Well, I wasn’t having a go at the 360 – it’s a great console. And i’m sure this will play better on the 360. I was just saying I don’t see why you can’t be a “serious” gamer without owning one. For starters, it doesn’t even have Deus Ex!!

  47. James says:

    !!!!! I take issue with this. Especially on a PC gaming website. If you have a gaming PC, I can’t see any reason why a “serious” gamer would desperately need a 360, apart from if they were desperate to play Crackdown or Dead Rising. Both good games admittedly, but I would hardly say one is not a serious gamer for lack of playing them.

    In the same way you can’t be a serious petrol-head if you’ve only ever driven one car.

  48. ɹǝʌo llǝɟ ı poƃ ʎɯ ɥo says:

    Ah, no. If you’re a serious gamer, you should have at least one of each of the current generation, clearly.

    Although, that said, you can skip the PSP if you want since its relevance to gaming seems nonexistent.

    Since I don’t (yet) have a PS3 and my PC is currently in intensive care, this makes me a gaming cripple.

    Ho hum.

    Anyway, if you don’t have a 360 then you can’t have played Mass Effect, and that makes you a silly sausage.

  49. AbyssUK says:

    no no your all mistaken.. these are the requirements for the Vista service pack, its new memory management system is top notch!

  50. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    Well, I don’t have a 360, No game on it since its been out has grabbed my interest at all, that I couldn’t play on PC. Hell, I never even owned a SNES, which is arguably the greatest console system ever invented. On the other hand, I’m the guy people come to when they wanna try out a PC game, so I guess I’d have to call myself a serious gamer.

    Also, slightly more on topic, the AssCreed specs list a 360 controller as ‘recommended hardware’ on some longer lists.