We want more detail, we want more effects, we want more stunning worlds, we want them in 4K, and we want them at 60 FPS. The myriad expectations of technological improvement are often at odds with one another, forcing developers to play a balancing act when it comes to allocating resources. There’s bound to be a lot more of this sort of discussion as we start to see more next-gen games, but for now, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is one of the upcoming games that we know the most about, and so that’s the one we’re looking at. And right now it’s got itself a bit of a framerate controversy.
In a statement given to IGN, Ubisoft says that Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla will run at at least 30 FPS on Xbox Series X:
“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will run at a minimum of 30 FPS. On Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, we are committed to offer the best experience to our players by immersing them in the most beautiful worlds and environments we could create, and leveraging not only the graphics enhancements offered by the next generation of consoles, but also faster loading times and the new architectures.”
I’m not sure how set in stone this all sounds. The statement sounds like hedging—November is a long way away, and it’s possible that the team will be able to push performance up to 60 FPS by that point, or to include the sorts of performance and resolution options that we’ve become accustomed to with the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. But it also sounds like Ubisoft is not able to definitively say that at this point, which is why it’s pointing out all the other nice things you can do with the Series X.
It dovetails, sort of, with what Microsoft has been saying about its console. Essentially, people expect 4K and 60 FPS as standard from something as powerful as the Series X, and Microsoft would love to deliver. But those decisions are ultimately up to developers, not the platform holder.
We’ll see what happens, but it doesn’t worry me all that much. 60 FPS is more or less a necessity in a twitchy shooter, but it doesn’t bother me all that much in a slower experience like an Assassin’s Creed. It’s nice to have, for certain, and I’ll always choose a higher framerate over 4K resolution. But at the end of the day, it’s not make or break for me.