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Assassin’s Creed IV: Differences Between PS4/Xbox One/PC and Old Generation Further Detailed

by on October 17, 2013 1:11 PM 61

During a conference held by Nvidia in Montreal we learned further details on the differences we’ll see in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag between the next generation versions (including PC) and the versions on previous generation consoles, introduced by Associate Producer Sylvain Trottier

According to the presenter all the technology has been created on PC first and then ported to the consoles, and next generation versions will include the following visual goodies:

  • Dynamic foliage (foliage will also be far denser and rendered at a longer distance).
  • Rain/Wet Surfaces with 3D rain and particles independently lit. Puddles will be created as it rains. Rain will move with the wind.
  • Parallax Occlusion mapping will make objects smoother.
  • Screen Space Reflections with full reflections on surfaces, like the ocean.
  • Volumetric Fog with fog rendered through locations, impacted by lighting.
  • Lighted particles with smoke from cannon fire lit up over distance, such as ships battling at night.
  • High Resolution textures.
  • HBAO ambient occlusion.
  • Improved shadows.
  • Motion blur, depth of field, lens flares, god rays, etc.

The following features will be on PC only:

  • HBAO+ ambient occlusion.
  • Improved soft shadows.
  • MSAA and TXAA Anti Aliasing. TXAA is exclusive to Nvidia cards.
  • Improved god rays.
  • 4K Resolution.

That’s quite a lot of visual goodness, and the difference will apparently be a lot bigger than what we initially expected. Personally, PC will be my version of choice. What are you going to play the game on?

Below you can see a few screenshots from the conference (you can zoom on each to enlarge), showcasing the differences. By the way, if you’re wondering, the only versions mentioned were PC, Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and Xbox 360. The Wii U version was not mentioned even once during the presentation.

Foliage – old gen


Foliage – next gen


Rain – old gen


Rain – next gen


No Parallax Occlusion mapping – old gen

With Parallax Occlusion mapping – next gen AC4_06

Reflections – old gen


Reflections – next gen


Volumetric fog – next gen only
AC4_09 AC4_10 AC4_11

No Ambient Occlusion – no version is like this, all versions have at least SSAO.


SSAO – old gen


HBAO+ – PC only (HBAO for PS4/Xbox One wasn’t shown)


Shadows – old gen


Improved Shadows – next gen


Improved Soft Shadows – PC only


And here are five additional screencaps of the environments within the game.

AC4_18 AC4_19 AC4_20 AC4_21 AC4_22

The details revealed at the conference were reported by user EatChildren on NeoGaf and then verified and further integrated.

Join the Discussion

  • Krakn3dfx

    When someone asks you if you’re a god, Ray, say yes.

    (not the exact quote, I know)

    • mike

      This deserved an upvote so much I saw it while exiting and came all the way back.

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    wait, 4K? NOT FAIR. what is difference between HBAO ambient occlusion and HBAO+ ambient occlusion? what is main difference between MSAA and TXAA? what is difference between god rays and improved god rays? why does PC have so much neat stuff?

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      HBAO+ is simply better than HBAO, explanation here:

      and here’s TXAA explained

      PC got so much stuff because it can go a lot higher with power.

      • eirik watz

        its not better if you have to explain why its better. toy should be able to just see it

        • Giuseppe Nelva

          Too bad that the differences he asked about are not shown.

        • Clifton Walton

          I guarantee it will be quite noticeable once you see it on your own display. Unless you’re one of those people who can’t even tell the difference between VHS and Blu-ray.

        • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

          no, it’s not better if it’s impossible to explain.

      • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

        awesome articles. they explain them perfectly. thanks.

    • bigevilworldwide

      what you mean for the 5 people with 4K Tvs…..You do realize that 4K resolution isn’t even a factor on consoles until 4K Tvs actually become affordable…Hell the only people that even have 4K computer monitors most likely are either pretty well off or live in their mom’s basement and have NO responsibilities or bills

      • Usman Khan

        i doubt it’ll be native 4k, graphics do look good but they far from even 1440p let alone 4k. just PR thing i guess

        • Jeffrey

          ALL PC games are native in their resolution as long as the monitor supports it.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            And as long as the video card(s) doesn’t melt :P

          • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

            wait, the cards can burn out also-not just the other hardware like GPU and CPU in your computer?

        • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

          well when you get your hands on 4K footage and lesser but high end footage that is closer to 1080p, use this as reference to see if the difference is as large as this.

      • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

        yeah I realized that. if they didn’t have responsibilities they wouldn’t have jobs, don’t you think? those who are well off are smart with their money and are getting in on their gaming glory with 4K monitors and not through inheritance. most likely in the next 2-3 years they will be more affordable…HD TVs caught on faster than people thought it would so why can’t we say the same for 4K?

        • steve

          it doesnt really matter how people get 4k monitors or tvs, man people are real pricks nowadays, it aint any of your business how people own things or what they own, be a little less judgemental and worry about yourself.

          • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

            I’m not being judgemental-I’m being reasonable and forward thinking. In order for society to progress, we have to force people to adapt. We used to have black and white CRTVs, but eventually when color TV came out, people were forced to move to that because it was inevitable that directors would move towards that technology so they had no choice. Well tha ttime has come again and now we have to catch on as soon as possible. The more people that adopt 4K faster, the cheaper it will become. I bet you that by 2015 4K will be mainstream, if not late 2014. You just watch. Sorry if I sound inconsiderate, but I grew up always being behind when it came to technology and it cost me a lot, and I don’t want to end up in that position again. Not trying to be prejudice but that’s my perspective and that’s what I think should happen-we make sacrifices so that way we endure and survive. It’s in our blood-we’re human so why is this time different? This didn’t stop us when HD became available to purchase, even when expensive, so why should it stop us with 4K now?

      • steve

        very very uncool of you to label people with 4k tvs and monitors, it shows that your quite the prick.

    • James

      Because you’re comparing a 400 dollar system that uses 300 or so watts to power the entire thing to a PC with limitless technology. You can buy a GPU for the PC that uses 300 watts alone.

      Next gen consoles are nowhere near as powerful as todays’ high end PC’s. That’s why.

      • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

        well, next gen consoles are still young: we will have to wait near the end of the next gen console life cycle to make that call after seeing all that they can do.

        • Kenway83

          And imagine how much better PCs will have gotten by then. PCs get better much faster than consoles do, they simply can’t keep up.

          • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

            yup. it’s all thanks to the open nature of PCs that allow them to be tinkered with at a much faster rate than the closed ecosystem of consoles. I do see someday though where they’re equal-just not tomorrow, you know?

          • Maceko

            PC has variable hardware. While even the next-gens will be stucks with theirs for another 8 years. PC will always have the best graphics, cause the hardware. Next-gens will looks like current gens in 4-5 years.

          • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3


        • steve

          not quite, by the end of the consoles life cycle the pc tech will be so far surpassed the ps4 and xb1 that it will be frightening. just like now with the 360 and ps3.

          • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

            ain’t that the truth

    • taz

      i think it standards for Hardware based Ambient occlusion. It would be too intensive for either of the new consoles to handle.

      • taz

        oops Horizon based not hardware based :)

      • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

        Yeah. Most likely near the end of this console cycle though AO will most likely be utilized on next gen.

        • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

          By the way, do NOT forget to report to our website about the “discussions”.

          For example: If you see anyone “fail trolling”…send a message.


          • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3


  • scott

    ok…this chick is TOAST!!

  • eirik watz

    ïf you have to point out the differences then the differences is useless

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      The differences are being pointed out because they weren’t shown before.

      • taz

        Although i’ll play this on PC and it is nice to have all the extra fluff it won’t make the game any more enjoyable overall. I would have forgone half of this for AI improvements and multiplayer ship duels.

        • steve

          your idiot is showing, just because the extra effects wont make the game more enjoyable for you doesnt mean it wont make the game more enjoyable for others, man people nowadays think everyone must feel and think exactly as them. god almighty save humanity.

    • JuleyJules

      In most of these I couldn’t even tell the difference! Maybe it was small pics I’m looking at here but in any case I can’t wait to play it and it won’t ever be on PS4/Xbone. Not on my radar to have anytime.

      • Giuseppe Nelva

        I suggest clicking on them to enlarge. They won’t be small anymore.

        • JuleyJules

          Very true though on my phone it wouldn’t have mattered. In any case I barely have time for games on the system I own so I won’t be getting a new system.

          • Usman Khan

            it’ll be even more noticeable once u get them on ur own display. u can’t tell much from off-screen shots.

          • steve

            if you dont have time for games on current gen let alone next gen then may i ask what your doing on this site? let alone telling everyone this?

          • JuleyJules

            My point is only that one system in the next-generation is more than enough for me. That is all.

    • steve

      thats not true, the people who play mostly on xbox or ps want to know what benifits their are to going to pc before spending thousands of dollars, your pretty ignorant arent you, maybe you should think about things before you post them.

  • Maxcer Maxcer

    nothing more pointless than off-screen comparison shots

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Really now. Have better ones?

      The differences are evident. You don’t need a super zoomed pixel by pixel comparison to notice them.

      • Maxcer Maxcer

        your write up told me more about the differences than the pictures. too bad they didn’t let you get some screen grabs

  • ISISSecretAgent

    THE only screenshot i couldnt see a difference was the one with the rock. the other ones are pretty noticeable even if they are off-screenshots

    either way, milking on current gen and next gen consoles! i hope this guys take a break with this franchise and focus every ounce of manpower into The Division then after thAT they should make another AC but this time with ninjas like the fan art concept that was flying around before the Black Flag reveal.

    • Usman Khan

      parallax mapping is very noticeable and it provide alot more immersion. you will see it notice much when u running it on ur own display. Parallax mapping mod on skyrim make it alot beautiful, hope all places is parallax mapped.

  • Franggio Hogland

    My titan cards are ready… I just need time to play -.-

    • Iain Chambers

      Cards as in more than one! bloody wish I had that cash to spend

    • Maceko

      My old HD 6970 which is loud and hot as f*ck is ready too bro :D
      It still kicks ass, OC yeah!

    • steve

      well, their are 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, and roughly on average 4 weeks in a month and 12 months in a year, if you cant find time to play then you need heavy heavy remanagement of your lifestyle.

  • Joel Lopezz

    This is the real ‘nxt gen’ huh? LMAO!

    • Nihelus Aurenis

      It’s a pretty big different for a game they’re simply porting over quickly. It’s also among the first games on the system. Look at any launch titles on a system vs games that came out towards the end of the lifespan and you’ll realize just how stupid you sound.

      • Kenway83

        Prime Example: Very early in the life of the PS3, the original Assassin’s Creed was released. It’s still playable, but by today’s standards, it looks aweful. Now, very near the end of the PS3′s life, Assassin’s Creed 3 was released … the difference is astonishing. In two years’ time, PS4/XOne games will look awe inspiring.

        • steve

          im inclined to agree that console games get better over time, but after 2 years of waiting, the pc game that comes out will still be way better, ac3 was a prime example, the pc version looked way better still, despite it coming out at the end of the consoles cycle.

  • dgboweniii

    Ahhh Finally… games will be created on the superior platform and down scaled to consoles. if you have a 6870 GPU (2 generations old but still more powerful than a PS3) or better there is no reason to buy a next gen console at launch. All the multiplats will be superior on the PC. Thank you Ubisoft.

    • Kenway83

      Umm, hate to bust your revolutionary bubble here, but ALL games are developed on PC prior to being ported to consoles. Consoles just don’t have the User Interfaces or processing power to handle development software. There has never been a single game – ever – that was developed on a console.

      • Maceko

        Exactly! Since PC will always have dynamic hardware it will always have the most ultra graphics. The others will be downgraded until it reaches the non lagg level. Maybe it would be nearly laggless if set on very high on console, but even it laggs a bit they will downgrade to high.

    • steve

      thats not true, their are several reasons to buy a next gen console, besides the things they offer that a pc doesnt, like kinect, ps camera and so on, their are games that you cannot play on pc, for example, ryse, knack, dead rising 3, killzone, zoo tycoon and so on and so forth, it depends if playing those games are worth it to the individual, and if a person loves video games then it should be worth it.

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