Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag – PC Optimization

When it comes to pure vision, the limits of current technology should never be a stopping point. And when it comes to research and development, system requirements are rarely part of the initial discussion. That was a sentiment expressed by Associate Producer Sylvain Trottier in a recent media interview, in which he was speaking purely about R&D environment during the early days working on Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag. In the interview, he expressed that during the R&D phase, optimization isn’t the focus. Instead, it’s about seeing what you can do – and if you can’t pull it off with the tools at hand, you simply add in a bigger GPU. This statement was then re-quoted out of context, making it appear that we don’t focus on PC optimization.

Rest assured, that is decidedly not the case.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag

PC optimization is a key process for all our games, and Black Flag is no exception.

But, as with all development, those gorgeous next next-gen effects – like the billowy clouds of volumetric fog that flood your screen when you blast away with your cannons while at sea – were initially dreamed up in an unfettered R&D environment. “You want to push the particle and lighting effects to the max to see how it looks,” Trottier says. “Thing is, while you’re doing that, the performance doesn’t matter. We were doing R&D. But we weren’t doing R&D for performance. We’re doing R&D to try to see how far we can push the limits, to make our game look very amazing.”

Only afterward did the team start to figure out how to make this actually work on next-gen and PC. “This is where the optimization phase starts,” Trottier explains. “And we started doing optimization on PC first.”

Why PC first? Three reasons. One is logistical: every team member has a PC at their desk, and the engineers are most familiar (at least during these early days of next-gen) with the PC environment. Trottier also mentions that the team is stacked with “brilliant engineers” who are constantly reading white papers and staying on top of PC development, and they’re always eager to try out new tricks and techniques that could benefit the game.

Also noteworthy: both of the next-gen consoles are very similar to PCs, so any learnings from PC optimization can be readily applied to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. If, say, the team finds a way to shave 50% off the GPU burden for a particular effect, they can then expect a roughly equivalent savings on both next-gen consoles, and they can be confident in their ability to apply those savings. “It’s not 100% linear, but at least it gives you an order of magnitude,” Trottier notes.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag

Finally, our developers and engineers are, simply put, PC fans. They know PC is an important platform and stand behind it. They want to make the game just as great on PC as it is on consoles. That’s why Ubisoft has a team dedicated solely to building the PC version of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, working on everything from the UI to the controls to wide range of settings encountered in PC gaming. “It’s absolutely not true that we don’t care about PC optimization,” Trottier says. “If we didn’t care about PC optimization, then we would not have such a big team in Kiev. We have a team dedicated just to the PC version in Kiev.”

“We are very proud of the PC version of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag,” Trottier continues. “The game runs well on low-end PCs, and lots of additional features were added for higher-end machines, allowing each and every customer to fully enjoy the experience on their PCs. Our partnership with Nvidia that saw our respective engineering teams work together to develop a highly optimized PC version also demonstrates our commitment to the platform.” Trottier also points to the additional PC features that were implemented, including: keyboard and mouse optimized control, three-screen support, and unique effects and technologies, including NVIDIA HBAO+ (occlusion), NVIDIA PCSS, NVIDIA TXAA and NVIDIA GPU-accelerated PhysX in an upcoming patch. And, of course, there’s higher resolution support, including 4K support. “If you can see our game run at 4k resolution on PC, it’s magical. It’s beautiful,” Trottier smiles.

For the PC system requirements, please see: Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Out Now on Xbox One and PC

Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag

Assassin's Creed® IV Black Flag

Release date — October 29, 2013
Developer — Ubisoft Montreal
Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag tells the story of Edward Kenway, a young British man with a thirst for danger and adventure, who falls from privateering for the Royal Navy into piracy as the war between the major Empires comes to an end. Edward is a fierce pirate and seasoned fighter who soon finds himself embroiled in the ancient war between Assassins and Templars. Set at the dawn of the 18th Century, the game features some of the most infamous pirates in history, such as Blackbeard and Charles Vane, and takes players on a journey throughout the West Indies during a turbulent and violent period of time later to become known as the Golden Age of Pirates.

ESRB Rating: MATURE with Blood, Sexual Themes, Violence, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol
The Author

Gary Steinman has won numerous editorial awards, but you probably don’t care about that. He also ran multiple industry leading publications and websites including PlayStation: The Official Magazine,, PC Gamer and Newtype USA – but that’s all in the past. The real truth about Gary? He loves cats, he takes too many selfies on Facebook (according to one co-worker, at least), and he occasionally crochets. And now he’s helping share stories about Ubisoft’s amazing games and their incredible creators in his role overseeing the UbiBlog and other select Ubisoft social channels. Follow him on Twitter: @GarySteinman

lisawayne 5pts

In the above blog it has been rightly said that the limits of current technology should never be a stopping point. As technology is becoming vast the threats are also increasing to avoid these we should provide a complete PC optimization to our system.  You can also try Ninjatuneup software .

It is really reliable and efficient.

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Ugo Ngwu
Ugo Ngwu 5pts

Ac4 can't work well on environmental quality set to normal or above. It has to be set on low . Running it on nvidia geforce gt 755m 2gb Intel core i7 4700 8gb ram.

jc 5pts

This game fractionally lags and stutters every time you run anywhere or turn a corner or look around fast- even on i7 4790k 4.4ghz, 16gb 2400hz ram, twin GTX780TiSC in sli, 250gb ssd etc.

It's not the pc, it's UBISOFT's piss poor effort at making it PC compatible. it's playable in 2D, but really noticable in 3D. Lowest or highest graphics settings make no difference to the lag.

I'm never wasting my money on another UBISOFT pc game. This and the flickering shadows in farcry 3 have pissed me right off.

Uninstalled both games and now using the disks as coasters.

Thanks UBISOFT, for the great coasters. I hope more people start to realise how useless your PC support is. UBISOFT, you either need to start fixing your failures or stop ripping people off with barely playable PC games. Tons of other companies can make awesome, smooth playing games, what's wrong with you guys?


Mark A.
Mark A. 5pts

I have the new 2014 ASUS G750 Notebook, 4th gen. quad-core I-7, 4770, 2.4Ghz to 3.3 Ghz with 12 GB DDR3 Ram, 1 TB hard drive, Nvidia 860m card w/2GB. I use Nvidia experience to set game pref. unless I think I can do better, than I go in game and set my own options. Most of my games run at 60 fps or betterand have never had a slow-down with any-from Tomb Raider to Bioshock Infinite, Watch Dogs, AC3, AC4 you name it. Buy a new computer if you want to play seriously !! :)

varun 5pts

I can play upto AC3 without any problemes .But AC 4 is lagging.Why there is no optimisation for pc???

Nick 5pts

So AC3 and AC4 runs smothly @ 1980x1050 on my 6½ old rig (Quad Core 2.67GHZ, 8GB RAM, RAID 0 disks, Nvidia GTX560 (1GB) and lo and behold Vista 64 SP2. But it lags like hell on my EliteBook 8470p (i7, 8GB RAM, SSD, Radeon 7500 1GB and Win 7 64b SP1 screen rez 1600900. I guess UBI-soft doesn't like AMD GPU's! :(

wikki10106 5pts

Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, GTX 770M, and Windows 8.1 64Bit!!!!


Curunir 5pts

Is this some kind of tasteless joke? I'm running the Freedom Cry Standalone on an Intel i3 @ 3.3 ghz, 4 GB ram and a GTX 550 Ti 1 GB and I get the shittiest performance of any game I tried in recent memory, even with everything set to Low / Off.

So glad I didn't blow more money for the full AC4 game but got the short standalone first...

Sachin 5pts

I've pentium dual core g2010 2.8 Ghz+4 gb ddr3 ram+nvidia geforce 210!

I can run it!

Intel i3 dual core 3.3 ghz 3220 can be a better substitute.

Lorenza 5pts

It's definitely apparent that London has a lot to offer a start-up firm but it also has quite a bit to offer customers too as it has an array of facilities certain to impress, which could make them take up your business. In terms of cost, living in London is generally more expensive than living outside the City. With such a high quantity and diverse range of companies offering employment in this Sector such as Hospitality, Retail, Public Health, Media, and Financial Services, students at colleges in London will have direct access to an assortment of job vacancies.

Anton 5pts

They selling sonsole game and gets more money they just dont want waste time to ptimize games for real gamers fuck the noobs..:

Jiminimonk 5pts

No FOV slider - big mistake for a PC game. I won't be buying any Ubisoft games that don't have FOV sliders, they are essential for PC games, especially console ports. Also, not optimised. The blog is a lie.

Robert Scott
Robert Scott 5pts

Gee... you think you could maybe optimize my minimap, so it actually shows my location, instead of, as the case in havana, reporting me as being in the middle of the ocean? This is straight up lazy coding- when your game changes my location with a cutscene, often the minimap continues to operate off of the old coordinates my character had before the cutscene, making it very nearly useless. Sure, I can see enemies, but which should I deal with first? Well, I cant tell, because I cant see their actual location in relation to myself including the terrain- and this makes this game very, very frustrating. How hard is it to add a line of code that checks the minimap x/y orientation against my character's x/y orientation in the event of a cutscene?

Not very. That's one line of code. This is called optimized?

Dan 5pts

Say 'thank you' to Ubisoft Kiev... they have no clue how to optimize pc game. On the other hand Far Cry 3 had awesome optimization...

eric 5pts

This game runs like crap on two water cooled overclocked GTX780's in crap, no wonder nvidia is giving it away.....60FPS cap is a cruel joke.....ubi has been stroking the inept flaccid console shaft for way to long. Frame rate caps means less players for your game, period.

eric 5pts

4k support and a 60FPS cap.....kinda like a retarded scientist...that's just ubisoft for you; completely out of touch with the PC gamer.

Bryan 5pts

My PC is middle of the road and the game runs like shit. Other high end recent releases like the new Batman run just fine, but AC4 and Liberation run like garbage. AC3 was fine, but these latest two releases are awful.

Tim 5pts

"The game runs well on low-end PCs"

He must to have been on meth when he said this..

No sane person with any amount of intelligence could say something so stupid.

Tim 5pts

This game is a joke.

A monkey throwing fecal matter optimized this...

I thought AC 3 ran like crap, but even at lowest settings at 1080 this game is crap.

Tri SLI 285 with i7 and 12 gigs of ram.

it's funny. witcher 2, crysis, and many modern games run great.

Anything Ubisoft puts out runs like garbage...

Anon 5pts

If you want to optimize this game for PC make it take advantage of all the CPU cores, not just the first! That would solve so many performance issues with so many people.

Jamie 5pts

I too cannot play this game, at all.

Intel i7 Quad Core


NVidia GeForce GT 750M 2GB DDR5

...and it runs like crap. Absolutely unplayable. I have tried everything. Even on much lower resolutions it is choppy. To me graphics are everything, I can max out Metro LL on 1080 with full FPS, Battlefield 4, Tomb Raider, you name it....but not Assassins Creed Black Flag? Ahh nevermind, lesson learned.

wayno 5pts

running gear i5-3570k o/c to 4.4ghz geforce gtx 670 8gb ddr3 120 corsair boot ssd w7 hp nothing but problems from installion to playing it now game wont progress to next round loops back to stat screen dont think there is a prob with my gear me thinks serious probs with their games software makes me laugh when i read the intro header someone forgot to change hands on the 99th stroke cheers

George 5pts

Gary Steinman, will any of those poor misbegotten souls get ANSWERS? About anything? From anyone?

AJ35H 5pts

You can not be serious. You can really not be serious. Are you serious?


Oskar 5pts

Why Can We Don,t Have A Suit On AND A Cape? I Realy Love The Pirate Cape But I Also Want A Suit Under It. Is It Posible To That Can Be In A Opdate?

Gawain 5pts

More like Assassin's Creed: Black Screen (crash)

Mathieu Lachance
Mathieu Lachance 5pts

Francais : Solutions perte de performance fps faible

1. Ouvrir la commande éxécuter (windows+r)

2. tappez taskmgr

3. Aller dans L'onglet Processus et chercher timeserver et faire Arretez le processus. Le pilotes vidéo va alors se récupérer et revenir normal. (utilisez les pilotes 331.82 pour nvidia ).

4. Testez le jeu et tout devrais ok avec tous les setting au max si vous voulez.

Mathieu Lachance


Mathieu Lachance
Mathieu Lachance 5pts

Solutions performance Issues:

I had same performance issue and found that timeserver process was using gpu only in windows environment so I killed the process and everything run fine now.

Timeserver process is part of adobe reader software If you have the most up to date version of it it cause gpu over utilization of it I dont know why but that the case.

So to solve your game slowing down problem (Same for me before) type taskmgr in the run (Windows+r) windows and go to the process tab and look for timeserver and end the process.

Return back to the game then everything should me fine.


Mathieu Lachance

IT Pro


Thomas 5pts

when sailing to the port of Nassau so I will not load the next round of games. Stops responding. Anybody know why? Please advice.

Jeffrey 5pts

Yeah, right. I'm running it with all the graphics settings at the lowest possible, and I still get bad FPS. On the default graphics settings, it's basically unplayable.

AngrehWolf 5pts

Hi i just wanted to say every game that i have on my pc runs smoothed with the settings maxed out ac3 runs super smooth but when i got ac4 my fps was like 14-20 fps i have a pretty good pc i still love the story so far but i just wish i could play it with a comfortable frame rate

Swift 5pts

..... Ugh.... Throwing out spice words, like volumetric fog and etc... I'll make a point first. Tomb Raider, beautiful game, top of the line graphics, multiplatform; came up with a new 'setting' Hair Tes, giving the hair of the characters a more realistic look, thus adding to the immersion of game play. It's superficial, but it was something game designers have not been able to do yet, or apparently since and it seems stupid, but it humanizes the characters.

The reason I bring that up, is 'innovation'... You can "push as far as you can go", but what does that actually mean? Are you actually reinventing the wheel? Or are you simply just pushing others work, as far as it can go, without having to write all new code? Dev's used to get their hands on the next gen of technology or at least an idea of capabilities of next gen hardware, so that the game wouldn't be able be maxed out on cheap equipment until maybe 2 gens of cards and cpus had passed. But their was framework!!! An idea of the capabilities of what you could achieve.

Obviously, they have a similar template; except consoles play a larger role in it. But to say, you pushed anything in this game... It's almost a joke... Their are amazing aspects for sure, but I wouldn't call anything in this "revolutionary" if you you want that.. Play Battlefield 4 or Crysis 3. Until you can bring a model or software innovation that stands out, I wouldn't boast so much. Most of your games come out highly unoptimized and underdeveloped.

Chris 5pts

Ezio would be turning in his grave . The. complete utter BS , I had high hopes for ac4 but yet again so Disopointed why ! Wen you hand money over for an item if it has 4 legs and yours only has 3 legs it's BS . Damn ubisoft I always thought this company would be the last hope for decent pc games . Slippery slide down the drain no turning back once the knife is in it don't come back out you F ,BS Artists .

alex 5pts

my pc specs are as follows and i can run AC black flag okay with medium settings.

AMD 64x2 5000+ 2.60ghz CPU

5gb ram

Nvidia GT630 2gb GDR 3 GPU and a 500gb ide hdd

this game works well but is laggy a little bit but it is playable and i love it :D

en-kay 5pts

@katrik download riva tuner

kartik 5pts

i have nvidia 210 grafics card but assassian creed 4 if run slowly how can i improve it?

Donovan 5pts

Hi im donovan and I have a problem with my assassin creed black flag. I get to a scene in the game and all it says is loading and it does not go any further than that plz help me

Sam 5pts


I would like to ask here, if someone could help me a bit. Yesterday I was playing the AC4 after some time, and I recognize that it laggs alot, like it was on the previous PC. :(

About a month ago I upgraded my PC, so it's components are new now. And on first it worked like a charm, but now it starts lagging again.

Here are my PC specs:

Motherboard: Asus H87M-Plus

CPU: Intel i5 4670 Haswell


GPU: Club 3D Radeon HD 7500 3GB

I think that all of the new games should run like a charm on full settings on this PC but I just got some problem with this AC4 from time to time...

I would be grateful for any help!

Thanks alot and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)

Kurvvaanyadat 5pts

This is same! Same on Ubisoft... this is criminalism... cheating! With top hardvare, 8 core 4,7 Ghz AMD FX 9370, Nvidia Geforce GTX 780 and with TXAA4 15-20 fps??? Fuck you.. BF4 and all other new game 50-100 fps with max graph... dilettant idiots and or CRIMINAL cheaters!!!!

dey 5pts

maan this is 7 64bit 4gb ram athlon 2 x3 435 2.90ghz nvidia G210 and even if this seems poor for some of u i played ac3 on high settings and it worked perfect but this game on the lowest possible settings it was so bad it was ridiculos.couldn`t play at all i not even completed the `second mission` where u have to run to get the assassin

Gaz 5pts

It runs terrible! only 10-14 fps on nvidia geforce 210 is there any way to make it go atleast 20 fps?

asd 5pts

Also I have a system with 32 GB of RAM yet there are still games like this one running in 32-bit mode which limits them to 4GB or less... With 32 GB I should be able to load all content into RAM and forget about load times.

asd 5pts

I have a USB gamepad for PC (PS2-like, not XBox) which I use to play all the games that are console ports, like this one, yet for some reason the multiplayer executable crashes at start when it is plugged in, despite having played all singleplayer mode with it, with vibration and everything...

I wouldn't mind the gamepad not working just for multiplayer, but c'mon why I have to physically unplug it from the system just to launch multiplayer?

truth 5pts

ubisoft dosent give a shit about the pc gamers which has bought ac4 and do not have high system requirments

Teo 5pts

let's not consider for a moment that i always had lag problems with AC games on my pc. and that a lot of people is having low frame rates problems (many high-end pc users are not going through 30fps. it's literally written everywhere on the internet). let's talk for a moment that i can run bioshock infinite smoothly with seetings between high and ultra at 720, but i can't manage to get rid of lags from ac4 EVEN AT 800x600 WITH EVERYTHING AT MINIMUM! is it because i have an amd graphics card and the game is optimized for nvidia? does ubisoft know that both ps4 and xbox one get shipped with amd inside? i don't know if this makes sense but i'm very pissed. this is a ruined title. a missed occasion to refresh the series. ruined by the tooooooooooo many platforms out there. why on earth would one even bother to port it on wiiu instead of optimizing it for pc??!

Maharshi 5pts

Hey please help me out i have a Lenovo E49 computer and the game runs swiftly upto 16% but it stops after that what to do? i have an intelhd graphics 1gb

please suggest a solution

en-kay 5pts

download riva tuner

Sam 5pts

Ups, the GPU is 7900 not 7500. :)

REPLY 5pts

Your GPU is obviously on the lower end. Try overclocking it. Defragging, and downloading shit like Game Booster could increase about 5 FPS. always, be prepared to play it at low settings.