Assassin's Creed: Origins is based on the graphics engine AnvilNext 2.0. The progenitor of this engine, then called Scimitar, was created by Ubisoft specifically for Assassin's Creed, and in all subsequent games of the series, this or that version of Anvil was also used. As for AnvilNext 2.0, the first game on its basis was Assassin's Creed: Unity, released in 2014. Unity had a progressive for its time graphics, and now, with the developers at the disposal of the power of GPUs of the 14/16 nm era, Assassin's Creed: Origins has rushed to new achievements.
Indeed, visually, the new Assassin's Creed took its place among the best projects of 2017. In the arsenal of technologies AnvilNext 2.0 there are advanced tools that have begun to spread widely in the game graphics of recent years. For example, PBR (Physically Based Rendering) – the procedure for rendering textures, based on the features of reflection and propagation of light in the surfaces of materials, which greatly enhances the realism of the picture. Or, say, the original realization of global illumination, based on the interpolation of pre-calculated for different times of the game day reflections of direct sun rays, which in the game are combined with the scattered light of the sky (how exactly does this approach work, we used to studied on the example of Far Cry 3 ).
Nevertheless, even according to the screenshots, it is clear that the basis for the visual appeal of Assassin's Creed: Origins is not working with light (in this respect, there are better examples – Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus or last year Rise of the Tomb Raider ), and huge open spaces with a long range of vision, high detail of objects and textures.
The saturation and scale of the world of Assassin's Creed: Origins is reflected in its system requirements. We still have time to be convinced by the results of testing that the game (traditionally for modern projects) tolerably runs on comparatively weak GPUs with sparing settings for graphics quality, but only really powerful hardware will demonstrate it in all its splendor. The high demands of Assassin's Creed: Origins exacerbates the fact that the AnvilNext 2.0 engine works under DirectX 11 API, while already more than half of those games that we constantly use to test video cards are compatible with more efficient DirectX 12 or Vulkan programming interfaces.
Finally, it is worth mentioning briefly how greedy is Assassin's Creed: Origins to CPU resources. In order for the game to just start up in normal mode, you need a quad-core processor, but the engine can use up to eight threads on the eight-core CPU. This does not mean that all streams will be downloaded 100%, but nevertheless only the processor with the number of cores from six and higher will fully open the potential of a powerful video card of the level GeForce GTX 1080 or Radeon RX Vega. It is said that the increased load on the CPU in this case is created not so much by rendering as by the simultaneous use of two (!) Anti-piracy systems – [VMProtect] together with Denuvo, but we have no way to confirm or disprove this hypothesis.
Graphics quality settings
The Assassin's Creed: Origins graphics menu contains six preset profiles – from Very Low to Ultra High, among which the highest level provides the highest possible image quality. To test video cards, we used the profiles Very Low, Medium and Ultra High, which together allow us to cover all GPUs – from start to the highest performance category. The screenshots below show the impact of each of the three profiles on the game schedule. As you can see, the difference between low and medium detail settings is extremely high, and in the most sparing mode of Assassin's Creed: Origins looks very rude. But to find the differences between Medium and Ultra High on static images is not so easy, but they are clearly visible in the dynamics, and, as we will see below, the transition from the middle to the higher profile affects the frame rate greatly.
|Graphics settings in the tests|
|Very Low||Medium||Ultra High|
|Shadows||Very Low||Medium||Ultra High|
|Environment Details||Very Low||Medium||Ultra High|
|Texter Detail||Very Low||Medium||High|
|Clutter||Very Low||Medium||Very High|
|Screen Space Reflections||Off||Medium||High|
|Texture Detail||Very Low||Medium||High|
|Character||Very Low||Medium||Ultra High|
|Ambient Occlusion||Off||High||Very High|
|Depth of Field||Off||On||On|