Ubisoft’s latest addition to the Assassin’s Creed franchise looks amazing, but according to the internet, it suffers from a massive performance issue: high CPU usage.
Users have been complaining on Steam forums, saying that CPU usage goes as high as 100% while playing the game, causing frame drops and stuttering. “It really doesn’t seem to matter what kind of GPU you are using,” one player complained. “The performance issues most people here are complaining about are tied to CPU getting maxed out 100 percent at all times. This results in FPS [frames per second] drops and stutter. As far as I know there is no workaround.”
According to Volksi, whose team was behind the Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus crack, the performance hit is because of the dual DRM implemented in Assassin’s Creed Origins. In order to prevent the game from being cracked, Ubisoft has implemented VMProtect on top of Denuvo (which has taken quite a beating recently). VMProtect protects code by executing it on a virtual machine with non-standard architecture that makes it extremely difficult to analyze and crack the software. Besides that, VMProtect generates and verifies serial numbers, limits free upgrades and much more.
Volksi says he knows this because he got a chance to review the game’s code after obtaining the binaries. “It seems that Ubisoft decided that Denuvo is not enough to stop pirates in the crucial first days [after release] anymore, so they have implemented an iteration of VMProtect over it,” he says. “This is great if you are looking to save your game from those pirates, because this layer of VMProtect will make Denuvo a lot more harder to trace and keygen than without it. But if you are a legit customer, well, it’s not that great for you since this combo could tank your performance by a lot, especially if you are using a low-mid range CPU. That’s why we are seeing 100% CPU usage on 4 core CPUs right now for example.”
It makes sense for publishers to want to protect their games from pirates, but it just doesn’t seem fair to the legit customers who have to pay full price for a broken experience. And in case the game does get cracked and the hackers end up bypassing VMProtect and Denuvo completely (a big IF), the only people who’ll be able to play the game without problems are the pirates, the people who didn’t pay a dime for the title. The major question that begs to be asked is, should paying customers be forced to spend extra on better hardware JUST to make room for anti-piracy measures? If anything, these mechanisms need to be made more efficient so they don’t end up ruining an otherwise amazing game such as Assassin’s Creed Origins.