Assassin’s Creed Shadows launching on Mac is a bigger deal than you think

Pips and Pixels Assassin's Creed Shadows
(Image credit: Ubisoft)
Pips and Pixels

Pips and Pixels Boxout

(Image credit: Future)

Pips and Pixels is a new column from James Bentley, iMore's resident gaming expert, discussing all things gaming in the Apple ecosystem. Pips and Pixels explores the latest news, accessories, and titles you might have missed out on, and brings you commentary from the leading developers in the app market. As recent advancements in the Apple Silicon M processors and the brand new A17 Bionic chip show, Apple is becoming more serious about gaming. James looks to the rest of the games industry to see what could be next for Apple gamers.

With the MacBook Air M3 launching just a few months ago and the iPad Pro M4 arriving this week, there’s a lot of gaming potential for Apple fans this year. A great surprise in a very busy week, Ubisoft has announced Assassin’s Creed Shadows will be launching for Apple silicon Macs on November 15. This is a huge deal for Apple fans and not just because they get to play a new Assassin’s Creed game. 

As well as that, two new emulators have both arrived in the App Store, allowing users to emulate the PlayStation Portable and more. Emulation is getting better and better every single week and well worth exploring on the best iPhones.

Finally this week, there is now a free way to run Windows on Mac. This is not only great for users who like the hardware and look of the Mac but don’t like the OS, but it has surprisingly great gaming potential if you know what you’re doing. 

Read on for the rundown.

This week's Apple gaming news

1. Macs will get support for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Shadows RPG game

Playing a brand new Assassin’s Creed game can be great but perhaps the best thing about this story is its release date. Assassin’s Creed Shadows will be launching on Mac on November 15, the same day it launches on consoles and Windows PCs. This is the first time you can pick up an Assassin’s Creed game on the App Store on the same day as every other platform. This is not only a sign of great power from Apple machines but also greater commitment from developers. 

If the launch of Assassin’s Creed Shadows proves to be successful on Mac, this could be a sign of even more day-one launches in the future. Those impressive M chips might finally be able to start flexing their gaming muscles. 

Pips and Pixels Assassin's Creed Shadows

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

2. Prolific emulators RetroArch and PPSSPP now available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV

It seems every week brings a new emulator with it, yet this week, we saw two. RetroArch has been a popular open-source old-school emulator for well over a decade now and is known for its customizability. PPSSPP, on the other hand, is a dedicated emulator all about the PlayStation Portable. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Sony’s line of handheld consoles so I can’t wait to see the PSP-like titles indie developers put out for it over the coming months.

3. There’s now a free way to use Windows 11 on your Mac — Here’s how to take advantage of VMware’s Fusion Pro 13’s price cut

You can now run Windows 11 on Mac for free with the help of VMware’s Fusion Pro 13 and, though this is great for anyone who just wants a break from macOS, it’s even better for gamers. One of the key things keeping Mac gamers from playing non-Mac titles is the host of software Windows runs to get them working. DirectX, a translation layer and group of interfaces that allows Windows machines to play games, can now run on Mac with the help of this software. As it is running Windows functionally on top of everything else, you do get less power from your configuration but it’s a good workaround for older and less intensive Windows games. Given the recent focus on gaming, hopefully, WWDC 2024 brings with it some better Mac gaming translation layers.

Gaming news from our friends

Hi-Fi Rush receives a “final patch” after Xbox closed the studio while physical editions are still incoming from GamesRadar

As we talked about in Pips and Pixels last week, Hi-Fi rush developer Tango Gameworks is being closed by Microsoft, alongside Arkane Austin, Alpha Dog Games, and Roundhouse Studios. Hi-Fi Rush has received one last update before the studio is due to close, with the team tweeting “Thank you for all your continued support.” Suggesting how unprepared the team was for Microsoft’s decision, Limited Run Games, a game publisher and distributor, will still be publishing a physical release of the game and it will likely be sold until well after the studio officially closes. 

Ubisoft wants to “return to leadership in the open-world” genre, and its CEO says the company is already “back on track” after some rough years from GamesRadar

Building onto the news of Assassin’s Creed Shadows’ release date announcement, Ubisoft is further committing to its dedication to open-world titles. Known for publishing releases like Far Cry, Immortals Fenyx Rising, The Division, and, of course, Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft is a studio known for its unique style of open world. Hopefully, the company getting “back on track” makes Shadows bigger and better when it arrives later this year. 

Calendar: May's Big Game Releases

Caves of Lore

(Image credit: Caves of Lore)
  • Imagine Earth launched back in 2021 but finally saw a Mac port last week. I've spent some time testing it out and it's quite a fun city builder, where you play space colonists looking to inhabit new cities on strange planets. It could benefit from examining its own themes of ecology and colonization more and I wish it went a bit deeper but it provides an engaging gameplay loop that fans of Civilization or Cities Skylines might like. 
  • Caves of Lore, a CRPG-like game from a single developer, has finally seen its Mac port arrive on Steam this week too. From my time with it, Caves of Lore struggles a little in explaining its own mechanics, and part of it can get rather tedious but its pixel-art style looks good, it plays well, and really rewards the player for solving its many puzzles. 
Swipe to scroll horizontally
GamesRelease DatePlatformsPlayable on Apple?
Abiotic FactorMay 2PCNot Natively
IndikaMay 2PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PCNot Natively
Hades 2May 6PCNot Natively
V RisingMay 8PlayStation 5, PCNot Natively
Imagine EarthMay 9Mac PortYes
Animal WellMay 9PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PCNot Natively
Crow CountryMay 9PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PCNot Natively
Little Kitty Big CityMay 9Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PCNot Natively
Athenian RhapsodyMay 14PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PCNot Natively
Dread DelusionMay 14PCNot Natively
Lorelei and the Laser EyesMay 16PC, Nintendo SwitchNot Natively
Caves of LoreMay 16Mac portYes
Read Only Memories: NeurodiverMay 16PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PCYes
Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2May 21Xbox Series X, PCNot Natively

Level Up — Gaming accessories on our radar

I’ve been preparing for the launch of Assassin’s Creed Mirage recently and I can see myself playing it mostly on my iPhone 15 Pro Max and my iPad Air. Though I could go for a controller grip, I may opt instead for a controller that works on both devices and I’ve been using one that is at a great price too.

Nova Lite | $24.99 at Amazon

Nova Lite | $24.99 at Amazon

This is one of the cheapest controllers I would actually recommend. Oftentimes, when you get into that price range, you start to lose out on key features but the only real one worth noticing here is the lack of an aux jack. In return for this, you have the ability to swap through multiple devices in just a single click, Hall Effect sticks to do away with stick drift, and an overall excellent feel. 

Hitting the Arcade — What to play on Apple Arcade

Pips and Pixels Hitting the Arcade

(Image credit: Future)

Apple Arcade is filled with tons of exclusive experiences and fantastic games. However, with so many out there, it can be hard to decide what to play. Here are a few choices I've been testing out this week:

As my home is starting to get sunny for the first time this year, I’ve decided to spend my time indoors playing Stardew Valley+ instead. Being one of the best-selling farming sims of all time, it takes a little bit from Animal Crossing and a whole lot from Harvest Moon, by letting you take over a rundown farm from your grandfather and bringing it back to life once more. It’s comfy, fun, and a huge time sink. 

I first had the chance to test out Alba: A Wildlife Adventure back when it launched in 2020 but revisiting it from my iPhone now makes it all feel a little different. From the team behind Monument Valley, it’s a game where you explore wildlife on a Mediterranean island, with nothing but a bit of creativity and an excellent soundtrack. Both chill and kind-spirited, this is a game that will feel at home in any nature lover’s hands. 

Have you played any great games this week or seen some interesting Apple gaming news we've missed? Let us know in the comments!

James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.