Following Ubisoft's second-quarter earnings report in November, the publisher held a conference call in which CFO Alain Martinez teased that "there might be something around Assassin's Creed" in 2010. At that time, however, it was unclear whether Martinez's comment pertained to an all-new installment in the franchise, downloadable content for Assassin's Creed II, or some kind of live-action short a la Assassin's Creed Lineage.
Along with delaying Splinter Cell: Conviction and R.U.S.E. and lowering its fiscal-year guidance today, Ubisoft also provided a bit more color on what gamers can expect from Assassin's Creed in the near future. During its fiscal year running April 1-March 31, 2011, Ubisoft plans to release "a new episode of Assassin's Creed, which will be the first in the series to have an online multiplayer mode." Unfortunately, no other details on the project were provided.
[UPDATE] According to an Ubisoft representative, the aforementioned new episode will be a standalone product. The rep also confirmed that Assassin's Creed II protagonist Ezio will be featured in the game.
Ubisoft also offered a sales update for its most recent installment in the franchise, Assassin's Creed II. Having sold 1.6 million units globally during its first week, Assassin's Creed II has now achieved worldwide sales of 6 million units. Released to critical praise on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in November, the game follows a new protagonist, Ezio, who teams up with the likes of Leonardo da Vinci during the Medici-run Renaissance era in Italy. (A PC installment is expected this year.)
Ubisoft also said that Assassin's Creed II is outselling its equally praised 2007 predecessor by 40 percent. The publisher expects Assassin's Creed II to sell some 9 million units by the end of its current fiscal year in March.