Ubisoft has said that it has a planned ending for Assassin's Creed, and that the series follows an overall arc despite its annual release schedule.
Speaking in an interview with Eurogamer, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag director Ashraf IsmaiI said that the series' multiple development teams all follow an overall arc. "We have multiple development teams, then we have the brand team that sits on top and is filled with writers and designers concerned with the series' overall arc," said Ismail.
"So there is an overall arc," he continued, "and each iteration has its place inside this."
Assassin's Creed has attracted its share of criticism for adopting an annual release schedule, but Ismail says that the team has an overall ending in sight, and there are multiple ways for Ubisoft to get there.
"We have an idea of where the end is, what the end is," explained Ismail. "But of course [Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot] announced we are a yearly title, we ship one game a year. So depending on the setting, depending on what fans want, we've given ourselves room to fit more in this arc. But there is an end."
Ismail also says one of the advantages to having multiple studios working on the franchise simultaneously is that the various teams get to work in conjunction to plan plot points and characters ahead of time.
"We're now able to seed stuff earlier and earlier in our games," Ismail said. "So for example in [ACIV] we have Edward, who was seeded in AC3. But there's a lot more stuff in our game that is hinting at other possibilities."
Ubisoft Toronto, which is currently readying the release of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, has already begun work on 2014's Assassin's Creed game. Ubisoft itself has said it does not expect ACIV to outperform its predecessor commercially.
For more information on this year's game, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, check out a recent Ask GameSpot video.