Ubisoft is developing what sounds like the most ambitious Assassin's Creed title yet, one that is basically a "massive online platform that evolves over time," according to a report that was subsequently confirmed, at least in part, by the publisher.
This game is codenamed Assassin's Creed Infinity, according to Bloomberg's sources, and then confirmed by Ubisoft's own statement. The report said Infinity, or whatever final name the game is given if development is seen through to release, will feature multiple settings and "room to expand" in the months and years after launch. The games within the Infinity "platform" could "look and feel different," but they will each be connected in some manner, the report said.
Reporter Jason Schreier said Infinity won't release until 2024 at the soonest. He also mentioned that Ubisoft may not release the game at all.
Details on Assassin’s Creed Infinity are still in flux as it won’t be out until 2024 or later, but it may be some sort of hub that allows people to play multiple AC games both big and small. Or Ubisoft may say screw it and give up to chase the next trend 3 years from now— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 7, 2021
The multiple-games-in-one-package would be a massive departure from the norm for Ubisoft and the Assassin's Creed series, which normally features a single historical setting (as well as a modern-day element).
Despite being potentially years off from release, a spokesperson for Ubisoft did confirm the project's existence to Bloomberg and also in an official statement, though they did not comment on the specifics. The spokesperson said Ubisoft's mission is to "exceed the expectations of fans who have been asking for a more cohesive approach."
Infinity will be developed by multiple teams within Ubisoft, it seems, which is no surprise given how Ubisoft works--for example, 15 different studios collaborated on Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Intriguingly, Ubisoft just laid the groundwork to open a development studio in Sydney to collaborate on an unspecified AAA IP. But whereas Ubisoft's teams in Montreal and Quebec are historically known to lead the development on Assassin's Creed games, these two divisions are now "unified," according to the report, and each will have its own creative director. However, Ubisoft Quebec will "take charge" of Infinity, Bloomberg reported.
"There has long been a rivalry between the two studios that has at times turned acrimonious, according to people familiar with the matter, so this shift may cause some headaches," Bloomberg said.
Officially, Ubisoft said in its statement that Infinity will be developed in a new "cross-studio structure" between Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Quebec. These teams will "guide, grow, evolve, and define the overall future of Assassin's Creed that includes an important upcoming, early-in-development project codenamed Assassin's Creed Infinity."
Marc-Alexis Côté is the executive producer of the Assassin's Creed series going forward; he is a founding member of Ubisoft Quebec and worked on Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, and Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Joining him will be Ubisoft Montreal's Étienne Allonier. Allonier has been the brand director for Assassin's Creed for the past decade and is now going to oversee the brand's new director as the teams work together to respond to feedback from fans looking for a "more cohesive approach to its development."
Jonathan Dumont and Clint Hocking are the two creative directors on Infinity, overseeing the projects at Ubisoft Quebec and Ubisoft Montreal, respectively. Dumont worked on Syndicate as the world director before taking on the role of creative director on Odyssey. Hocking, meanwhile, most recently served as the creative director on Watch Dogs: Legion. Before that, he was the creative director on Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Far Cry 2.
"Rather than continuing to pass the baton from game to game, we profoundly believe this is an opportunity for one of Ubisoft's most beloved franchises to evolve in a more integrated and collaborative manner that's less centered on studios and more focused on talent and leadership, no matter where they are within Ubisoft," the publisher said about the changes. "Most importantly, Assassin's Creed has always been developed by multicultural teams with various backgrounds and perspectives that have influenced the depiction of its characters, locations, and cultures. While we know there's always room for improvement, we believe this new structure allows us to ensure that diversity and representation within our teams continues to grow and match that of our players."
Infinity is said to be potentially years away from release, but it could be the next Assassin's Creed game. Schreier said Valhalla will get more expansions, and there could be "smaller" stuff on the horizon for Assassin's Creed.
Don’t think so. There will be more expansions and/or smaller stuff. But Quebec and Montreal are the two lead studios on traditional AC games and they’re both working on Infinity— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 7, 2021
Of the reorganization, the Ubisoft spokesperson said it was meant to create a development infrastructure that is "less centered on studios and more focused on talent and leadership, no matter where they are within Ubisoft."
The report also mentioned that not every developer at Ubisoft is happy with how the publisher handled reports of abuse and misconduct at the company. The site said "some" of the managers accused of bad behavior still hold senior positions, and this has led to a new wave of complaints on Ubisoft's internal forums.
"Any employee that had allegations and remain at Ubisoft has had their case rigorously reviewed by a third party and were either exonerated or underwent appropriate disciplinary actions," a spokesperson for Ubisoft said. "Employees who have been under investigation would not remain at Ubisoft if results of investigations warranted termination."
With Infinity, should it materialize in the way that's been described in this report, Ubisoft is seemingly taking a page out of Fortnite and GTA Online's playbooks. Those games, and other live service titles, are more akin to platforms that grow and evolve over time, with new content added regularly to keep people playing--and spending.
"We hope you'll join us for this incredible journey, and we’re excited to share more on what's coming for Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Assassin's Creed Infinity at a later date," Ubisoft said.
Following the publication of this story, Ubisoft released an official statement regarding the development of Assassin's Creed Infinity. You can read the note in full below.
"Joint production efforts on Assassin’s Creed Infinity will be headed up by Ubisoft Montreal’s Julien Laferrière who has been named senior producer, overseeing production at both studios. Laferrière brings along extensive experience with the franchise, having worked on Assassin’s Creed since 2007 before most recently becoming producer on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Creative leads for Assassin’s Creed Infinity will be a cross-studio collaboration, as well. Jonathan Dumont and Clint Hocking will share leadership as creative directors, overseeing their respective teams at Ubisoft Quebec and Ubisoft Montreal. Dumont was previously world director on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate at Ubisoft Quebec before becoming creative director on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Meanwhile, this moment marks Hocking’s return to Ubisoft Montreal, having started at the studio in 2001 as a level designer, game designer, and scriptwriter on the original Splinter Cell before becoming creative director on Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Far Cry 2, and most recently Watch Dogs: Legion.
This change means we’re also evolving along with the video game industry. The pandemic and working from home have fundamentally changed the way we produce games, giving us a moment to reflect on our organization. Assassin’s Creed was born within the walls of Ubisoft Montreal and the studio built an incredible foundation for the franchise with the immense skill and creativity of its teams before Ubisoft Quebec then took the lead with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Odyssey, demonstrating its ability to drive the franchise even further.
Rather than continuing to pass the baton from game to game, we profoundly believe this is an opportunity for one of Ubisoft’s most beloved franchises to evolve in a more integrated and collaborative manner that’s less centered on studios and more focused on talent and leadership, no matter where they are within Ubisoft. Most importantly, Assassin’s Creed has always been developed by multicultural teams with various backgrounds and perspectives that have influenced the depiction of its characters, locations, and cultures. While we know there’s always room for improvement, we believe this new structure allows us to ensure that diversity and representation within our teams continues to grow and match that of our players.
We hope you’ll join us for this incredible journey, and we’re excited to share more on what’s coming for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Assassin’s Creed Infinity at a later date.
Nathalie Bouchard, Managing Director, Ubisoft Quebec and Christophe Derennes, Managing Director, Ubisoft Montreal."