Assassin's Creed May Not Have Yearly Releases When It Returns, Ubisoft Says
Chief exec Yves Guillemot indicates Ubisoft is rethinking Assassin's Creed's release strategy too.
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Ubisoft has indicated the Assassin's Creed franchise may not resume its yearly release cycle when it returns.
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On February 11, Guillemot confirmed Ubisoft would not be releasing a new entry in the series in 2016, ending a seven-year trend that started with Assassin's Creed 2. Instead it is taking time off so that it can be re-examined and evolved.
Asked during a presentation during Ubisoft's Investor Day whether Assassin's Creed would be yearly releases when the franchise is re-introduced, Guillemot said releases would be "regular" but didn't commit to the yearly cycle.
"The goal is not automatically to come back on annual cycle but to come on a regular basis," he said. We saw it was time to give it lots of time so [developers] could really work on the property and all the mechanics to make sure we could take [the series] to another level.
He added: "What we are seeing today is promising. We will be able to come on a regular basis [but] we can't say every year.
Later on in the presentation, chief financial officer Alain Martinez suggested the franchise could eventually return to yearly releases.
"We have focused one of our best teams behind what we are working on Assassin's Creed. We have given them all the time for releasing something that we hope to be exceptional. We are setting up rules so that they will have enough time to polish the game and come with something really exceptional, so this is what we have for our first priority.
"Then after that, if we feel like we are in the right direction and that we can continue the path and we have enough innovation for the next one, we might come with the next one in the next year. But it's no longer something that will be set up every year."
The company previously explained the decision to give Assassin's Creed a break would allow its designers and developers to make better use of modern technology. On the current console generation, Ubisoft has released Assassin's Creed Unity and Assassin's Creed Syndicate.
"[In 2016] we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin's Creed franchise. As a result, we've decided that there will not be a new Assassin’s Creed game in 2016," it said.
"Since the release of Assassin's Creed Unity, we’ve learned a lot based on your feedback. We've also updated our development processes and recommitted to making Assassin's Creed a premier open-world franchise. We're taking this year to evolve the game mechanics and to make sure we’re delivering on the promise of Assassin's Creed offering unique and memorable gameplay experiences that make history everyone's playground."
The next big Assassin's Creed game is rumored to be set in Egypt and is reportedly called Assassin's Creed Empire. Fans have speculated that it may be set during the Spanish Inquisition and tie-in with the upcoming Assassin's Creed movie, but during the Investor Day presentation Martinez ruled this out.
"The next Assassin's Creed won't be about the Inquisition," he said. "That doesn't mean there will never be an Assassin's Creed about the Inquisition, but we do feel it was wiser to give the creative freedom on the movie, so therefore there is not a great immediate tie-in between movie and games."
Watch Dogs 2, meanwhile, is expected to launch before the end of Ubisoft's next financial year, which is April 2017, the company said. It will be joined by For Honor, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands.