There will be no new major Assassin’s Creed game in 2016, the first break in the series’ annual release schedule since 2009, according to a new blog post from publisher Ubisoft. The dev team will instead use the extra time up their sleeves by “stepping back and re-examining the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
“We’ve also updated our development processes and recommitted to making Assassin’s Creed a premier open-world franchise,” the post continues. “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.”
This announcement means that, aside from the pair of also-ran Assassin’s Creed Chronicles side-scrollers, the film Assassin’s Creed will be the only major release for the series in 2016. The film stars Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Inglorious Basterds, Steve Jobs) and will release on December 21.
The news was announced in tandem with Ubisoft’s Q3 fiscal report which stated that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate had seen a “slower launch than expected.” We thought it was pretty great when we reviewed it late last year (in which I mentioned my desire for the series to take a year off to reevaluate so this news does nothing but thrill me personally) but consumers would have been understandably gun shy after the multitude of problems Assassin’s Creed Unity experienced post-launch.
The news also lines up with a report by Kotaku that surfaced late last year suggesting that the series would take some time off to re-evaluate its aims, that the next game in the franchise would be set in Egypt and that it wouldn’t launch until late 2017.
During the company’s earnings call, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot elaborated on the reason for the hiatus, stating that their new goal was to complete development on future titles earlier to give Quality Assurance more time to polish and bug hunt. Ubi believes that they can save money on the QA phase by keeping the amount of work on patches and updates post-launch to a minimum. Clearly, Ubisoft is not interested in another Unity-scale disaster.
Guillemot was also quick to speak about the fact that the Assassin’s Creed film would release without an accompanying game, stating that Ubisoft preferred to keep the game and film franchises separate from one another. He also pointed out that the movie will not be based on any of the games and that there will be no tie-in games at all.
“We didn’t want to connect the movie to a game that would be about the same subject,” he explained. “The movie guys are actually extremely happy we don’t have a game.”
Vale, Assassin’s Creed as we knew it. We hope you re-emerge stronger, sneakier and stabbier than ever next year.