French publisher Ubisoft have announced they are “stepping back and re-examining the Assassin’s Creed franchise” in an UbiBlog post yesterday.
Their intention is 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.” Sounds like a good idea since there has been an Assassin’s Creed game every year since 2009 and giving the developers a bit of space to try new ideas out is always a good thing.
It doesn’t come as a surprise seeing as Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, although well-received, sold poorly, a problem attributed to the poor reception and technical issues of Assassin’s Creed: Unity.
Whether that was true or the fatigue of a yearly release and decline in quality has destined the franchise to this point of needing a break is anyone’s guess, but my take is that Ubisoft are trying to find their new blockbuster. Assassins’ Creed has clearly began to stumble so they can take a break to let the likes of Watch Dogs 2 foster a wider audience thus opening it up for possibly more consistent releases.
Now how that will play depends on simply how good this Watch Dogs sequel is seeing that most of the good favour they had curried for the first game was the promise (And marketing!) of the next-gen open world experience only to leave a lot of players disappointed in how average it actually was.