An extra year of development is good
Ever since Assassin’s Creed II in 2009, Ubisoft’s popular stab-’em-up series has seen at least one major release every year. 2014 even saw two games, Rogue and Unity. Critics of the series argue that this relentless release schedule is resulting in franchise fatigue and rushed games, the biggest example of which being Unity‘s disastrous launch.
Well if a report by Kotaku is to be believed, that trend may finally be broken as the series may be taking a break this year. It should be returning in 2017 with an Egyptian-themed game currently known as Assassin’s Creed: Empire.
The report, which is based on comments made by an anonymous 4Chan poster that have been backed up by Kotaku’s anonymous sources, claims that skipping 2016 was planned ever since Unity’s launch. This’ll mean each game will have three years of development time, as Ubisoft already alternate development studios for the series each year.
According to the 4chan posts (and put together by NeoGAF), Empire will function as a prequel to the entire Assassin’s Creed series, being set before the Assassins and Templars were even a thing. Playing as a slave or former slave, Empire may be returning to the format of the older games by featuring multiple cities with a traversable overworld, as opposed to simply one big location like in Unity and Syndicate.
Of course, all of this should be considered merely as unconfirmed rumours until it’s officially announced, but Kotaku has previously leaked both Unity and Syndicate, so I believe they’re pretty trustworthy for this.
Even if there isn’t a main-series game this year, Assassin’s Creed is going to be very busy with the release of two Chronicles games (India in January, Russia in February) and a movie starring Michael Fassbender at the end of the year.
I absolutely love Assassin’s Creed, and Syndicate was probably the best one yet, but having an extra year to truly polish and make Empire fantastic is a pretty exciting thought. I’m not entirely sure of the setting just yet, but it’ll be nice to get away from Europe and the Americas for a change.