One of the most prolific series in gaming may finally be taking a break this year, as rumors are circulating that Ubisoft’s next Assassin’s Creed game won’t ship until 2017, which, if true, would mark the first time the company has skipped its yearly release cycle since 2009.
According to an unnamed source who spoke to Kotaku and is familiar with Ubisoft’s upcoming gaming plans, the next entry in the series will be delayed from fall 2016 to sometime in 2017, citing the disappointing critical reaction to 2014’s Assassin’s Creed Unity and overall franchise fatigue as the main reasons behind the decision. Allegedly, Ubisoft believes that adopting a more spread-out release schedule will help strengthen the franchise’s longevity.
While we won’t know anything for sure until Ubisoft makes an official announcement, critics and consumers alike have been decrying the oversaturation of Assassin’s Creed games for years now, so it’s hardly surprising to see Ubisoft take this step. These rumors come hot on the heels of arguably the strongest Assassin’s Creed title in years with 2015’s Syndicate, which wasn’t as warmly received by the gaming community at large after the abysmal reaction to Unity only a year prior.
Kotaku is also reporting that the next game will be titled Empire and will be set in Ancient Egypt. Although it looks like we won’t be seeing this game in 2016, Ubisoft isn’t taking a total break from the franchise this year, as two sidescroller spin-off titles will be released this month and in February. We’re also set to see the long-in-development Assassin’s Creed movie starring Michael Fassbender this year, with a scheduled release date of December 21, 2016, so series diehards need not fret about not getting their AC fix this year.
In place of a new Assassin’s Creed game, rumors are hinting at Ubisoft releasing Watch Dogs 2 in its place this fall, but nothing has been confirmed yet.