So not going back to its annual schedule after all.
After burning out its audiences with a string of releases that stuck too much to the same, well-worn formula, with many of those releases being well below fans’ expectations, Assassin’s Creed was in serious need of a break not too long ago. Ubisoft made the smart decision and decided to take the year off with the franchise in 2016, instead choosing to let their development teams work on the next game in the series a little bit longer.
The gamble paid off very well. Assassin’s Creed Origins launched in 2017 to a lot of acclaim, and it was clear that the extra year’s development time had not only helped Ubisoft shake things up considerably to move away from a stagnating formula in meaningful ways, but also to just make a much better game in general. Many assumed the series had forgone its annual release schedule, but with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey launching this year, those aspersions were quickly cast aside.
However, as it turns out, this is not going to be a pattern going forward. According to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot (via GameSpot), Odyssey is able to launch the very next year after Origins because both games had been in development together. That is not the case with the next game in the series, however, which means there’s going to be no Assassin’s Creed game released in 2019.
“On Assassin’s, we had a game [in 2018] and we have one this year,” Guillemot said at Gamescom 2018, “but we are not going to have a full-fledged Assassin’s next year. It’s just because the team were working separately, so we have two games now, one year after the other. But next year you’re not going to have a fully fledged one.”
In fact, according to the Ubisoft boss, while the company has a lot of Assassin’s Creed content planned for the future, we’re not going to see a mainline sequel for “a couple of years”. “What you’ll have is lots of content coming on [Assassin’s Creed Odyssey],” he said. “The team really want to give, on a regular basis, some new possibilities for play, so when you get [Odyssey] this year, you’re going to get in for a couple of years, actually.”
“[The time] gave the team the possibility to really bring what they wanted to,” he said of the added development time both Origins and Odyssey have had thanks to the series’ break in 2016. “The community has been responding very well to it and when I see what we are bringing with Odyssey I know that the community that got back in with Origins will be amazed.”
Based on his comments, it looks like there’s going to be no mainline Assassin’s Creed sequel not just in 2019, but for a couple more years after Odyssey. Could that mean the the series is done with current-gen consoles? 2020, after all, does seem like a very reasonable time for when the PS5 and the currently codenamed Xbox Scarlett might launch. Or perhaps we could have a Black Flag situation on our hands, and the next Assassin’s Creed title could be something of a cross-generation one.
Either way, I’m glad to see that Ubisoft have learned their lesson with the less than satisfactory Unity, the subsequent commercially underperforming Syndicate, and how the series’ yearly schedule ultimately proved to be detrimental in the long run. It may have seemed like the series was going back to its old ways, but it really does look like Ubisoft are not only more comfortable with taking their time, but also with changing things up significantly, as both Origins and Odyssey show in their own huge ways.
Interestingly enough, if it is true that Odyssey started development the same time as Origins (which is why the two look so much alike, of course), that means that the upcoming sequel has had one more year of development time than its 2017 predecessor. Hopefully, that should amount to an even better game.
We’ll find out either way when Assassin’s Creed Odyssey launches on October 5 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. A new trailer for the game was also released at Gamescom by Ubisoft, showing off combat against mythological beasts. Take a look through here. If you’re wondering about how Odyssey is changing things up after last year’s Origins, there have been recent details on tons of new things, including its interactive storytelling, its focus on player choice, as well as its multiple endings. Be sure to read about them through the links.