When it was first announced that there would be no Assassin’s Creed title released in 2016, many gamers were largely surprised. Ubisoft neglecting to release a new title in their annualized cash cow series? Unthinkable!
So, why would Ubisoft decide not to release another Assassin’s Creed title this year?
The answer to this is rather simple: After seven years of new installments within the series being released annually, gamers grew tired of the same old, same old. In recent years, a new Assassin’s Creed title has only really meant a re-skin of the game world to some gamers. There may be a 300-year gap between the events depicted in Brotherhood and Unity, but many feel that a few hours spent running through the city streets of Rome or Paris provides a very similar experience.
Black Flag did provide some gamers with hope that developers were working toward providing a more innovative experience in exploring new and less familiar periods of history, but then Unity and Syndicate were released and suggested otherwise.
The release of Unity actually had great ramifications for the series, both in terms of public opinion and sales numbers. The decision to release the title in an unfinished state resulted in a rather large consumer backlash. Although Ubisoft acknowledged its fault in releasing a product that was not yet finished, the damage to the franchise was done.
The negative media coverage of the title’s release resulted in poor sales numbers, even though Ubisoft has since fixed many of the problems that plagued the title upon release. So bad were the effects of the negative media coverage of Unity that it even impacted the release of Syndicate a year later, resulting in sales numbers that did not live up to those initially projected for the title.
Prompted by such negative consumer reaction, Ubisoft finally deicide that it was time to give the series a break in order to discern which direction the series would move toward in the future.
Gamers finally received what they had been asking for relentlessly over the past few years: A break from Assassin’s Creed. (Annual release jokes are now limited to Activision and Call of Duty.)
Initially it was thought that this break would only last a year, but new reports have suggested that gamers should not even expect a new Assassin’s Creed title at the end of next year. The notion of an elongated break has actually had me thinking of how exactly the new title would be received when it is eventually released.
The Hype Will Be Unreal
There is no disputing that the hype surrounding the release of a new Assassin’s Creed title after a break from the series is going to be immense. People will be interested to find out what has changed in the game, even if they are not fans of the series.
Ubisoft’s decision to step away from its annual release model in order to rethink the overall direction of the series is enough to suggest that the studio does want to try to provide gamers with something they have not seen before. Regardless of whether the new title does indeed accomplish this, the simple idea that Ubisoft is willing to do such is enough to generate significant interest amongst the public.
One can only hope that the hype surrounding the new title’s release does not create severely unrealistic expectations — but then again that may be asking for a little too much in itself.
It Will Probably Not Be Set In A European City
If there is one complaint that makes itself known year after year with Assassin’s Creed titles, it's that of the open-world setting. As previously stated, many gamers have grown tired of the pre-20th century European setting and are eager to explore different areas of the world; a desire that was only exacerbated by the release of Black Flag (one of the three main series titles set outside of Europe).
Almost every year it is stated that Ubisoft will finally set an Assassin’s Creed title within the main series in a new setting, such as China or Ancient Egypt, and almost every year gamers are disappointed. I would be very surprised if the next title does not explore some as-of-yet unexplored area in the series, but I have been wrong before.
We Will Probably Still Be Disappointed By The New Title
Depending on who you ask, the only two Assassin’s Creed titles to really be received better than their predecessors were Assassin’s Creed II and Black Flag. Most of the other titles in the series failed to live up to fans' high expectations. It is very difficult for a publisher to recreate the experience a gamer encountered with a phenomenal past entry within a series.
This is not to say that no sequel is ever better than the original; the Assassin’s Creed series already disputes this idea. Rather, it is to say that with all the hype that the new title is likely to build, it is highly unlikely that there won’t be at least one gamer who is disappointed by what it offers.
This is what I think is going to happen once the new Assassin's Creed title is eventually released. I may have the right idea or be completely off on everything. One thing is certain, though: Many gamers eagerly anticipate the next Assassin’s Creed title’s release.
Until then, we have the big-screen adaptation to wait for, starring Michael Fassbender and set for cinematic release on December 21. Check out the trailer below:
How do you think the next Assassin’s Creed title will be received and where will it be set? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.