As a fan, I can’t wait to not play a new Assassin’s Creed game in 2016
Update 2/11/6: Ubisoft has officially confirmed that there won’t be an Assassin’s Creed game in 2016 (at least not a new, major release – there could always be remastered collections). “This year, we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin’s Creed franchise.” More news will be coming soon.
Original Post 1/6/16: If you are a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series, you may have already heard the latest rumor from Kotaku that the next game in the series will be set in Egypt and be titled Assassin’s Creed Empire. Perhaps more importantly though, the same rumors also claim that the next game will skip a year and release in 2017.
Normally, when it comes to game rumors you can – and should – take them with a grain of salt. When it comes to the Assassin’s Creed series though, Kotaku has a great record. The outlet correctly posted information about both Unity and Syndicate months before they were officially revealed, and it was more right than wrong about Rogue.
Technically, this rumor wasn’t actually broken by Kotaku, but rather it came from someone on 4Chan claiming to be a developer for the game. Granted, 4Chan can be a dark pit in the Internet, but every once in awhile true info comes from it. Given that there are typically around 800 developers on each AC game, leaks aren’t that surprising, and 4Chan is as good a place as any to release info anonymously.
More importantly though, Kotaku managed to independently confirm all the major rumors through multiple sources.
Along with the name, setting, and release news, the purported dev also gave some details on the game itself. According to them, the new assassin will be a man, a former slave, and he will have a pet eagle. The game will be roughly three times the size of Black Flag, and there will be no loading – or at least no loading as you enter new towns.
The game is reportedly being designed more or less from scratch, which could mean there will be a much needed new set of gameplay mechanics. There are also multiple rumors floating around that the gameplay will take on a more RPG-like flair, similar to The Witcher 3. There also won’t be any coop.
The dev went on to say that there was talk of including Greece and possibly Rome, but that might have been cut as there is also talk of making the new character the focus of a trilogy of games. If so, Greece and Rome may be featured in later games. An exact time frame wasn’t given, so it’s also not clear which of the cities would be the world power of the time.
The dev did say that Empire would be something of a prequel to the AC series, and it may even be set before the Assassin or Templar orders were founded. If that’s the case, it would make sense that game (or trilogy) would focus on the creation of those orders – or at least set the stage for them.
That all sounds cool, and as a diehard Assassin’s Creed fan, I will play the hell out of a game set in ancient Egypt. That said, I’m more interested in the news that the game may skip a year.
I’ve played every console Assassin’s Creed release, including Rogue and Unity – at essentially the same time. I love historical fiction, and the AC games have done a great job of choosing the intriguing settings and historical characters. I wasn’t thrilled with how Unity squandered the French Revolution setting, but I really enjoyed Syndicate even though playing it also felt a little bit like an obligation.
Every day I wrestle with whether or not I should purchase the completely impractical hidden blade Ubisoft recently released. It serves no purpose, but I want it.
Franchise fatigue is a very real problem for annual releases, and given the sprawling nature of the AC games, and given that they are (mostly) single-player, playing a new one each year can be exhausting. Plus, the mechanics need an overhaul and despite the new settings they are all essentially just recycled.
If there is an AC release this year, I will probably play it, but shy of it being a reinvention of the series I probably won’t enjoy it that much. That may sound dumb, but I’ve invested a lot of time and effort into this franchise, and I won’t miss the next chapter.
So having a break of a year or more – or even changing the series so it releases every other year – should be enough time for me (and fans like me) to recharge. The series needs a break, and so do I.
If you are addicted to the series though, and assuming the rumors are correct, there is still some Assassin’s Creed to look forward to in 2016. There are two side-scrolling games on the way, as well as the movie starring Michael Fassbender, due out on December 21, 2016.
Kotaku also noted that Ubisoft recently registered the website “assassinscreedcollection.com”, which at first glance sounds very much like an HD remaster of some of the older games in the series. If so, that should help fill the gap in Ubisoft’s financial forecasts. Watch Dogs 2 is also rumored to be out later this year as well, so there won’t be a massive gap in sales. In other words, Ubisoft can afford to break the annual Assassin’s Creed cycle.
Of course, for now this is all unconfirmed, and Ubisoft’s only comment is a strong no comment. We should get a better idea if this is true or not around E3 – either through the new game’s announcement, or its absence.