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Assassin’s Creed Will Definitively Become An Annualized Series
Following the announcement of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag earlier this year, many were surprised that a numbered sequel with a completely new protagonist would come out so soon. Especially considering the fact that Assassin’s Creed III became the fastest selling game in Ubisoft’s history, with 7 million copies sold in one month, it would have seemed natural to continue Connor’s story, or explore different parts of it. As Black Flag will have piracy in the 18th century Caribbean as its main selling point, it seemed like most players – and the developers – really enjoyed the naval battles and wanted more of it. And according to Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat, the players’ opinions are very important to what direction the series will take.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Mallat says that he doesn’t think the series will be rested any time soon, as there are “more and more coming into the franchise every day,” who “expect more and more of that content.”
You might be wondering how exactly Ubisoft Montreal is capable of creating a new game each year, considering the size and complexity of each installment, but the explanation is rather simple as Ubisoft Montreal holds several teams working on different installments, and Mallat mentions that “The core team working on Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, for example, is not working on 2014’s game.”
Back in 2010, Jean-Francois Boivin, Associate Producer of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, told Eurogamer that you “can’t plough a field every year.” Boivin pointed out that what happened to music games – like Guitar Hero and Rock Band – was that interest waned, and eventually the franchise was retired. Although there’s a big difference between music games and action-adventure, one can’t help but feel that Boivin was right seeing what’s happening with the Assassin’s Creed franchise right now. He also had a somewhat worrying message, as he said that “We have some business people that will eventually put a date and say, ‘This needs to come out’,” though from a business perspective that is totally understandable.
When confronted with this viewpoint, Mallat said that he believed you did need to “rest the soil” for a season, “but it’s because it’s the same soil.” And this is why I think Assassin’s Creed has a better chance of surviving annual franchises than music games. If you change the setting and the mechanics every once in a while you keep things fresh.
As Mallat says, “The gamers are happy and it’s our job to make them happy.” Sounds good, no? Keep giving people the same and they’ll keep paying for it. However, Boivin offered an interesting contrast to that, as he said “We need to keep treating players with respect and treating players with the smarts they have. That’s why they will keep coming back, if we continue to keep doing that.”