The Assassin’s Creed franchise take a break from its annual release schedule for the first time since 2009, publisher Ubisoft announced Thursday.
“This year, we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin’s Creed franchise,” Ubisoft said in a message on it’s company blog. “As a result, we’ve decided that there will not be a new Assassin’s Creed game in 2016.”
The news comes more than a month after Kotaku reported that the next game in the series would be released in 2017, and the publisher may switch the series to a biennial release cycle. The report also suggested the next game, codename “Empire,” would be set in Ancient Egypt and may be the first chapter in a new trilogy within the franchise.
According to the report, Ubisoft’s decision to slow down and re-tool the franchise was a response to the poor reception to Assassin’s Creed: Unity, the 2014 entry in the franchise, which received poor reviews and may have impacted the sales of 2015’s much-improved Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.
Though Ubisoft’s explicit confirmation was limited to the lack of a new Assassin’s Creed this year, the language of the message lends credence to many unconfirmed elements of the report, most notably that Unity had been a wake-up call for the development team.
“Since the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, we’ve learned a lot based on your feedback,” the message said. “We’ve also updated our development processes and recommitted to making Assassin’s Creed a premier open-world franchise. We’re taking this year to evolve the game mechanics and to make sure we’re delivering on the promise of Assassin’s Creed offering unique and memorable gameplay experiences that make history everyone’s playground.”
In the meantime, Ubisoft pointed to the upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie, which opens December 21, as a source of in-franchise fun for fans who can’t bear the thought of having to wait for the next game.
“Having already visited the set, we can’t begin to describe how surreal and exciting it is to walk the real-world halls of Abstergo, or see the intricate replicas of Assassin weaponry,” Ubisoft said. “We have an outstanding cast and crew that want to honor the rich lore of Assassin’s Creed and bring a fresh perspective to the ongoing battle between Assassins and Templars that’s fit for the big screen.”