Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told Gamescom attendees that the franchise is going to take a year off following the release of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey this year.
Guillemot says that the decision means neither a “full-fledged” Assassin’s Creed game nor a smaller spin-off title is planned for 2019. Instead, in quotes shared by GameSpot, he notes that the studio is instead looking to focus on live-support of Odyssey.
In fact, the only reason Assassin’s Creed games were planned for both 2017 and 2018, he explains, is because the studio had two separate teams working on the titles concurrently, something that looks to no longer be the case going forward.
"What you'll have is lots of content coming on [Assassin's Creed Odyssey],” said Guillemot. “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," continued Guillemot. "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."
The move away from yearly releases shouldn’t come as a huge surprise given the focus Ubisoft has been placing on maintaining live games and giving its in-development projects ample time in development.
As mentioned after the release of Assassin’s Creed: Origins last year, Ubisoft leadership noticed a “very positive impact” on how the game was received by both players and press after the studio made a point to give developers some additional breathing room. Ubisoft notably gave "full-fledged" Assassin’s Creed games 2016 off (though it did release two titles in the Assassin's Creed Chronicles spin-off series), a break that the studio credits for Origin’s positive reception and later prompted it to delay a number of other games last December to work on polish.
In an investor call earlier this year, Guillemot also said that shifts in the market themselves are making it easier for the developer to release games as they’re ready, rather than rushing development to meet an ideal launch window.
“We can launch games whenever we’re ready and whenever we want because there’s a good appetite for new products on the market on the market just thanks to the fact that there are less big games coming to the industry, said Guillemot. “That gives us the possibility to choose when to launch because it’s really the quality that will make the difference in the industry.”