It looks like the creed really does need a break.
While reporting its financial results for the third quarter of 2015-2016, publisher Ubisoft admitted that its Assassin’s Creed franchise is beginning to lose interest from consumers. It also confirmed that the franchise will take a break and not see a main series release in 2016. Assassin’s Creed was Ubisoft’s premier game franchise, so this break and decline in popularity could hurt the publisher’s bottom line this year. However, it only has itself to blame, especially after 2014’s Assassin’s Creed: Unity shoved a lot of fans away with its bugs and technical issues. The console market is worth tens of billions of dollars, but losing a major franchise like this could negatively impact it (even if just slightly). For context, the yearly Call of Duty releases have made more than $10 billion in a decade for Activision.
In its report, Ubisoft noted that last year’s release, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, had a “slower launch than expected” despite positive reviews. While it blames a competitive holiday season, the disastrous launch of Unity and the fatigue that comes with yearly release were likely major factors.
“This year, we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin’s Creed franchise,” Ubisoft noted on the series’ official site. “As a result, we’ve decided that there will not be a new Assassin’s Creed game in 2016. Since the release of Assassin’s Creed: Unity, we’ve learned a lot based on your feedback. 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.”
This is kind of an awkward time for the series to lose popularity, with a movie based on the franchise (starring Michael Fassbender) coming out December 2016.
The original Assassin’s Creed came out in 2007. Starting with its first sequel in 2009, the series saw yearly installments that now ends with Syndicate. In 2014, Ubisoft actually released two games, Unity and Rogue, which probably didn’t help with that whole franchise fatigue thing.