We previously reported that, due to the less-than-stellar reception of Assassin's Creed Unity, Ubisoft was considering putting the franchise on hold for a year. Earlier today, Ubisoft itself made it official.
In a post on the Ubi Blog, the publisher confirmed that Assassin's Creed would be taking this year off. While there's no new information on what the next game in the series will be, the post does confirm many of the rumors that had originally made their way online a few weeks ago.
At the end of the day, it comes down to Assassin's Creed Unity: when the game first launched, it was clear that Ubisoft had rushed it out the door in order to meet a deadline. Assassin's Creed Syndicate was a step in the right direction, but the series still had a long ways to go before it returned to the glory days of Assassin's Creed II. Thankfully, Ubisoft is finally listening to its fans: the series is officially going on hiatus as Ubisoft decides on its next move.
"This year, we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin's Creed franchise. 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."
While the lack of a new Assassin's Creed game may be a disappointment to longtime fans, the move should pay off in the long run. One could argue that the series has been in decline since 2013's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag — and even before then, the annual release schedule was starting to take its toll on the franchise. With a longer development cycle, Assassin's Creed could go back to being a landmark event in the gaming industry instead of being just another cog in the machine.
Of course, just because there's no Assassin's Creed set for 2016 doesn't mean fans won't be hearing about the next game in the series until next year: Ubisoft has a strong track record at E3, and there's a good chance that the next Assassin's Creed game could make its debut at this year's show.