The Assassin’s Creed series, like many other franchises, is known to be an yearly event with consistent releases since 2009. Including 2014, when Ubisoft took things a step ahead by releasing not one, but two games in a year, both of which failed to impress.
Quality over quantity seems to be the new theme around Ubisoft offices this time round. And to quench rumors that picked up in January, the publisher confirmed that there will not be a new Assassin’s Creed this year. And now Far Cry, another annual series from Ubisoft, has been pulled away from a launch in 2017.
Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot mentioned at the time that the end game was not to “come back to an annual cycle, but to come back on a regular basis“, which was assumed to be sometime in 2017. But Tommy Francois, Ubisoft’s VP of editorial team told IGN that it may take much longer than that to put things back on track.
We believe alpha for these games needs to be one year before release. We’re trying to achieve that. That’s super f**k*ng blunt, I don’t even know if I’m allowed to say this. This is the goal we’re going for: Alpha one year before [release], more quality, more polish, So if this means biting the [bullet] and not having an Assassin’s game, or a Far Cry [in 2017], f**k it.
He further added to signify the importance of reaching an alpha stage as quickly as possible:
because the more time we have for this the more polish we have, the more time we can change, refine, swap systems. You just can’t take shortcuts.
He also made it clear that the gap isn’t an attempt to avoid over-saturation. Francois stated that Far Cry has “only been going up in sales” — but that it’s merely a creative decision to give the developing studios a fighting chance to get away from the over-done “Ubisoft open-world formula” and try fresh new things.
I do think we need to break that formula, this year we’ve given Far Cry and Assassin’s some time to decant, innovate, and polish. The objective behind this is exactly that.
Ubisoft hasn’t really ever been reluctant about delaying many of it’s other major projects in recent months, either. Earlier this year, it pushed back two planned division expansions so as to be able to focus on straightening out the core game itself. This month it also pushed South Park: The Fractured But Whole, which had been prepared for a December release, into early 2017.