Ubisoft has said that there will be no mainline release in the Assassin's Creed series this year.
This was first rumoured last month, along with claims that the gap in the schedule will be filled by Watch Dogs 2. That has now been confirmed, too, with Ubisoft listing Watch Dogs 2 for release some time before the end of March 2017, making a Q4 2016 release a distinct possibility.
Speaking to investors, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot acknowledged that the most recent Assassin's Creed, AC: Syndicate, had a slower launch than it expected. Indeed, despite hitting No.1 in the UK at launch in October, Syndicate fell well short of all previous main entries in the series.
It has been presumed that gamers were holding off to ensure that the game didn't suffer from the same technical hiccups as its predecessor, AC: Unity.
This year, we are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin's Creed franchise,” the publisher explained in a blog post. 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.”
There has also been talk of Watch Dogs 2 doing the rounds for a while. The original exceeded Ubisoft's expectations, but the publisher has admitted that it was fully prepared to take plenty of time with its sequel to ensure an improved critical performance.
Although Ubisoft has said little of the game, it has now said that it will boast strong digital live services”.