Remember that two year gap between Assassin's Creed and its well-received sequel Assassin's Creed II? Chances are, not many Assassin's Creed players would, because they didn't really climb aboard the bandwagon until after the series became annualized. Well, regardless of what you think about the whole yearly release thing, Ubisoft has no plans to slow down right now. Their reasoning? Assassin's Creed is doing better than ever.
Such is the decree from Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallet, who undoubtedly reflects popular opinion of the publisher -- or its investors, at the very least. Besides, if the community were truly sick of the series, they'd say (or do) something about it; this is Mallet's reasoning. On whether the series would ever stop its annual release pattern, he said:
"No. The players will tell us. Right now there are more and more coming into the franchise, so I don't see that day.
"It's our breakthrough. When you have quality content, the frequency of coming out with the game is not an issue at all.
"On the contrary, people expect more and more of that content. So it's natural to be able to provide that content. The gamers are happy and it's our job to make them happy."
Mallet isn't wrong about the "more and more" thing. Despite complaints over where the series was headed during Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Revelations, 2012's Assassin's Creed III was a major success and set sales records for the series. Launch week sales doubled those of Assassin's Creed II. Not that any of them have been bad, as Ubisoft does maintain a level of quality most annual games don't see, showing some impressive managerial skills over its many, many development studios worldwide.
Not everyone actually shares the "annual is good" sentiment, not surprisingly. In 2010, prior to Brotherhood's release, Ubi Montreal's Jean-Francois Boivin remarked that the series needed a "breather," that it would benefit from a less regular release schedule so fans had time to actually get excited for the games. In a bit of PR repair, Mallet told investors that Boivin's comments were "from the production team" but "the decision is not theirs."
In 2011, Revelations creative lead Alexandre Amancio said that plans were to drop the annual releases in order to give developers more time to work. He left shortly after, replaced by Alex Hutchinson.