The Assassin’s Creed franchise might have always been planned as a mainstay of the yearly video game release cycle, but there’s certainly no denying its dominating presence now. Though the initial plan was to tell a story that follows a different protagonist, as told through the eyes of their ancestor, each year, that plan has been abandoned in favor of a less linear approach.
With Assassin’s Creed 3, the next installment in the aforementioned Ubisoft franchise, the developer is going back to basics and starting fresh. Not only are they introducing a new protagonist, a new setting, and a completely new story, but they’re wrapping all of that up in a brand new engine as well.
But Ubisoft isn’t afraid to talk about what implications the existence Assassin’s Creed 3 might have, and is not shying away from discussing their current release strategy — one that saw Ezio Auditore star in three different console releases.
As Creative Director Alex Hutchinson puts it, Assassin’s Creed 3 now puts the franchise up with the likes of Mario and Resident Evil. Their initial plan wasn’t to have the series be ongoing like it has, but now that has become the plan.
One important element that Hutchinson points out is the amount of value inherent to a first title. There’s so much risk involved, especially when launching a new IP, that a developer is almost forced to put out several iterations on that base formula in order to be successful.
Hutchinson wouldn’t say that this means Assassin’s Creed 3 won’t be the only AC title to feature Connor, but our guess is that players will not be done with him. This entry will, however, mark the conclusion of Desmond’s journey in the franchise, in hopefully a satisfying way.
If this does mean that Assassin’s Creed is adopting the annual cycle whole cloth, there’s no better time to announce it than on the back of AC 3, a fresh new approach to the series. Hands-on time, and lengthy gameplay trailers, has shown a game much more involved than in past iterations.
How do you feel about the annualization of the Assassin’s Creed franchise? Would you prefer they take several years to develop an iteration as fresh and new as AC 3?
Assassin’s Creed 3 releases October 30, 2012 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. And on November 20th for the PC.