This fall will see the release of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, only a year after the last numbered installment, Assassin’s Creed III, hit the shelves in October 2012. Despite the relatively low numbers, ACIV will be the sixth full-game home console installment in the franchise, and the seventh if we count the beefy and majorly fun Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, which was exclusive to the handheld PlayStation Vita.
The reason I bring up those numbers is because, according to a conversation between Kotaku and Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot, the publisher has another three games in the franchise currently in development (well, two if one of those three is Assassin’s Creed IV). Needless to say, that’s a buttload of Assassin’s Creed titles. And somehow, Ubisoft doesn’t expect to bore its customers with a new installment every year.
Guillemot says the secret is in making sure the publisher’s studios have ample time to make each game new and different, despite the familiar trappings:
“We are making sure the teams who are creating the different iterations have enough time—two years, three years, so that they can take risk and they can change the concept enough so that it can be appealing and fresh.
Really, what we see is that we can have the capacity to regularly come with innovation. That is, for me, the formula: if you can really change the game on a regular basis and bring in innovation your fans want a product very regularly. Our job is to make sure the teams have enough power, enough energy and enough time to take the necessary steps to create a high quality game.”
So there you go: more games in development already. It’s no secret that Ubisoft’s going to milk this cash cow until it keels over dead. And you can’t really blame the publisher—each new game makes more money than the last, so why not have a new installment every year?
By that same token…man. Assassin’s climbing things, killing dudes…it’s all pretty samey, isn’t it? As much as I loved Liberation on the Vita, I just couldn’t get into the main version of Assassin’s Creed III. Too similar to what I’d experienced before, a bit too boring in terms of location. Really, colonial Boston can’t hold a candle to Renaissance Italy. And Liberation actually changed things up with its persona system. Could Black Flag have what it takes to shake the series up and keep folks coming back for more? And will the next two games, whatever they are, keep the innovation coming?