Assassin’s Creed Is No Longer An Annual Event. That’s A Good Thing.
Assassin’s Creed has had a major installment in the franchise every year almost since the beginning. However, on the heels of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey Ubisoft has announced that they will be skipping 2019 for a major release. In a statement, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said:
“In Assassin’s, we had a game [in 2018] and we have one this year, but we are not going to have a full-fledged Assassin’s next year. It’s just because the team were working separately, so we have two games now, one year after the other. But next year you’re not going to have a fully fledged one.”
So, instead of just releasing an installment and moving onto the next one, the company will be focused on the one game, in this case Odyssey. Mr. Guillemot also wouldn’t confirm if a spin off would be released in 2019. This has been met with a mixed reaction, with many saying it makes sense, and others decrying not having an annual release.
I’d fit squarely in the former camp, but I’d go a little further; there should be more development time between all installments, not just Odyssey and what comes next, but with all future releases.
But let me explain myself. Over the past few years, Ubisoft has been accused of releasing buggy, and at times unfinished, Assassin’s Creed games. It’s been a major bone of contention for fans for years. If Ubisoft had more development time they’d be able to spend more time on quality assurance, testing the game for glitches. Essentially, they’ll be able to spend more time ensuring that Assassin’s Creed lived up to its potential on day one, instead of needing countless patches and post-launch bug fixes.
This post-launch fixing inevitably cuts into the following entries development time, leading to something of a domino effect. Going from yearly to once every two or three years helps remove some of the pressures of developing to a tight deadline; sure, you still have to have it shipped by a certain date, but the further that date is, the more time Ubisoft has to develop a game that isn’t s bug riddled as previous entries.
The fact that Ubisoft fixed the majority of each installments bugs post-launch proves that, with some more time, they can release a truly great Assassin’s Creed game. Look through almost any Assassin’s Creed release cycle and you’ll see plenty of complaints of bugs – either game breaking or minor – followed up by a pretty swift fix. Clearly, Ubisoft knows about many of the games bugs pre-release, but doesn’t have the time to fix them in time for its launch.
With Odyssey being released this year, and an apparent blank slate for 2019, this will give Ubisoft plenty of time to fix anything wrong with the game, and develop something just as spectacular next time round. That time, hopefully, we won’t have anything as near as many bugs that we’re used to with a Ubisoft release. Let’s just hope the longer development time proves me right.