As suspected, Ubisoft will not release a mainline new Assassin's Creed game in 2016, the publisher confirmed today. Ubisoft is giving the franchise a year off in an effort to "give the brand a new dimension," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said in a statement.
In a blog post, Ubisoft shared more insight into the decision.
"This year, we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin's Creed franchise. As a result, we've decided that there will not be a new Assassin's Creed game in 2016," the studio said.
"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."
During an earnings call, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said not releasing a new Assassin's Creed mainline game this year gives Ubisoft the time to "[take advantage of all the new technologies."
Management also said during the call that this move does not signal that the Assassin's Creed series is permanently moving to a bi-annual release schedule. Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez said the company will evaluate the release schedules for every new game on an individual basis.
Though there won't be a new installment in the core Assassin's Creed series this year, something that Kotaku first reported last month, fans of the series can check out the Assassin's Creed Chronicles series (all three games are now available), while the Michael Fassbender-starring Assassin's Creed movie comes out in December.
The next big Assassin's Creed game is rumored to be set in Egypt and is reportedly called Assassin's Creed Empire.
This announcement came today as part of Ubisoft's latest earnings report for the quarter ended December 31. During the three-month period, Ubisoft revenue was €561.8 million, down from €809.7 million during the same period last year and below Ubisoft's forecast of approximately €600 million.
Assassin's Creed Syndicate was one of Ubisoft's major releases during the quarter. It didn't live up to Ubisoft's expectations, seeing a "slower launch than expected," the publisher said. Additionally, Ubisoft said it was pleased with the game's quality, but remarked that it faced "exceptionally fierce" competition.
In November, Ubisoft said Syndicate's first-week sales performance was negatively impacted by Assassin's Creed Unity's bugs. Second-week sales rebounded, however.
Unity launched in October 2014 and was riddled with bugs and other technical issues at launch. Syndicate's release in October 2015, however, was significantly smoother, which could explain why sales rebounded in the second week.
Though no sales number for Syndicate specifically was provided, Ubisoft said it sold 10 million copies of Assassin's Creed games (including back catalog titles) during the first nine months of its fiscal year.
Another big Ubisoft game released during the period was Rainbow Six Siege. Ubisoft did not share any sales numbers, but said the game enjoyed "record player engagement levels." Previously, Ubisoft said it thought Siege could become Ubisoft's best-selling FPS ever, outpacing Far Cry 4.
The publisher also announced today that it has revised its full-year earnings and profit forecast. Ubisoft revenue is expected to be €1.36 billion, which is flat compared to the previous guidance. Profit projections, however, have been revised downward from €200 million to €150 million.
Ubisoft will hold an earnings call this afternoon to discuss these results. Check back later for more.