When Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
releases this holiday, it will be the second year in a row for the franchise -- its third installment in total since its holiday 2007 debut. But don't expect that trend to continue: Ubisoft says it's going to give AC
a year off in 2011, and that the gap will be good for avoiding fan fatigue.
Ubisoft Montreal's Jean Francois Boivin concedes that "business can come back and override everything I say because at the end of the day it's about selling games," but in an interview with Eurogamer he discusses why taking a year off would be good for everyone
"You can't plow a field every year," he says. "Once every three years – or once every something – you have to let it breathe. You have to let the minerals back in. I think it's the same thing with any license, really."
He suggests that over-annualizing music game franchises might have contributed to their decline, as fans just aren't as excited about a property whose sequels are constantly available. "You gotta make people miss it a bit," He says. "It's like, 'Oh man! I'm so happy it's back!' But if you keep force-feeding to people then people are like, 'Yeah, enough of your Assassin's Creed
"I think we could do something really true to the license if we skip a year and release it in 2012 or 2013," says Boivin. But timing is still important -- "we need to keep it relatively close by, because we have to keep the interest there. I don't think we do a service to this license if we pull a Duke Nukem
on people, you know what I'm saying?"
Although the team is pacing itself, Boivin tells Eurogamer that they've already decided where the series is going next. "It would lack vision and blunt intelligence to wing it episode after episode. We have to have some vision with the story. We very much do; we know all that stuff," he says.