Ubisoft Says to Expect More Annual Sequels

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Ubisoft Says to Expect More Annual Sequels

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The Assassin's Creed developer believes that annual sequels can continue as long as the games are good.

Sequels have been big business this generation. This has, in part, been a result of the times. Development costs are higher than ever and sequels are a far safer bet than investing in new properties. That said, as some franchises have begun falling into annual release cycles, there are those who have expressed their doubts as to whether that sort of business model can continue much longer. Countering such naysayers is Yannis Mallat, head of Ubisoft Montreal, who says that annual sequels are here to stay.

"When you have quality content, the frequency of coming out with the game is not an issue at all," said Mallat. "On the contrary, people expect more and more of that content. So it's natural to be able to provide that content. The gamers are happy and it's our job to make them happy." Mallat is not without basis for his claims. The Assassin's Creed franchise has grown significantly more popular and profitable since the first game launched in 2007, thanks in no small part to a consistent string of sequels. Assassin's Creed III, released in 2012, was a massive success, selling 3.5 million copies in its first week and more than 12 million copies total in the months following.

Shortly after the release of Assassin's Creed III, Ubisoft announced Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, slated for a 2013 launch. It was also revealed recently that another Assassin's Creed game could already in the works for 2014. Mallat is confident these game will both be successful in part because Ubisoft has created a development culture tailored toward regular releases, with multiple teams working on different projects with coordinated schedules. "Every Assassin's Creed has one dedicated core team working more than one year on their projects. We call that a roadmap. It takes into account the creative content - the settings, the where and what - the technology and the team."

While Mallat believes that Assassin's Creed can enjoy a healthy life of regular releases, he does admit that it probably won't go on forever. That being the case, he doesn't see an end in sight. "The players will tell us. Right now there are more and more coming into the franchise, so I don't see that day."

Source: Eurogamer via Games Industry

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I'm really glad this is happening.

Said no one in this thread.

Haven't bought an Assassin's Creed game since Brotherhood and won't until the series is done. I was under the impression that we were getting a trilogy of games. Apparently not.

Well, I was disappointed with Assassins Creed 3 over all, that last chase sequence, the ridiculous crap when Conner led the army. The only thing I loved about the game? Naval Battles believe it or not, I really enjoyed them. After Assassins Creed 3, I really see no point in continuing with Desmond's family line. We pretty much wrapped that up didn't we? (albeit in a really weird, ridiculous way)

Bleh.

The annual releases along with the fact that they seem to be padding the ever loving fuck out of the story is exactly what put me off the Assassins Creed series. Seems like nowadays it's less about "Assassins vs Templars" and more "Look at this historical figure/time period!"

Yesterday's story reworded?

Well he has a point, if the games are good it doesn't really matter how often they come out. It's just when the series fizzles out and they keep getting worse is when the problems start.

Please, please, PLEASE tell them that it takes time to make "quality content". A LOT of time. We don't need annual releases, and we never asked for it. Seriously, just stop aiming for sales expectations that are above 5 million, and just be happy if you get 1 million because those are often the people are really care about the series.

Just... Please. We are not cows.

StewShearer:
Ubisoft Says to Expect More Annual Sequels

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The Assassin's Creed developer believes that annual sequels can continue as long as the games are good.

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Well you should have probably stopped after AC:Brotherhood because that is when you started to slip with the yearly releases. After AC2 I noticed the game was becoming overstuffed with useless mini-game crap that no one wanted to get in the way of assassinating people. Oh sure they will continue to sell for a bit longer because AC is still somewhat fun but the shine is wearing off and I can't see this lasting more than 2 more years.

And if the games are crap? Does nobody learn from the Guitar Hero debacle, even now?

Although many might not agree with me I still think Assassin's Creed 2 holds up the best among the sequels. Plus with Ubisoft rushing to excrete Assassin's Creed every year it's slowly losing it's polish. Hopefully it doesn't turn into Call of Assassin's Duty.

Such a shame. The games are suffering from this. All the series feels like anymore is a bunch of extraneous crap thrown together. No real "core" to it anymore, which is a shame. Games have been getting buggier as well, and don't get me started on the damn insta-fail missions that give you extra objectives then fail you if you attempt to pursue those objectives.

Wait, are Ubisoft co-owned by EA and Activision or did they just decide to try and run their franchise in to the ground all on their own? I can see it now: Altair's Pro Stabbing. Ezio Hero: Legends of Stab. Assassins Creed 2014: Modern Sea Battle-fare.

Leximodicon:
Well he has a point, if the games are good it doesn't really matter how often they come out. It's just when the series fizzles out and they keep getting worse is when the problems start.

The thing is, the more often they release these games, the quicker the idea well will run dry. And that is when the series will start to fizzle and degrade.

Oh so I can continue to ignore Ubisoft? Fine....

They can have my money when they get some imagination....

Not every series can be Madden...but I guess Ubi will try.

You better have some SICK skins for the multiplayer Ubi.

Huh, I wondered why AC was looking similar to Tony Hawk.

All jokes aside, this is a terrible idea for the franchise. They keep adding on a bunch of random shenanigans while forgetting that the game is about fucking assassinations. I bet that the idea for Black Flag spawned from the overwhelming praise that the shipping got in AC3. "Hey, did you know that people's favorite part of an Assassin's Creed game were the bits where you sailed ships? Let's make an Assassin's Creed game all about sailing ships!"

We need less business people in the games business.

Yay for a business decision that not a single person wants.

You know what I don't want Ubisoft? To play Assassin's Creed III for three years in a row before you decide to do something new (then again, I haven't even played III yet so it could be terrible and maybe I really won't play them again).

There seems to be this idea in AAA publishing that you can just release the same game every year and it doesn't get old. Then every three or four years you'll be able to release a totally revamped version and it will also be really good. This is a myth of course. Nothing in the history of the gaming industry shows this to be true. There's no reason to believe that releasing more of the same thing will keep things fresh, or that yearly release schedules give sufficient time to properly innovate, or if anyone will even care once you do.

By all means then, let's carry on doing the same thing that already killed several major franchises in the last several years.

I don't want annual sequels, I want quality sequels. Pretty over publishers missing the mark completely. And where the hell is Rayman 4, Ubisoft? You promised us Rayman 4 in the Rayman 3 tutorial!

Enjoy straining out your IP into total mediocrity.

"Yay for a business decision no one wants."

"Just what I wanted, said no one ever."

"We don't need annual releases, and no one asked for it."

Sales figures dictate that you are all very, very wrong.

AC 1- 10.56 million sold, lifetime
AC 2- 10.76 million sold, lifetime
AC Brotherhood- 9.35 million sold, lifetime
AC Revelations- 8.2 million sold, lifetime
AC 3- 9.61 million sold, lifetime

Those are incredibly strong numbers, and they don't even take into account Steam purchases, PSN and Games on Demand sales. My guess is the series is holding pat at around 10 million a year. Those are better numbers than Madden has pushed out yearly. Also consider that they aren't creating a new engine for each release, and the costs to produce each yearly installment drops, while the profit margin increases.

"The Assassin's Creed developer believes that annual sequels can continue as long as the games are decent."

I think is a better way to put it.

For AAA games, they are honestly pretty good. Compared to anything else though, they are decent crazy romps through so many fictionalized events that I probably wouldn't pay more than 25-30 bucks for.

Unfortunately because the sales are so solid they can continue to do this. Sell a game for 60 bucks across all available consoles, put in half the effort so they can squeeze out another sequel every year, rake in the profit. Now maybe it does cost a lot still to make a new game every year but they clearly are able to do it. This is just my issue with games like CoD, they keep punching them out so often that not only does it feel like we spent the full amount for a new game that is basically the same as the last, but the excitement of getting a new one dies down and you just feel obligated if you are a fan of the franchise.

I kinda held off getting into the franchise before, but now I'm reluctant to get in. If I want the full experience it may not cost a super ton if i start now, but it would suck a ton of hours that could have been spent on other things. I may have to just simply not invest in the franchise then.

FloodOne:
"Yay for a business decision no one wants."

"Just what I wanted, said no one ever."

"We don't need annual releases, and no one asked for it."

Sales figures dictate that you are all very, very wrong.

AC 1- 10.56 million sold, lifetime
AC 2- 10.76 million sold, lifetime
AC Brotherhood- 9.35 million sold, lifetime
AC Revelations- 8.2 million sold, lifetime
AC 3- 9.61 million sold, lifetime

Those are incredibly strong numbers, and they don't even take into account Steam purchases, PSN and Games on Demand sales. My guess is the series is holding pat at around 10 million a year. Those are better numbers than Madden has pushed out yearly. Also consider that they aren't creating a new engine for each release, and the costs to produce each yearly installment drops, while the profit margin increases.

No one is arguing that it isn't getting them returns for now but rather that they know if Ubisoft continues this trend it will start to plummet as history has proven with many games.

I'd also like to point out that there are many now jilted fans of the series that was expecting a conclusion at the end of AC3 not a cop-out. I am interested to see how long Ubisoft can keep it up. It is not a question of IF but rather WHEN the game will have taken its toll from yearly releases.

Right well the operative phrase is "as long as the games are good" and even then, it can be a stretch. There is such thing as saturating the market with your product and it certainly doesn't help if said product is shite (*ahem* AC3).

Can anyone even tell me what Assassins' Creed's core feature even IS anymore? Like, what is the one thing it does best? What's its identity?

It's like Resident Evil after RE5... the gameplay, the themes, the identity it once had are just gone, and it instead just cribs from its predecessors and other games and has nothing truly unique anymore that makes it worthwhile.

I think a lot of people went into AC3 expecting something big, like the jump from AC1 to AC2... and I think sales of the next game will be vastly inferior after AC3 was... decent... at best. I could be wrong, though. Maybe it'll be like Madden and everyone will just buy it anyway because.... because it's Assassin's Creed and the roster changed up a bit.

If the games were ORIGINAL AND DIFFERENT then maybe I'd have bought them after Brotherhood. Since then I've given up on the series. I think that the whole Real-World/Magical Machine That Puts You In The Past, is a dead angle. It would be better at this point to simply make a game or series that takes place in various time periods and doesn't jump back and fourth for stupid reasons. OR! They could make you feel like a REAL Assassin and not some un-killable GOD who can rush into a crowd and hack his way through a army of armed guards with 1-hit kills. I'd rather take the time to land that ONE single/perfectly executed kill, rather then just running headfirst into the room like a common thug instead of a Assassin.

FloodOne:
"Yay for a business decision no one wants."

"Just what I wanted, said no one ever."

"We don't need annual releases, and no one asked for it."

Sales figures dictate that you are all very, very wrong.

AC 1- 10.56 million sold, lifetime
AC 2- 10.76 million sold, lifetime
AC Brotherhood- 9.35 million sold, lifetime
AC Revelations- 8.2 million sold, lifetime
AC 3- 9.61 million sold, lifetime

Those are incredibly strong numbers, and they don't even take into account Steam purchases, PSN and Games on Demand sales. My guess is the series is holding pat at around 10 million a year. Those are better numbers than Madden has pushed out yearly. Also consider that they aren't creating a new engine for each release, and the costs to produce each yearly installment drops, while the profit margin increases.

The numbers game, when talking about the gaming industry, is not that straight forward. You need to realize that while sales have been quite strong for the series, what you can see from those sales charts is a game becoming unexpectedly popular (1), creating a unique sequel with the same core spirit (2), and then releasing it two times over (B/R) which caused fans to lose some interest. When the game was finally resumed with a nice amount of changes (3), a pretty large chunk of what could've been a loyal fanbase wasn't there anymore, couple that with the fact that the game itself was not particularly good and you can assume Assassins Creed 4 is going to sell less than Brotherhood, and I don't want to throw my eggs in a basket but it will probably tank under Revelations as well. Because, with Assassins Creed being established as a yearly occurrence, the series ultimately loses its charm until it can no longer sell a good 5-6 million copies, at which point Ubisoft benches the series and gets a new star. But what will stay with them from the Assassins Creed experience won't be a large check, stagnant money goes away really quick for companies and what keeps them alive is a steady income after all. What will remain with Ubisoft is a significant loss of fans and respect towards whatever they produce next, and that's what kills a company looking for short-term money. EA has made some shameless farming in the past and now the only thing they have left is contempt from its consumers and a crumbling infrastructure, Ubisoft's decisions make it quite susceptible to the same.

In other news, the captcha specifically says "work out", what the hell is that supposed to mean :C

When they started the damn yearly releases the games went to shit, AC Revelations was so poorly implemented on PC, seems like the grey colour made it just worse. After the shit that was for me Brotherhood I stopped caring about the games thou, And it was even worse after knowing that they dropped Mayan/Aztech and French Rev ideas in order to make a shitty Ezio trilogy.

Yay... More AssCreed.

The sad thing is that I love the first game. Back then I had no idea how the series would turn out. Still, Assassin's Creed II and Brotherhood are very good despite the annoying protagonist. I haven't touched Revelations and I quit Assassin's Creed III before I even got to play as Connor. From what little I've seen, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: It's Assassin's Creed VI, Actually seems to be even worse.

Oh well, if people in general keep buying them, good for them.

I can't afford to get them fast enough T_T

I swear I'm collecting this series like baseball cards.

The Assassin's Creed developer believes that annual sequels can continue as long as the games are good.

But they're not going to be good, and thus annual sequels aren't going to continue.

Can't set that statement in stone yet, though; not till AC: The Pirate Game comes out in a few months.

Tanis:
Not every series can be Madden...but I guess Ubi will try.

Dude, they could out-do Madden; they can release a game TWICE a year! The same one! They can sell patched versions! THINK OF THE PRE-ORDER OPPORTUNITIES! Hype all day every day!

I think they will see their sales drop like they were throw off a cliff is they attempt to do annual sequels to their Assassin's Creed IP. I stopped after number 2, and haven't touched the series since. It didn't improve upon the actual assassination aspects of the game like I had hoped. EA said crazy sales devalued IPs but the truth is annual and frequent (in gaming standards) sequels and expansions of IPs are what devalue them.

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