Updated: As part of Ubisoft's quarterly financial report to investors, CEO Yves Guillemot has confirmed that the publisher won't be releasing a new Assassin's Creed title for the fiscal year of 2016-2017, so don't expect any new stealth action until at least April 2017.
Since 2009, you've been able to set your calendar by Assassin's Creed releases, but growing rumblings from corners of the internet suggest that the franchise's next instalment (codenamed Empire) will skip 2016 in favour of 2017. Which is great.
Here are the major releases in the Assassin's Creed series to date
- 2007: Assassin's Creed
- 2009: Assassin's Creed II
- 2010: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- 2011: Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- 2012: Assassin's Creed III
- 2013: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- 2014: Assassin's Creed Rogue
- 2014: Assassin's Creed Unity
- 2015: Assassin's Creed Syndicate
Given that additional chapters and shorter adventures have been released between these games, that is a staggering number of titles to produce in eight years - with some instalments suffering a lack of polish in the rush to get them finished.
Word originally spread via 4Chan, bolstered by a report from Kotaku, that Empire - long-rumoured to be set in ancient Egypt - would break the pattern of annual releases in order to ensure that a fresh, entirely overhauled game experience can be released. Guillemot's latest statement lends further credence (Creedence?) to these reports.
Amongst the mutterings and nudges to have emerged, word from 'insiders' has suggested the game will have more of a story focus, with a return of horses and boats. The game will be built entirely from scratch (not using the Syndicate engine), with seamless travel between locations - akin to the vast world of Witcher III.
Granted, all of this is conjecture - but a delay in the endless march of regular titles is surely good news. Rather than forcing games into timed release slots regardless of their completion, if groups like Ubisoft are willing to give its game developers time to complete exciting, complex games, worthy of the Assassin's Creed label, we're happy to wait.
Besides, we still haven't hit that 100 per cent completion rate on Syndicate yet - let alone Fallout 4 or Tomb Raider. There's still plenty of adventuring to be had.