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Ubisoft: Quality Makes “Annualization” A Total Non-Issue

Many gamers thought Ubisoft should've let the Assassin's Creed franchise take a year off.

Instead, we're getting the pirate-themed Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag for current- and next-gen consoles; it's slated to launch for the holiday season. And Ubisoft believes this is exactly what consumers want.

When Ubisoft Montreal boss Yannis Mallat was asked by Eurogamer whether or not gamers were annoyed at the idea of seeing a new Assassin's Creed title every year, his response was simple:

"No. The players will tell us. Right now there are more and more coming into the franchise, so I don't see that day."

Mallat went on to say that provided each entry is a quality product, the gamers will continue to respond. Essentially, it's his belief that the overall quality of the title overrides the frequency of installments, which is definitely a topic for some discussion. Said Mallat:

"It's our breakthrough. When you have quality content, the frequency of coming out with the game is not an issue at all. 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."

We've seen a new iteration in the AC widely acclaimed franchise every year since 2009. And really, if we go by the sales numbers, Mallat is basically correct. Why take time off when the majority are likely to buy the latest and greatest each and every year?

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10 years ago

He has a serious point, they are quality games no matter what else ya say about the frequency. However I don't think that makes it immune to erosion from a gameplay standpoint. As he says gamers expect more and more and sooner or later it WILL become impossible to deliver that without either stagnation or utterly changing the franchise and alienating the fanbase.

10 years ago

I think they just admitted to adopting the CoD mentality and business approach to game development. I'm all for producing a game in a series if the approach or content is varied or at least creative enough. But I have moved on to looking for something fresh and creative.

And as for quality…. thats comes down to individual opinion.

That said, I hope Ubi delivers to the committed fans of the series. I was happy to stop at AC2 Revelations and leave the series.

Keep Playing!

10 years ago

I avidly played the first AC, never having played a game of that nature with such cool gameplay mechanics. Seriously, the hidden blade is so awesome.

AC2 fixed almost everything (except for loading, glitches and whatnot for PS3). AC2 felt polished, amazing. Ezio had much more charisma than Altair. The game added new weapons and less repetitive missions, although the freedom had been removed a little.

Brotherhood continued the story and I was happy because I was getting more of the same. The world felt small and empty compared to the variety of locations in AC2. Still, new gameplay and characters and Desmond's story progressed but I was a little annoyed as the game didn't quite feel worth the money.

Then came Revelations. I got this later on so the price would be lower and was extremely happy again to continue the epic story that ties Altair, Ezio and Desmond's fate together. However, the game felt like it lacked polish. New gameplay features like the bombs and parachute were fun for a few moments. There were very unmemorable characters.

Comparing this to Far Cry 3, another Ubisoft game. Far Cry had been clearly polished and had tons of effort put into every inch of the island. The graphics prove one small factor. As did the first class voice acting.

I am awaiting an AC entry to rival the quality of AC2.

10 years ago

I think the polarized feeling of interests comes from different gamer types clashing on their appetites.
On one hand you have gamers who want to play the latest and greatest that offers something new and interesting but not overly done, then on the other you have fans of that specific series who want more of the same.
I think games like CoD and AC bear the blunt of being chastised for redundancy, now even GoW, but the products still sell well because there's a core base that follows that product despite the naysayers.
I'm not suggesting it's always this way, an either this or that scenario, but I suspect there may be some of this at play.

10 years ago

My favorite Assassins creed was the first one. Gameplay wise, story wise and even character wise. It felt like some amazing unique and secretive game with a story that should have unraveled in the following games. I did like AC2, but the desmond story REALLY fell away from me. Bringing in the whole 2012 thing just completely broke any and all love for that part of the story. And in ac3, Haytham was OP. Amazing character, Connor can be summed up in three words. "Where's Charles Lee?"

10 years ago

Am I the only one who is waiting on an AC set in China? I'm wondering what the hell happens to Shao Jun.

10 years ago

people wanted AC to take a year off because there really was not much innovation between 2 and 3.
brotherhood and revelations added small gameplay additions, but was not the leap 2 to 3 was.
and thats why people hate the anulization, because it would of been impossible to turn brotherhood into AC3 yet keep the same release.
quality is irrelevant though when the game just does not feel right!
GTAIV, RE5, LP2, MP3, I2, KZ3, GOW3, AC3, 8 perfect examples of VERY high quality games!
but also 8 perfect examples of the most disappointing games in HISTORY!
well, put it this way.
a sequel is not a sequel when it feels like a new IP!
when a sequel abandons all that made the franchise so great and beloved, suddenly how good the game is, the high amazing quality, is irrelevant!
Ferrari could make the most amazing, beautiful, technically ground breaking car possible, but if it was slower than the car it replaces people are going to be pissed no?
whole point of a Ferrari is SPEED!
just like the whole point of a sequel, is to feel like it belongs to the name thats attached to it!

and that is exactly why so many people are really disappointed with the ps4!
every single god dam time a new playstation has released it has offered technology that would put even the highest most expensive PCs to shame!
ps4, well, my 2 year old laptop would put it to shame, let alone a laptop from this year!
let alone a gaming desktop from this year!
whole point of a new playstation has always been to bring tomorrows technology today, to the masses, for the price of the masses.
and the ps4 simply just aint doing that!
thus it has no purpose.

Last edited by ___________ on 3/30/2013 9:00:32 AM

10 years ago

People are already getting tired of Call of Duty and this guy is deluding himself if he thinks that it can't happen to his franchise. Quality can delay the inevitable, but it can't prevent the inevitable. At some point, audience fatigue will set in.
You can already see the cracks forming with Assassin's Creed 3. That game had some major bugs at launch and when you're issuing a fix for 44 bugs-some of them game breaking-then it should cause you to rethink some things. If they hadn't been on such a tight schedule then they could have held it back to fix it but November was coming and it had to go.
I didn't have internet at the time that AC3 came and it diminished the experience for me. I couldn't complete the Encyclopedia of the Common Man quest and even after downloading the patch, one of the Boston fetch quests won't show as complete, even though I finished it.
Annualization may be good for publishers but ultimately it'll come back to bite them. I would much prefer that they take their time and make the game as polished as possible before they put it on the market.

10 years ago

Well you may be getting new people Ubi, but you've lost me. While quality may still be high, too much of one thing in such quick succession is not a good thing. It makes me unwilling to continue to look into your product because there's so much of it.

There's no hype surrounding each AC release because either one is being announced or being released every few months. There's no way to let it breathe because there are so many of them so close together. Therefore, I lose interest because it is just in my face all the time.

So while the quality is still good, too much of a good thing in such a short window makes that product less and less appealing.

10 years ago

After AC3… Yeah, no thanks Ubisoft. Assassin's Creed is back to being a series I buy a game for when it's cheap just as AC2,Brotherhood and Revelations were. I didn't pay full price at launch but I regret the $40 I did spend. If I don't abandon the series all together I'll consider picking up AC4 on the PS4 in a couple years when I get the console. Hell, by then AC5 and 6 will also probably be out and in bargain bins.

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