I've been thinking about this: When we speak of "annualization," that means we're referring to franchises that see new entries every year, like Call of Duty , Madden and Assassin's Creed .
And it's certainly true that we've seen a new AC iteration every year since Assassin's Creed II released in 2009 and in fact, with the original launch in 2007, 2008 was the only year where we didn't get a new AC game. However, is this really the best example of the controversial "annualization" process?
Thing is, most every time they announce a new Assassin's Creed , one thing jumps out at me from the press release: The fact that the project in question has been in development for several years. So it's not like they spend only one year making a new series installment. And in truth, maybe it's unfair to apply the "annualization" tag to CoD as well, as Infinity Ward and Treyarch have been trading off this entire generation, which gives each team two years – not one – to make a new Call of Duty .
At the same time, maybe it can be argued that innovation and creativity must, by default, take a hit if the publisher continues to push their developers to have a new franchise iteration on store shelves at the end of every year. That much is obvious. I'm just wondering if, considering how many people (8 teams and possibly over 1,000 employees ) are working on Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag , we can really complain about a lack of effort. Sure, David Cage and other visionaries frown on the practice because perhaps true greatness and originality take time.
Even so, I think we need to take a closer look at this "annualization" label.