For six years (Assassin's Creed II 2009 - Assassin's Creed Syndicate 2015), Ubisoft has produced and released Assassin's Creed on a yearly basis. What was once a fresh and innovative IP, full of creative possibilities, inevitably became stale under the weight of forced new installments.
Ultimately, the publisher buckled under the pressure of fans request and market trend alike, choosing not to release a new Assassin's Creed mainline game this year. Amidst a huge Polygon feature article on the future of Ubisoft, Game Director Benoit Lambert expanded on the topic:
We want to take the time to develop a great game. Since the first Assassin's Creed we have developed the knowledge on how to craft an open world game and we worked very hard to understand what it means and implies. This was challenging but thrilling.
Today, our development teams are eagerly looking towards the future as we have the ambition and desire to fully challenge ourselves about what it will be to actually play an open-world game in the years to come. We want players to feel that their experience of playing Assassin's Creed feels unique and meaningful.
We actively participated in defining what playing an open world game actually means, but we are working hard to continue to push our technologies and ideas further.
That's certainly the proposition we were all hoping for, though of course we'll have to wait and see what the development team manages to achieve with this extra time. Chances are the next Assassin's Creed will be set in Egypt, according to early rumors, and released in 2017; even so, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed the series may not necessarily go back to the annual cycle afterwards.
Let's hope so, as that would certainly translate into more time for the developers to create those unique and meaningful experiences cited by Benoit Lambert.