Assassin's Creed 3 is 'kind of a new IP'
Annualizing a video game franchise doesn't always result in the same stale gameplay year in and year out. Just ask creative director Alex Hutchinson who credits the "big leap" of the Assassin's Creed 3 to the annual release model that Ubisoft adopted with the Assassin's Creed franchise.
"We have multiple groups now working [on the series]. We started this one in January 2010, the same time as Brotherhood and before Revelations," Hutchinson explained to Eurogamer at E3. "The core team on this one has been working at it for almost three years, which is something you can almost never get in the industry these days - it's too expensive, too risky. So we need the other projects to support that kind of development - these big jumps."
Assassin's Creed 3 is the fifth major installment, and third numbered title, in the wildly popular Assassin's Creed series. But thanks to the successful yearly releases of Brotherhood and Revelations it allowed Ubisoft more time to work on AC3 and take a possible risk by bringing the series into an all new setting.
In fact, this new setting of Colonial America during the American Revolution actually makes Assassin's Creed 3 feel more like an entirely new IP and less of a "sequel".
"The beauty of Assassin's is that if you do it right it's kind of a new IP," Hutchinson added. "It's still about navigation and combat, but it's a brand new hero, brand new setting, brand new fantasy. It really is as close as you could get to a big budget new IP late in the hardware cycle."
These days, it's not easy for companies to take that risk on a new IP. Games cost more to develop than ever before, and there are more competitors in the ring just fighting for a bit of the limelight. So once a company finds a hit they tend to stick with it and milk it dry. In Ubisoft's case, they chose to annualize Assassin's Creed, create some titles that towards the end began to get a little stale, and then surprised the world with an all-new Assassin's Creed 3 - which I admit, is the first Assassin's Creed I've been interested in.