Assassin's Creed developer Ubisoft has said it has ideas in place for the series' eventual ending - whenever that might be.
In a conversation with Eurogamer, Assassin's Creed 4 game director Ashraf Ismail explained the franchise's bosses had a rough idea of how they wanted the series to finish.
"We have multiple development teams, then we have the brand team that sits on top and is filled with writers and designers concerned with the series' overall arc," Ismail explained. "So there is an overall arc, and each iteration has its place inside this.
"We have an idea of where the end is, what the end is. But of course Yves [Guillemot, Ubisoft's overall boss] announced we are a yearly title, we ship one game a year. So depending on the setting, depending on what fans want, we've given ourselves room to fit more in this arc. But there is an end."
"We have an idea of where the end is, what the end is. But of course Yves announced we are a yearly title."
One advantage of having multiple games in development at the same time is different teams are now able to share notes and include hints at future series entries.
"We're now able to seed stuff earlier and earlier in our games," Ismail continued. "So for example in [AC4] we have Edward, who was seeded in AC3. But there's a lot more stuff in our game that is hinting at other possibilities."
Ubisoft's collection of studios collectively gets at least two years for each major Assassin's Creed game, but there are still work-in-progress features pushed into the next instalment.
Ship boarding had to be reduced to a cut-scene in AC3, despite originally being planned as a real-time event. AC4's team have now managed to implement this in Black Flag, but found themselves too ambitious in another area.
"The biggest cut we made - which we were pushing hard for but we felt we couldn't achieve at a high enough quality - was multiplayer with naval [battles]," Ismail said.
"We had really cool prototypes but to get it to work and to balance the systems - the balance of naval is tricky - to do that in multiplayer... we just couldn't do it in this iteration."
We already know a few details about Assassin's Creed 5 - or whatever 2014's AC entry will be called. One of the primary studios working on it is Splinter Cell: Blacklist developer Ubisoft Toronto, which is headed up by one of the series' original co-creators, Jade Raymond.
This article was based on a press trip to Ubisoft's studios in Singapore and Montreal. Ubisoft paid for travel and accommodation.