It is unlikely that 2011 will see the release of an Assassin's Creed game, the series' associate producer has told Eurogamer.
Ubisoft Montreal's Jean-Francois Boivin said the popular stealth-em-up needs a "breather" following the release of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood later this year.
"Honestly, I think for the benefit of everybody – and business can come back and override everything I say because at the end of the day it's about selling games – I believe that this license needs a breather. You can't plough a field every year. Once every three years – or once every something – you have to let it breathe. You have to let the minerals back in. I think it's the same thing with any license, really.
"We can see a lot of the music games that are releasing year after year – the interest is a lot less than it used to be. The excitement is a lot less than it used to be. You want to keep people excited. You gotta make people miss it a bit. It's like, 'Oh man! I'm so happy it's back!' But if you keep force-feeding to people then people are like, 'Yeah, enough of your Assassin's Creed'.
"I don't think there's going to be an Assassin's Creed in 2011. I think we're going to let it breathe a bit and really focus on bringing something new and exciting for the next time around. This [Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood] is the end of Ezio's story. This is it."
Brotherhood, due out in the UK on 19th November for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, will include multiplayer for the first time in the successful series, and is set in Rome. Ubisoft insists the game is more than "Assassin's Creed 2.5".
"I really don't know," Boivin replied when pushed on the duration of Assassin's breather. "Bottom line, it's not for me to say. We have some business people that will eventually put a date and say, 'This needs to come out'. We have our creative people, who are also pushing on their end, saying, 'We need this much time to do something new and refreshing, just scope wise'. So I don't know how much time we'll need.
"If we skip a year, I think we're good. But yeah, I think we could do something really true to the license if we skip a year and release it in 2012 or 2013. We need to keep it fresh though; we need to keep it relatively close by, because we have to keep the interest there. I don't think we do a service to this license if we pull a Duke Nukem on people, you know what I'm saying? It's hard to answer."
Despite Boivin's call for the series to take a breather, he told Eurogamer that the development team has already decided where the next game will be set and in what time period.
"We know exactly where we're going," he said. "It would lack vision and blunt intelligence to wing it episode after episode. We have to have some vision with the story. We very much do; we know all that stuff.
"I'll nibble on your hook. I can't directly answer your question. Of course you understand that. But what I can say is you have to remain true to what the license is. It's the story of Desmond Miles, and it's the story of a machine called an Animus that reads genetic memories from your ancestors. It has to stay in there. If it doesn't, then there's this whole justification that needs to happen.
"We need to keep doing that for the duration of this license. We need to keep treating players with respect and treating players with the smarts they have. That's why they will keep coming back, if we continue to keep doing that. That's the way I'm going to answer your question."
Head over to the Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood gamepage for more.