Assassin's Creed 3's "big jump" made possible by annualised releases
This year's ambitious sequel funded by Brotherhood and Revelations.
The big creative leap promised by Assassin's Creed 3 would have been impossible had Ubisoft not annualised the franchise, according to the sequel's creative director Alex Hutchinson.
Speaking to Eurogamer backstage at E3 this week, Hutchinson defended Ubisoft's shift to an annual release model, explaining that it would have been impossible to be so ambitious with the impending third entry in the franchise had Brotherhood and Revelations not kept things ticking over.
"We have multiple groups now working [on the series]. We started this one in January 2010, the same time as Brotherhood and before Revelations," he explained.
"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.
"It's funny, people say it's about how often you release new entries, but I really think it's about how good they are," he added.
"If they put out Breaking Bad every day I'd watch it every day. I wouldn't need other TV. So I think this usually comes up when people aren't satisfied with something we did.
"Also, the beauty of Assassin's is that if you do it right it's kind of a new IP. 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."
Hutchinson remained cagey when asked if Assassin's Creed 3 will also end up a trilogy, as the second game in the series did.
"I think we've become much better at planning forward in the franchise so we have ideas," he replied.
"But we also know players love new characters and radical changes so we're still figuring a few things out. I don't know. I think it would be kind of neat at some point to say 'Connor is a character, he lived in this big epic game, that's his story', instead of trying to drag it out too much.
"But then again, it took up 18 months in terms of casting actors, building 20 or 30 versions of the outfit... just working on all these things to get it right, so it's not something you can do quickly."
Many fans and critics complained that the series was becoming stale and overly familiar with last year's Assassin's Creed: Revelations, which picked up a slightly below par 7/10 from Eurogamer, before Ubi revealed AC3's ambitious US setting earlier this year.