A GDC 2018 presentation from Assassin’s Creed’s creative director may have given us a major hint at which Ubisoft studio will be heading development on the next Assassin’s Creed.
Jean Guesdon, the current creative director of the Assassin’s Creed series, gave a presentation at GDC 2018 titled “10 Years of Evolution of the Assassin’s Creed Brand” that mainly focused on how Ubisoft managed to pump out so many Assassin’s Creed games in such a short period of time. The trick was to have multiple development teams working together on multiple games at the same time.
As Guesdon lays it out, the first two Assassin’s Creed titles were largely singular efforts by a core team at Ubisoft Montreal. However, starting with Assassin’s Creed III, Ubisoft began using a secondary team in Montreal to head development while work on Assassin’s Creed II was wrapping up. Meanwhile, Ubisoft Singapore began working on DLC for Assassin’s Creed II before transitioning to work on Assassin’s Creed III with Ubisoft Montreal’s second team while Montreal’s first team went on to develop Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and, a year later, Assassin’s Creed Unity.
This is when things get really nuts.
A third team was formed at Ubisoft Montreal to knock out Assassin’s Creed Revelations in a year before heading up development on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, which actually started development a year after Assassin’s Creed Unity despite releasing a year earlier. The craziest part is that a second team was formed at Ubisoft Singapore to develop Black Flag‘s naval combat while the first Singapore team was working on Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed Unity with two different Montreal teams.
From there, teams in Ubisoft Sofia and Ubisoft Quebec were formed to work on content for Black Flag. Quebec went on to develop Assassin’s Creed Syndicate while Sofia worked on Assassin’s Creed Rogue with Singapore’s second team, after which both teams shifted over to working with Montreal’s third team on Assassin’s Creed Origins.
A screenshot from the presentation shows this crazy workflow in chart form:
Let’s zoom in on that and check out that chart:
This chart clearly opens up a couple of possibilities as to who will be heading development on the next Assassin’s Creed game. Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Singapore’s first teams could definitely have started work on the next Assassin’s Creed game in tandem in 2015 after finishing up Assassin’s Creed Unity. However, Unity‘s game director, Alex Amancio, has since left Ubisoft, so if Ubisoft Montreal’s first team is working on the next Assassin’s Creed, it would be without Amancio. Plus, if the next Assassin’s Creed game isn’t coming out until 2019 as predicted, that would mean a ridiculously long five-year development period. By comparison, Assassin’s Creed Origins took about three years to develop.
The second Montreal team behind Assassin’s Creed III is also a possibility, though that game’s director went on to direct Far Cry 4, so it seems like that team has transitioned to other properties.
That leaves the Quebec team behind Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Development for that game ended in 2015, leading about a three- to four-year development time for the next Assassin’s Creed. Plus, one of Syndicate’s directors, Scott Phillips, is still listed as a game director at Ubisoft. Plus, by Guesdon’s own admission, Ubisoft Quebec’s job on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was to basically deliver a high-quality product following Unity‘s rocky launch and disappointing reception. Ubisoft Quebec did just that, meaning that the team there can probably be trusted to take the formula from Origins and run with it. Our money is on the Quebec team for the next Assassin’s Creed.
As for what that game will be, early rumors suggest that Assassin’s Creed will travel even further back in time from Origins and settle in ancient Greece, a claim that is somewhat corroborated by a recent survey reportedly issued by Ubisoft that includes the “Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta” as a possible backdrop for the next game.