It has already been rumoured for awhile but now its official, Assassin's Creed will skip 2016.
The franchise has been going strong since it first launched in 2007, moving to a yearly release cycle with Assassin's Creed Brotherhood in 2010. Releasing such a massive game every year is bound to take its toll, and there has been some fatigue among fans in recent years, especially in the wake of 2014's Unity. Last year's Syndicate was actually a more enjoyable title but Ubisoft has confirmed in a blog post that there won't be a followup this year.
"This year, we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin’s Creed franchise. As a result, we’ve decided that there will not be a new Assassin’s Creed game in 2016. Since the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, we’ve learned a lot based on your feedback. We’ve also updated our development processes and recommitted to making Assassin’s Creed a premier open-world franchise. We’re taking this year to evolve the game mechanics and to make sure we’re delivering on the promise of Assassin’s Creed offering unique and memorable gameplay experiences that make history everyone’s playground."
That all sounds very positive, giving everyone involved a little breathing room. It will be good for audiences and critics to gain some perspective in the interim and beneficial for the development teams to be able to work on a new vision without the pressure of having to churn out another game to a yearly schedule. Assasssin's Creed is a series with a lot of great ideas and some mechanics and gameplay which can get in the way of really letting you enjoy them. So we're hoping for great things in the future.
It was originally rumoured that a Watch Dogs sequel could take the place of a regular Assassin's Creed entry and that's still a possibility as the game was mentioned as part of their yearly slate, though that covers releases up until March 2017 so we may have a while to wait.