Rumors originally began to surface earlier in the year indicating that Ubisoft would not have an Assassin's Creed game primed and ready for release this fall for home consoles and PC. The rumors turned out to be true. Well, now it looks as if a new game may be further off than we thought.
According to IGN, they managed to get in word with Ubisoft's vice president of editorial, Tommy Francois, who explained to them that we may not see a new main entry in the Assassin's Creed or Far Cry entry in 2017, saying...
Alpha builds are usually playable from start to finish but far from complete. You may have all your basic gameplay mechanics in and the basic level layouts finished, but everything else is unpolished. If a company is touting "pre-alpha" and it's three months out from release... well either they have wizards on the design team to make development fly by (which is sometimes the case) or you can expect the game to launch highly unpolished if it's a massive project that requires more than a thousand people on the project (which is what happened with Assassin's Creed: Unity).
Interestingly enough, according to Francois, they aren't holding off releasing new Assassin's Creed or Far Cry games due to over-exposure. I would have truly assumed that was the case because personally, I stopped buying both series because too many were coming out too often and it was impossible to keep up. However, he states that the sales for the annual releases of both games were only "going up". That isn't entirely true, though, in the case of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, which Ubisoft did admit previously that the game underperformed during its launch quarter. They attributed the slow sales uptick to people being leery about it after the abysmal launch quarter of Assassin's Creed: Unity, which had great sales but was broken for six months after its initial launch.
In this case, Francois says that they're doing something radically different with both games. They're taking completely different approaches to the way the games are being made and altering their "macrostructures", which means that the core of how players will interact, engage and progress through the game will be different from previous entries in the series.
Rumor has it that the next Assassin's Creed will be set in Egypt, and Francois hints that they really wanted to flip the typical formula on its head to give gamers something completely new. I really hope this is true.
Right now they're still prototyping and refining some features, which is why Francois believes that 2017 is not a guaranteed slate of release for either Assassin's Creed or Far Cry.