The newly announced Assassin's Creed Syndicate will be different from past games in at least one important way: it won't have any multiplayer.
In an interview with Game Informer, creative director Marc-Alexis Côté explained that Syndicate won't have any of the competitive modes first introduced in AC Brotherhood. Likewise, the game won't have the four-player co-op of last year's Assassin's Creed Unity.
The reason that they decided against cooperative and competitive multiplayer, Côté says, is that they want to devote their attention to the campaign:
It’s really about returning to our roots. Returning to what made this series such a success. For us, it’s truly the single-player experience, and investing in that that’s going to make Assassin’s Creed feel more modern and fresh for our players
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot made essentially the same argument during the company's latest earnings call last night. He said that they "want to spend all our time on making sure the single-player is excellent and it's coming along extremely well."
I think you can trace the decision back to Assassin's Creed Unity. Unity had much worse reviews than past games in the series because of what a buggy mess it was. Unity's troubled launch was such an embarrassment for Ubisoft that they ended up giving away free games to people who bought the Season Pass.
During the livestream for Assassin's Creed Syndicate yesterday, the developers spent a lot of time talking about the poor reviews for Unity. They obviously don't want the same to happen with Syndicate. I understand, then, why they'd want to chop off multiplayer and make sure the rest of the game is as polished as possible. A single-player-only game might disappoint a few players but a bug-riddled game disappoints everyone.
I doubt Ubisoft will completely abandon multiplayer for Assassin's Creed, though. The assassin-versus-assassin competitive modes were such a staple of the series last generation. Those modes were so different than every other multiplayer experience out there and they fit the series so well. My guess is that Ubisoft will bring them back in a year or two.
Syndicate, revealed yesterday, brings the series to 19th century London. The main character is Jacob Frye, an Assassin who wants to take back the city from the rich and corrupt. He'll recruit gang members and use them to gain control over London's streets. Frye armed with a number of new weapons including brass knuckles, a dart launcher and a revolver.