1) I want to say HELL NO! But it really depends on what you actually mean by episodic. I will still say HELL NO though since games like the ones you listed have upwards of 300+ people working on the game. I went to an animation talk by one of the leads on Assassin's Creed 3 a year ago and he stated that the development team size was over 300 people. Assuming you want to make a game 1/10th the size of assassin's creed, you would need 30 people for a year (this is really a rough estimate since 30 good people would be more than 1/10th of the productivity of that team). Assuming the average salary is $50,000 yearly (which is low for experienced people, but a lot of the 300 are low wage QA), that is already 1.5 million dollars and you haven't spent a dollar on marketing.
Another thing to consider is that while Assassin's Creed comes out every year now, the original definitely would have had a lot of pre-production time. Definitely more than 6 months.
Unreal allows for free use in lieu of royalties paid (I've never used unreal so I'm only going by anecdotes). The royalties are quite a bit for a big company, but for a small budget they are very reasonable and remove a lot of financial risk.
You really need to better define the scope of your project to get a real estimate of the work involved. If you know the size of the world, or the number of levels, and the number of characters, and the level of quality of the artwork (among countless other things including audio), THEN you can start to break down the game into hours of work, which can then be converted to salary. There are of course other costs, such as servers for version control repositories, and equipment.
Lastly, even if you did work out the cost and it fits your budget (which seems impossible to do if you have no experience), who is going to hire the employees? You? How would you know who can do the job?
2) It really depends on the scope of the game. A game with one character and one enemy type in one environment takes much less to build than a game with several main characters fighting dozens of enemy types across 30 environments. You need to define your scope. You can easily develop something interesting with one programmer, and one artist, but it's definitely not going to be on the level or scope of a AAA title. Going by your description, I would guess you'd need at least 5 programmers, 5 animators
, 10 artists, 10 QA members, plus whatever designers you feel your need (probably 1 for a team that small), all relatively experienced (and therefore pricey).
3) Because you've never worked on a game before, I would suggest it, and I would learn as much as possible from them. Or find a programmer who shares some of your passion and can help you clarify your designs into something the rest of your team can work with.
Other 3) If you don't have a track record, money talks. It's also best to have working prototypes, concept art and high quality design documents to show you're serious. I would strongly recommend hiring a small experienced team (i.e. an experienced artist, animator and programmer) and working on a very small (very high quality) vertical slice of your game. I would then use this to entice other people to invest (either through investors or some crowd funding campaign). Only then would I commit to hiring more people to build the final vision of the game.
4) I think your inexperience is mainly a hinderance in terms of hiring the right people. Getting a small competent (experienced) prototyping team who you grow to trust would be my suggestion as they could then help out in the hiring process when your team is ready to jump into making the actual game.