Ubisoft has some bad news for its fans: Skull & Bones is being delayed yet again. The studio first announced the game’s development back in 2017. It was scheduled for release in 2018, but constant struggles have led to the game being delayed in four consecutive years. Now some fans have said they wonder if Ubisoft will cancel the game altogether.
If there’s good news to be found for Skull & Bones, it’s that Ubisoft isn’t pulling the plug yet. In their earnings report for the last fiscal year, which ended on March 31st, 2021, a single sentence offers a status update on the game. Skull & Bones is still being developed, and it’s currently scheduled for release in Ubisoft’s next fiscal year.
That means fans could become the captain of their own pirate ship anywhere from April 2022 to March 2023. If ye be needing the good, the bad, and the ugly of Skull & Bones, read on.
When Ubisoft launched Skull & Bones, they handed production over to their Singapore studio. Ubisoft Singapore has worked on several major games in the past. Most importantly they had a big hand in Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag. Their work on that pirate-themed game made them the obvious choice for handling Skull & Bones.
The Singapore studio may have had previous experience working with pirates & ships, but they didn’t have any experience making an entire game. Skull & Bones is the first full game the studio has ever worked to produce. That might explain why development has moved so slowly, and why Ubisoft has now assigned several associate studios to assist with the game’s production.
The most recent delay might have something to do with Ubisoft’s firing of the Singapore studio’s managing director, Hugues Ricour. According to a report by Gamasutra, Ricour was guilty of sexually harassing his female employees. Kotaku later confirmed the report, and Ubisoft removed Ricour from his position, without giving a reason, after conducting an investigation of their own.
It’s not all bad news for Skull & Bones. The game has a new creative director, Elisabeth Pellen, who has worked with Ubisoft for over twenty years. She’s been a part of some of the studios greatest successes. Most notably, she was in charge of level design for the first Splinter Cell sequel, Pandora Tomorrow.
Along with getting a new creative director, the game is also reportedly going in a brand new direction. Ubisoft has announced their intention to go for a “live” game model with Skull & Bones. Some had said the shift is due in part to the success of other live games, like Epic’s Fortnite.
The new direction includes quests, characters, and a persistent game world that will change over time in response to the actions of players. Before, all that was known about Skull & Bones was that it featured a customizable captain, a single-player adventure, and a PvP mode.
While the new direction is certainly exciting, some have said they’re concerned Ubisoft is over-promising on a game that’s shown no real development progress since its inception four years ago. There’s been no insight from Ubisoft Singapore as to where the game is in its development process.
Pellen understands fans’ concerns, especially after Skull & Bones was absent from the last Ubisoft Forward event, where the company shared updates on its upcoming games. She’s said that the Ubisoft Singapore team has “dreamt something bigger” for the game, and fans can expect to hear more from them sometime in 2021.
For now, it seems that Skull & Bones will still be released, but it could be two more years before anyone has their hands on the game. Are you excited to get a real look at Skull & Bones? What are you playing to satisfy your pirate appetite in the meantime? Let us know in the comments!
Gabran Gray grew up in & around Sioux City, Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in English (and more). He now lives and writes in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife and their mean cat.
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