Ubisoft’s Skull & Bones have been an enigma since it was first revealed. The hyperrealistic nautical pirate adventure seemed intriguing, but the silence over its development was curiously telling, until Ubisoft announced that it now has a release window set for a time between April 1, 2022 and April 31, 2022. March 2023. After spending years working on this game, it seems to be now in a playable alpha state, but a new report suggests that the time it has taken so far has been all but fluid navigation.
A new report from Kotaku talks about the road so far, including how Skull & Bones was initially destined to be an expansion to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, the first entry into the franchise that has focused heavily on nautical warfare. According to the site, more than 20 developers who have worked at Ubisoft have spoken Kotaku anonymously to discuss the journey that has been Skull & Bones. Originally intended to be a multiplayer expansion for Black Flag, Ubisoft has finally turned it into an MMO link to the Assassin’s Creed game called Black Flag Infinite. That obviously didn’t work, but the idea was eventually transformed into its own IP, even though that had some apparent growing pain.
One aspect of the new information on Skull & Bones is that there were a few different parameters in mind for this maritime adventure, including the Indian Ocean and a completely manufactured new world called Hyberborea. When a direction was finally decided, Skull & Bones made its first appearance back at E3 2017 with a deeper dive the following year focusing on PvE elements rather than PvP. Since then, however, he has endured some change of direction. While it may seem scary, it’s important to remember that this is not as rare as you might think. There are many times when focal ideas are suddenly discarded, features are left on the floor of the cutting room, or the narrator has taken the journey to a new and interesting place. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work, but the development of the game is intricate and nuanced, meaning that everything doesn’t always go according to plan.
That said, one developer told the site that if it was another publisher, the entire Skull & Bones would have been discarded by now. The agreement reported by Ubisoft with the Singapore government has kept the game alive, regardless of what the hundreds working on. According to the developer who opened up to this, Ubisoft Singapore is contractually obliged to launch original games in relation to the subsidy payments. With a production cost of more than $ 120 million, according to the report, and changing goals for what it is destined to become, many Ubisoft staff have left the company with the site calling it an “exodus” of sorts. . This vacancy was also compounded by the toxicity reported in the Singapore study, which you can learn more about, all in all, here.
The initial launch date for Skull & Bones is scheduled to release sometime in late 2018. Numerous pushbacks have delayed the game’s launch. Now, we have some intuition as to the possible reasons why this was the case.
An Ubisoft spokesman told the site, “The Skull & Bones team is proud of the work they’ve done on the project since their last update with production just passing Alfa, and they’re excited to share more details when the time is right. That said, any speculation based on the game or the decisions that are taken will only work to demoralize the team that is working very hard to develop an ambitious new franchise that meets the expectations of our players. “
The statement continued: “Over the past year, we have made significant changes in our policies and processes to create a safer and more inclusive workplace and empower our teams to create games that reflect the diversity of the world in whom we live “.
One developer added that the Skull & Bones concept seems easy to create on paper, but the reality is far from public perception. From Sid Meier’s inspiration to a “cathedral on the water” concept, what this game ends up being at launch is a guess for anyone. At the moment, a current developer at Ubisoft said that the game is “always evolving” and that the concept “simply isn’t there yet.”
To read the full report, check out the long history explored here.