What the hell is going on with Skull and Bones? That’s a question that comes up every time Ubisoft updates their release calendar and inevitably delays their mysterious pirate game again. Of course, Ubisoft always assures us that the development is going well, but according to a new insider report from Kotaku, that is very much not the case. Skull and Bones has been in development for over eight years now, and it sounds like Ubisoft’s ship is more directionless than ever.
As you might have guessed, Skull and Bones reportedly started in 2013 as a spin-off of Assassin’s Creed VI: Black Flag under the name Black Flag Infinite. The idea was to reuse the technology that Ubisoft Singapore had already developed before Black Flag to create a fast turnaround time schedule. Unfortunately, the advent of new consoles and technology and growing ambitions have scuttled those original plans.
Over the past eight years, Skull and Bones would have rebooted countless times – it started out as a pirate MMO similar to Rare’s Sea of Thieves, then became a more focused session-based multiplayer game, than a survival crafting adventure. , and now it is… well, apparently no one working on the game really knows what the game is now. A developer who spoke to Kotaku described Skull and Bones as Ubisoft’s version of Anthem, in that little bits of the game might look good, but the underlying mechanics and content aren’t there. Not exactly the comparison you’re looking for when developing a new IP.
Skull and Bones has reportedly already cost Ubisoft $120 million, and that price tag is only going to increase as more than 400 people worked on the game as of 2019. At this point, the sunk cost fallacy seems to be keeping the project alive. , although, interestingly, a deal with the Singapore government may also provide life support. Ubisoft Singapore is reportedly receiving generous grants, but they are dependent on the studio producing an original made-in-Singapore IP. For their part, Ubisoft says the Skull and Bones team continues to take pride in their work, without really addressing or denying any specific part of Kotaku’s report…
The Skull and Bones team is proud of the work they’ve done on the project since their last update, with production just passing Alpha, and are excited to share more details when the time is right. That said, any unfounded speculation about the game or decisions being made only works to demoralize the team that is working very hard to develop an ambitious new franchise that lives up to our players’ expectations.
Of course, you have to take any report like this with a little salt, but the details sound all too plausible. It’s clear that Skull and Bones has been struggling with a lack of direction for quite some time – whether the project can get back on track is the question.
Skull and Bones has been announced for PC, Xbox One and PS4. The game is currently being released during Ubisoft’s fiscal year 2023, which ends on March 31, 2023.
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