Ubisoft have announced that their pirate-themed title, Skull & Bones, has been delayed for another year. Skull & Bones was first announced way back in 2017, but has experienced a treacherous development period, leading to multiple delays.
Ubisoft have come under quite a lot of criticism in recent years, and the state of one their latest original titles is sure to add fuel to the fire.
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The Curse of Skull & Bones
The latest delay is now the fifth delay to Ubisoft’s Skull & Bones. The naval combat game was first conceptualised after the release of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, a game that featured plenty squabbles between pirate ships. Because of this, it was assumed that the game would be an extended offshoot of the pirate ship missions that featured in the adventures of Edward Kenway.
However, the game was then delayed and failed to resurface for quite some time, until further delays were announced during the pandemic. After years of turmoil and allegations aimed at the Ubisoft Singapore development studio, the game appeared to finally be heading for land in 2022, with Ubisoft finally revealing more about the game in their latest Ubisoft Forward event.
As part of the September 2022 presentation, an overview of the Skull & Bones game play features was unveiled to hype up the game before its expected November 2022 release. At the time, we honestly paid little attention to the trailer and decided to focus on the Assassin’s Creed showcase instead. But looking back at the trailer, the details looked rather slim for a game set to launch a few months later.
Less than a month after the trailer released, the official Skull & Bones social media channels have released a statement declaring that the game has been delayed to 9th March 2023. In the announcement, the team have claimed that development for the game has finished, but Skull & Bones had been pushed back due to feedback from various tests. As a result, they would revisit the game to add some polish and provide the best experience for players.
Hearing this after the many years of delays has definitely raised concerns over the state of Ubisoft’s upcoming game. Despite having plenty of time to iron out the finer details, its safe to presume that the tests have highlighted some major issues within the game.
One of the biggest criticisms directed towards Ubisoft has been their over reliance on older franchises, and their lack of original titles has been a concern for a few years now. Whilst it was likely inspired by Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, Skull & Bones is one of the only original titles that Ubisoft is set to release. However, the issues the game has suffered throughout development has just reinforced the issue.
More Troubles For Ubisoft
As one of the biggest game developers in the world, Ubisoft has had plenty of success with a number of different games. The likes of Assassin’s Creed, Tom Clancy, and Far Cry are considered some of the best franchises in gaming history.
But in recent years, Ubisoft have struggled to replicate the same level of consistent success. Many of their recent titles have failed to make the desired impact on launch, with blockbuster titles like Far Cry 6 receiving poor reviews. But what is going wrong? And how can Ubisoft turn the tide and get fans back on their side?
From the outside, it seems that the company is struggling to find a successful format, and are focused on pushing the legacy of franchises rather than the content within the individual games themselves. Also, if recent reports are true, these issues stem from years of internal conflicts and abusive behaviour within the organisation.
But no matter what the true reason is behind it, the results have left many fans disappointed with Ubisoft’s latest releases. And in our opinion, some of the criticisms are well justified.
For example, many critics have pinpointed Ubisoft’s bigger is better approach as a key problem with their recent AAA titles. Games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are padded out with side missions and activities that provide very little to the overall story, and seem to be used as an easy way to boost playtime.
Whilst these statements are more opinion based, the lack of success for original titles is a more concrete concern for Ubisoft. When it was first announced, Skull & Bones looked to be a certain success that would allow the company to strike gold once more. However, the delays and reveals so far have now left fans skeptical of the upcoming pirate adventure.
If Ubisoft’s latest game does release on the new March 2023 launch date, it will be carrying the weight of the company along with it.