Another huge delay is coming for Ubisoft. It was Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora earlier this year. Now it’s Skull and Bones, the only big fall blockbuster from the company that makes Assassin’s Creed.
Two people familiar with the game’s development now tell Kotaku that it has been pushed back. Shortly after the book came out, Ubisoft confirmed this by announcing that the new release date would be March 9, 2023.
The latest delay isn’t apparent, but it comes less than a month after the game was shown at Ubisoft Forward, the company’s big 2022 gaming show. Kotaku knows that the latest technical test for Skull and Bones ended on September 19.
One person involved said that the gameplay was better than in previous tests but that the player’s progression still didn’t seem very deep. Several people who worked on making the game were also worried about this.
Here’s What Ubisoft Said On Wednesday In Its Official Announcement
Pirates, what’s up? Before the experience goes live worldwide, our team works hard to make it look good and ensure it is balanced. Because of this, we had to make the hard decision to push our release date back to March 9, 2023.
We can’t wait for you all to get Skull and Bones and start building your pirate empire, which is both dangerous and exciting. We’ve decided to take a little more time to ensure we can give you the best experience possible.
For those who can’t wait, we’re also happy to say that an open game beta will be coming up soon. We’ll quickly tell you more about how to sign up to register, so keep an eye on our social media for more news and updates.
Skull and Bones were first announced in 2017 as a session-based multiplayer ship battler. However, the game went missing after 2018 and was delayed several times as it was rebooted and changed to focus more on crafting and survival sim elements like Rust.
When Skull and Bones were officially shown again this year, the videos showed players completing missions to improve their reputation, unlocking new crafting blueprints, and then collecting the materials needed to make the stuff.
There was no land combat, and it wasn’t clear what the game’s story would be about. Some people also thought the graphics wouldn’t be as good as they were, especially for Ubisoft’s first $70 game and a game that won’t be on PS4 or Xbox One.
One former developer said that part of the problem is that the game’s ocean needs to be loaded all the time, which leaves less time and money for better cutscenes and other visual effects.
Kotaku said in 2021 that the idea for Skull and Bones came from a plan for an expansion for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Ubisoft Singapore, in charge of the project, had never made a game of that size before, so it was hard for them to devise a clear and doable plan.
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Development problems seemed to be made worse by political fights between team leads, contradictory orders from Ubisoft’s headquarters, and a toxic studio leader. Some employees also said they were sexually harassed, and the management did nothing about it. They also noted that French expatriates and local developers were not paid the same.
Even though Ubisoft eventually hired a new studio director and sent the old one back to its Paris office, saying that the workplace culture had changed for the better, Skull and Bones has continued to have trouble.
Some current and former Ubisoft developers think the game would have been canceled a long time ago if Ubisoft hadn’t spent hundreds of millions of dollars on it and made a deal with the Singapore government to ship the game in exchange for tax breaks.
Ubisoft has also been due for a big release for a long time. Since Skull and Bones aren’t coming out this year, which was already a slow one, the only big holiday games from the publisher will be Just Dance 2022 and Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. Ubisoft had planned to release Assassin’s Creed Mirage, which was the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla expansion turned into a stand-alone game to help fill the gap.
However, that game was also pushed back. Valiant Hearts 2 is the only other Ubisoft game to come out in 2023. Ubisoft didn’t answer right away when asked for a comment.
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