Ubisoft launches pirate game “Skull and Bones” after development delays

Ubisoft launches pirate game “Skull and Bones” after years of delays. The game faces high expectations and risks, but offers a vast open world, engaging pirate fantasy, and ongoing content updates.

Ubisoft’s highly anticipated pirate adventure, “Skull and Bones,” is finally setting sail after years of development marked by delays, studio shuffles, and strategic shifts. The launch, scheduled for Friday, marks a significant gamble for the French video game powerhouse, venturing into a genre less explored in the gaming world despite the enduring allure of swashbuckling seafarers in film and other media.

While titles like Rare/Microsoft’s “Sea of Thieves” have charted courses on the high seas, Ubisoft is diving deeper with “Skull and Bones,” aiming to establish a standalone franchise beyond its blockbuster “Assassin’s Creed” series. The 2013 success of “Black Flag,” set in the golden age of piracy, hinted at the potential, but the journey for “Skull and Bones” has been more akin to an arduous odyssey than a leisurely Caribbean cruise.

Advertisement

The game’s development faced numerous delays, employee turnover, and strategic changes. The high-pressure world of big-budget game creation added further strain, demanding a balance between creative vision and financial viability.

Despite the challenges, Ubisoft persevered, bringing together an array of its studios. Seven years after the game’s initial unveiling in 2017, “Skull and Bones” is finally ready for its release. Players will embark on a thrilling odyssey within a vast open world, either charting their course solo or joining forces with friends to form a fearsome pirate crew and dominate the trade routes of the Indian Ocean.

Taking on the role of a shipwrecked pirate, players will rise from obscurity to become a legendary plunderer through strategic resource gathering, cunning bartering, and intense ship-to-ship combat. Mastering the art of navigation, weathering the storms of the high seas, and maintaining a battle-ready crew.

Ubisoft’s CEO, Yves Guillemot, has emphasized the game’s expansive scope, promising players a vast and meticulously crafted virtual world to explore. However, the company now faces the crucial task of convincing gamers that “Skull and Bones” justifies its hefty $70 price tag.

Industry analyst Nick McKay warns that the longer a game’s development cycle, the higher the expectations from players, both in terms of quality and content. He highlights the inherent risk of gamers having “very high expectations” for such highly anticipated titles.

Early access players have already begun sharing their opinions online, with some expressing disappointment at the lack of features like on-land exploration. Concerns have also been raised about the potential inclusion of microtransactions, which could mar the gameplay experience for some players.

Building a dedicated community of players around “Skull and Bones” could enable Ubisoft to keep the game alive and profitable for years to come.