Skip to main content

Skull and Bones to gain new life as a live service game

With the recent Ubisoft Forward event showing off major titles like Watch Dogs: Legion, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Far Cry 6, some fans still had one question on their minds: Where was Skull and Bones? The game first set sail at Ubisoft’s E3 presentation in 2017 with an extensive gameplay walkthrough showing off elements similar to the boat mechanics in certain Assassin’s Creed entries: Upgrading your ship, raiding outposts, and engaging in naval combat.

Initially planned for a release in 2018, the title has since all but vanished, getting pushed back year after year. The latest official news came from Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot during a 2019 investors call where he stated that the game would be out sometime in the 2021 fiscal year. But why the delay? And why no mention of the gaming during the recent Ubisoft Forward?

We might now have an answer. Video Games Chronicle reported that the game has expanded into a more ambitious live service title. Skull and Bones always had a large multiplayer component, but now its story quests and PvP combat are being blended into a single experience, something that one could assume is akin to Sea of Thieves. Apparently, the title was struggling to form its own identity and distance itself from simply being an Assassin’s Creed spinoff.

The team reportedly decided to turn it into a more cooperative game to separate it from Ubisoft’s predominantly competitive multiplayer experiences. Fortnite‘s big year was 2018, and its seasonal updates and chapters were reportedly a big influence on the game Skull and Bones has now become: A world where the communities’ actions will forge the experience going forward.

This transition also included a leadership change. The game’s previous creative director, Justin Farren, left the company and was replaced by editorial vice president Elisabeth Pellen.

Though two years is a relatively short amount of time, it’s an eternity in terms of game releases. Since the inception of Skull and Bones’ development, the battle royal genre has taken the world by storm, and titles have increasingly introduced persistent online components to maintain their relevancy in the discourse. It was probably a smart move for the team to make sure Skull and Bones pivoted to do the same. Does this mean the game is on the horizon, or will it have to weather the storm a while longer into 2022? With Ubisoft confirming another Ubisoft Forward event for later this year, we might not have to wait long to find out.

Editors' Recommendations

Tom Caswell
Professional video producer and writer, gaming enthusiast, and streamer!
Ubisoft and more offer ways to play purchased Google Stadia games elsewhere
The protagonist of Assassin's Creed: Valhalla shouting in battle and wielding two axes.

Google recently announced that it plans to shutter its cloud gaming service Stadia in early 2023, leaving players who used it as one of their primary platforms in an awkward situation. Google already promised to refund people for their Google Stadia hardware and software purchases, but people are still losing access to games they enjoyed and save files they possibly dumped hours into. Thankfully, some developers are working on ways to help Stadia players.
The most notable studio to help Stadia players is Ubisoft, which was Google's earliest partner for the technology via an Assassin's Creed Odyssey demo. "While Stadia will shut down on January 18, 2023, we're happy to share that we're working to bring the games you own on Stadia to PC through Ubisoft Connect," Ubisoft tweeted. "We'll have more to share regarding specific details, as well as the impact for Ubisoft+ subscribers, at a later date." Thankfully, the Stadia versions of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, and Watch Dogs: Legion support cross-progression, so players won't lose their save files.
Ubisoft isn't the only developer to help. Developer Muse Games is giving Embr Steam codes to those who played its comedic co-op firefighting game on Stadia if they email the developer with screenshots of Embr in their Stadia library. Meanwhile, IO Interactive confirmed that it is "looking into ways for you to continue your Hitman experience on other platforms," as the World of Assassination trilogy was available on Google Stadia. 
There's still the matter of the five Google Stadia exclusives: Gylt, Hello Engineer, Outcasters, Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle, and PixelJunk Raiders. So far, only one of those games seems like it will be saved. PixelJunk Raiders developer Q-Games said in a blog post that "we hope to find a way to continue to share the vibrant worlds of Planet Tantal in the future, and we’re open to discussing opportunities to find the right publishing partner to make it happen.. Tequila Works, tinyBuild, Splash Damage, and Bandai Namco Entertainment did not respond to requests for comment from Digital Trends.
While the shutdown of Google Stadia is disappointing for players like myself who enjoy cloud gaming, at least players will be get refunds, and in some cases get the game for a new platform.

Read more
The long-delayed Skull and Bones loses its 2022 release date
Skull and Bones

Ubisoft has announced that it has delayed its upcoming pirate adventure game, Skull and Bones (again), to March 9, 2023. It was originally slated to launch on November 8 this year.

"Ahoy there, privateers. Our team is hard at work polishing and balancing the experience ahead of the worldwide launch. As a result, we’ve made the tough decision to move our release date to March 9, 2023," Ubisoft says in a statement. "We’re very eager for you all to get your hands on Skull and Bones and dive in headfirst to the dangerous and exciting world of building your own pirate empire. To give you the best possible experience we’ve decided to take a little more time to make sure we can deliver exactly that."

Read more
How to pre-order Assassin’s Creed Mirage: retailers, editions, and bonuses
An assassin overlooking Baghdad.

The next Assassin's Creed is fast approaching, but this one isn't quite like the last few we've had. Rather than follow the open-world, western RPG style that Origins kicked off, Assassin's Creed Mirage is taking things back to basics in a lot of ways. It will be a more focused, story-heavy game that takes place primarily in just one city and will only last around 20 hours instead of up to 200. The focus once again is on stealth and using your skills to assassinate targets, as well as your parkour and tools.

Just because Assassin's Creed Mirage was built off of what was first intended to be DLC for Valhalla, that doesn't mean it isn't going to have just as much care and attention put into it as any other Ubisoft title. In line with this, there are three individual editions of the game already up for pre-order to pick from. Whether you've been with the brotherhood since the inception of the hidden blade or jumped in when RPG mechanics and loot were brought onboard, there's a lot of content between the different editions to choose between. Here's all you need to know.

Read more