Online Game

Skull & Bones Becomes 'Multiplayer-First' Amidst Delays & Uncertainty

An update on Skull & Bones' development throughout a recent Ubisoft earnings call revealed the title now counts like a “multiplayer-first” game. Heavily inspired by Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag's stellar ship combat, Skull & Bones took center stage during Ubisoft's E3 2022 press briefing. The announcement generated much excitement at first blush, then skepticism settled in once it became clear the experience would boast hybrid on the internet and single-player offerings. Within the nearly five years since then, in france they publisher has yet to showcase anything of consequence from the swashbuckling adventure.

Skull & Bones' first delay hit the airwaves in front of E3 2022, with Ubisoft promising a monetary year 2022 release at that time. Several more delays followed, each one of these announced alongside a nebulous new release window. The issue seems to rest in the developer's and publisher's supposed inability to move forward with production, evidenced in uncorroborated reports that claim creative heads have rebooted Skully & Bones on at least two separate occasions. What this may all entail for that final product remains to be seen, obviously, but many would reason that such a tumultuous development cycle doesn't bode well for a brand-new IP.

According to VGC, Ubisoft's latest earnings report featured an update from CFO Frédérick Duguet about Skull & Bones' progress. Duguet offered little when it comes to concrete details, yet told investors the long-gestating pirate brand could prove a “promising new IP focusing on multiplayer first.” The CFO noted the game's multiplayer-first approach falls in line with Ubisoft's strategy to introduce multiplayer and co-op into expansive open worlds. Notably, Duguet then continued to express the publisher's pleasure with Skull & Bones' “artistic direction” and progress, thus far.

Interestingly, this same financial report saw Ubisoft confirm plans to release Skull & Bones during fiscal year 2023, a period that ends on March 31, 2023. Because of the multiple delays and long bouts of silence, it seems safe to say that those looking forward to the online pirate adventure should not stake their bets around the Assassin's Creed IV-inspired title going live the coming year.

Frédérick Duguet's comments will raise other questions as well, chief included in this being whether players can still be prepared to benefit from the adventure as a single-player experience. Other live-service Ubisoft titles with an emphasis on multiplayer, like the Division, suggest Skull & Bones could offer promising solo play. However, the dearth of information about the pirate game means this is little more than hopeful speculation. But if Ubisoft does truly plan to publish Skull & Bones within the next year or so, perhaps a few of the vagueness will start to dissipate at some point.

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