Skull & Bones Has Been Indefinitely Delayed

Skull & Bones Has Been Indefinitely Delayed

If you were holding out for Ubisoft Singapore’s grand pirate adventure, Skull & Bones, don’t get your hopes up. After being delayed from a 2018 autumn release to sometime in the 2019-20 fiscal year, Ubisoft has announced that the game has been delayed indefinitely.

First unveiled in 2017, Skull & Bones was playable to press and the public at E3 the following year. The game primarily focused on the ship-to-ship combat, with a single player controlling a single ship. You couldn’t board other ships, but the game world had sections of “disputed waters” for PvP and larger open-world maps that were shared between a maximum of 10 players.

“Our ships are RPG archetypes, so you have tanks and you have DPS, hybrid, support. That’s the type of experience we want people to have, so it’s accessible and people can understand it,” Justin Farren, the game’s creative director at the time, told Kotaku.

But Farren left the studio late last year, usually a harbinger that there’s a massive change in the offing. And with the company indefinitely delaying the game’s release – it no longer has a release window – it seems almost certain that we’ll see a very different Skull & Bones when it next appears.

On the bright side, Ubisoft won’t have any absence of games to show at E3 this year. Along with the new Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, the company announced in its latest earnings report that it would have three unannounced titles at E3 this year, all to release before the end of Ubisoft’s 2019-20 fiscal year (which ends March 30). Beyond Good & Evil 2 is already announced, so what could the other three games be?

Image: Ubisoft FY19 May 15 Earnings Slideshow


  • What do you think the 3 unannounced titles are?

    My guesses are:
    1. Watch_Dogs 3
    2. Just Dance
    3. Rayman (this may be wishcasting)

    • Ubisoft don’t consider Just Dance a AAA-IP for the purposes of this conversation – they’ve addressed that in the past – so it wouldn’t be that, even though they’ll probably open the show with Just Dance 2020 (or just 20?).

      I’d like a new Rayman, but maybe a Mario + Rabbids sequel that goes multi-plat?

      I’ll lay a cheeky bet on: Avatar for March 2020 (even though it’s kind of known, just not officially ‘announced’), Watch Dogs 3, whatever the next Splinter Cell ends up being, which will probably be their October release this year since there’s no Assassin’s Creed.

      • There’s no AC this year, but they could still announce it. The hints and rumours all seem to point to a viking theme this time around. I still want China and Japan as a full main-sequence AC game, personally.

        • The screenshot says that it is three games scheduled for “fiscal Q4”, which would be 30 December 2019 to 30 March 2020 going by what Alex wrote. It’s possible they’d move Assassin’s Creed up to the start of the year, but it seems unlikely.

          • Fair enough, I assumed there was an additional E3 announcement list separate from the ‘releasing in Q4’ list.

          • This is information targeted at investors, so they’re more interested about events that generate revenue.

            A simple game announcement doesn’t guarantee anything other than that you’re spending money on wages for the developers. As this Skull & Bones delay shows, it’s hard to say when that investment will turn into profit.

      • I 100% forgot the Avatar game, I wonder if its going to be pushed back now the movies have been too?

        If not Just Dance, I’d hope for a Splinter Cell, but I’m not so sure that’s advanced enough for a release. Could definitely be wrong though, especially as this slide lasts until March 2020!

    • 1. Watch Dogs 3.

      2. Assassins Creed: Vikings

      3. New IP or Rayman, tho I am not sure Ubi would consider Rayman TripA at this point…

      • I’m sure that Assassins Creed is a 2020 launch title for the new PS5/Xbox generation. It may be a crossover like AC:IV but I would be highly surprised if there’s a new AC this year. Prove me wrong though, I’m a sucker for AC games

  • Oh? Well this is interesting. Could this be one of those times that an overhaul of the game’s core systems and philosophy turns something awful (eg: For Honor, only with boats) into something amazing (eg: Next-Gen Co-op AC: Black Flag, minus the Assassin stuff)?

    My interest just went from ‘wistful sigh and general disatisfaction with the world’ to, ‘arched eyebrow and a thoughtful ‘huh’ noise’.

    • I’d like to see a base, and customisable boats.
      I’d really like to be able to play offline, as a single player.

      At the least I assume they’re adding boarding / capturing.

    • I would spend a lot of money for Black Flag 2: No Assassin Garbage Edition.

      As far as I’m concerned this is half a game until boarding and sword combat are added.

      • I would too. Black Flag 2:No Assassin Garbage Edition would be sensational and I think what everyone wanted from Skull and bones.

  • The automatic boarding battles was a bit of a turnoff for what they’d shown so far. But with that said, I can kind of understand why they did it. If you’ve got control over the single character during boarding scenarios, players will want to be able to control them outside of those scenarios.

    If you can hop off the ship and start exploring, you’re basically back to the scope of an Assassin’s Creed game. Suddenly you’ve got to populate the islands, and probably keep the state of the islands synched between players. And what happens if you encounter an enemy ship missing its captain?

    • I figured it was a PVP thing. If it’s anything like AC4, ships were effectively invincible during boarding actions. Can you imagine a PVP game where enemy combatants are randomly invincible? Or being on someone’s boat, boarding them, while a team-mate sinks them… and you?

    • I’m guessing they saw the reaction to Sea of Thieves and pondered if their game was aiming at that same fate. Sea of Thieves had all that stuff you talk about, fleshed out too……just didn’t have any real reason to actually play it. Or play it after the initial few hours.

      Skull and Bones needs boarding, swimming and islands full of treasure. It needs a strong single player game to engage the player before letting them loose on the high seas in PVP.

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