Skull and Bones is sailing into rough waters once again. In an earnings report today, Ubisoft revealed that the game has been delayed to next year.
“Skull and Bones will now be released in 2022-23,” Ubisoft wrote in its report. This is the fourth delay for the swashbuckling pirate game, which was originally announced at E3 2017 with a 2018 release. As that date crept closer, Ubisoft delayed it to 2019, 2020, and 2021 to 2022.
During an earnings call today, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said that multiple studios have been bolstering Ubisoft Singapore’s development of the game. Both Guillemot and CFO Frederick Duguet spoke optimistically about Skull and Bones’ new release window.
“Production, led by [Ubisoft] Singapore, has been advancing well over the past 12 months, and the promise is better than ever,” Duguet said during the call. “The additional time will allow the team to fully deliver on its vision.”
In September 2020, Elisabeth Pellen, creative director for Skull and Bones, wrote that the delays have been due to “a new vision” for the game. In November 2020, Kotaku learned that Ubisoft Singapore’s managing director Hugues Ricour had been removed from his position after a “leadership audit” during the company’s reckoning with issues of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct.
Skull and Bones started out with a simple premise: people really loved the ship combat in Assassin’s Creed III. When Ubisoft re-upped on the naval warfare mechanic (which has since become a staple in the franchise) for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, players went absolutely wild for it. A whole lot of them kept telling Ubisoft to just make a straight up pirate game without all the elaborate global conspiracies and a clandestine shadow war over the fate of humanity.
Many fans are hopeful Skull and Bones will deliver on that premise, but it’s been anything but an easy road to get there.