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Skull & Bones: First It Was An Assassin's Creed Expansion, Now It's Ubisoft's 8 Year Nightmare

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

A few people said it was cursed. Others simply had no idea what they were supposed to be making. “Nobody knew what the fuck they were doing,” said one former developer.

Skull & Bones development began back in 2013, as a multiplayer expansion to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag that would release as a post-launch update, three sources with knowledge of the project’s origins said. The expansion soon took on a life of its own, however, morphing into a full blown MMO-like spin-off with the working title Black Flag Infinite, and later a brand new pirate game called Skull & Bones.

The game made a big splash with an on-stage reveal and hands-on demo at E3 2017, and returned a year later with a second polished demo, but has since disappeared. Sources are split over what happened. Some say despite the well received E3 blowouts the game effectively didn’t exist. Others argue that a version of what was playable at industry events could have launched roughly on time in Early Access and matured in the wild as other games-as-a-service have.

Years later the game is still struggling to take shape and people are running on empty.

“A lot of stuff still doesn’t make sense,” said one former developer. “Just polishing it at this point would be a waste of time.”

That’s four big delays in just three years. Even from a company with a reputation for rescheduling like Ubisoft, it raises red flags about the project’s future and the fate of those working on it. Skull & Bones may come out some day, and it might even end up being great. But up to this point, its development has been marred by just about everything that can go wrong in blockbuster video game production.

“No one believed February 2022 [for launch], but you always hope,” one current developer told Kotaku following the latest delay, announced during Ubisoft’s May investor’s call.

That earnings call found Ubisoft execs scrambling to explain yet another setback.

“Production, led by [Ubisoft] Singapore, has been advancing well over the past 12 months, and the promise is better than ever,” Ubisoft CFO Frederick Duguet said during the same meeting. “The additional time will allow the team to fully deliver on its vision.”

Check the link for more.
 

jigglet

Member
I bet I know what happened.

Someone said: let's just take Black Flag and double down on the sailing. Simple.

Then some creative spark trying to justify their jobs came in and started talking in all sorts of abstract nothingness and 8 years later it's a mess.

I've seen it all before. It starts simple then someone who thinks too much of themselves complicates things up for the sake of complicating things up.
 

elliot5

Member
 

Closer

Member
“The additional time will allow the team to fully deliver on its vision.”

Vision? Which one? Do they know what they are doing now?
 

Kadve

Member
“The additional time will allow the team to fully deliver on its vision.”

Vision? Which one? Do they know what they are doing now?
To quote a guy (RamTank) from reddit:
So it started as an Assassins' Creed expansion. Then became a MMO. Then became For Honour with ships. Then became The Division with ships. Then became a rogue-lite survival. And now who the hell knows what it is.
 

TrueLegend

Member
Ubisoft to Investors: Maybe the real treasure was the developers we hired and fired along the way, and the AAAA tag we slapped with each of the four delay.
(And we will sell this nice rhyme to you as full-fledged sea shanty with helix credit. You can pay to unlock the rest of shanty )
 

Calverz

Gold Member
I forget about this game. I wonder if seeing the success of sea of thieves made them rethink about parts, ideas of their game. Just a thought
 

Cyberpunkd

Member
“Nobody knew what the fuck they were doing,” said one former developer.
I hate comments like this - then WTF don't you step in and try to rein in the project, and probably get yourself promoted / fired in the process? What happened to showing fucking initiative?
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Too bad S&B will likely end up a shit game. That first trailer they showed years ago looked sweet. It was like a grittier version of Sea of Thieves + some Assassins Creed ship battles.
 
Ever played Assassins Creed Rogue? If no, play that one now. It’s Black Flag 2

Nope, I have still only played Black Flag. I'll check it out, thanks.

Too bad S&B will likely end up a shit game. That first trailer they showed years ago looked sweet. It was like a grittier version of Sea of Thieves + some Assassins Creed ship battles.

A mature version of SoT had me looking forward to S&B as well. It also seemed a bit faster in ship battles and less escort style land missions etc.
 

BennyBlanco

aka IMurRIVAL69
Man. If they really canned this, what a fucking disaster it must’ve been. How many millions of dollars flushed down the shitter?
 
I played Skull & Bones three times at three different E3.

Every playtest was followed by a long article where i described the game as a World of Warships with a pirates theme.

Our readers at the end of each article: “oh it’s like Sea of Thieves but better, almost like a Pirates Skyrim!”

Wich is not. Skulls & Bones three years ago was a World of Warships clone with a pirates them, a good one. They plan to build a campaign after the latest live event, where everyone checked the box “campaign” on the form where we could suggest what we want to see in S&B.
 
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Elysion

Member
If done right, this could’ve been Ubisoft’s next big flagship franchise next to AC. It’s a shame that they weren’t able to deliver.
 

ANDS

Thought gaf was racist. Now knows better, honorary gaffer 2022
I will never understand how this game idea is so difficult to implement: take the fun part of Black Flag and Oydessey and build an entire game around it.

. . . something tells me they are trying to shoehorn something on to this game that doesn't work instead of just giving people what they want: ship to ship combat. Like if you want something "more", then also build out the fleet gameplay you had going on with you able to auto assign some missions and then take on the more difficult missions yourself. Add in groups you align with (Assassin's, Templars, Merchant Guild, Kings Navy, Pirates) so that you have rep you can continuously grind for (and add MTX to) and if you want to throw a little campaign in there just look to how THE DIVISION handles putting players on a treadmill until endgame (where it puts you on another treadmill). Bring back the animus so that you can build bespoke encounters that will break if you move out is bounds (desync) and then go from there. Bam! You should be able to sell at least a couple million with that.

. . . nope. Let's start with (I'm sure) MTX first and try and stuff a game in that and watch development sit for nearly a decade.
 

Kdad

Member
Still have my Futureshop Preorder for 39.99.

Futureshop went under in 2015, sale being honoured by Best Buy
 

kyussman

Member
8 years in development and a lot of it still doesn't make sense.......I'm sure it's gonna be a winner,lol.It's a modern Ubisoft game anyway,we all know it will basically be a big online shop with something resembling a game attached.....fuck off!
 

Elder Legend

Yoir Aee Member
I played the game few years ago at E3 and interviewed the devs.... it was....an interesting ship vs ship game but that was it. Super limited, no land gameplay and felt like it would become a boring grind fest within an hour.
 

Arachnid

Member
I hate comments like this - then WTF don't you step in and try to rein in the project, and probably get yourself promoted / fired in the process? What happened to showing fucking initiative?
It's not the military dude. Some random dev isn't going to just step up and take charge of an entire development project.

Pirates are for kids, whoever greenlit this garbo is awful at their job.
pIrAteS ArE foR KiDs

:messenger_unamused:
 
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