One of the top video game releases hitting shelves this year is Skull and Bones, a pirate-themed game from Ubisoft which will be arriving on February 16 this year.
Most gamers will have likely heard of Skull and Bones before: it was announced way back in 2017, so it’s taken a mightily long time for the game to finally approach its release date.
And Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot recently had to defend the game’s launch price at an investor’s call, saying that Ubisoft’s upcoming release is a “full triple-A, quadruple-A game” as was recently covered on PC Gamer.
This questioning of the game’s $70 US dollar price tag was by an analyst who suggested that such a presumably high launch price would “limit the size of the player base”.
“It’s a very big game and we feel that people will really see how vast and complete that game is. So it’s a really full triple-A, quadruple-A game that will deliver in the long run”, said Guillemot in response.
The thing is, though, why would Ubisoft’s CEO feel the need to say that the game, which has been in development at Ubisoft Singapore for almost seven years now, is “vast and complete”. While this sounds great for those looking to pick up the game come February 16, it is also a reminder of the fact of how troubled Skull and Bones development has been.
Actually, the game was stuck in development hell for quite some time, changing form more than once as Ubisoft figured what it truly wanted Skull and Bones to be. The game itself is a spin-off of the company’s best-selling Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, which as you can imagine involved pirates and plenty of naval combat, and shifted a whooping 15 million copies. It’s Ubisoft’s top selling Assassin’s Creed game to date.
Black Flag had a great single player campaign and story, but the thing is that Skull and Bones will omit the solo campaign, so players who are expecting this to be some sort of continuation to Black Flag will be disappointed as the game’s director Elisabeth Pellen told IGN in an interview.
The final game also omits a 5 v 5 multiplayer mode which the company had previously shown off, and will instead be a live service, open-world game with a focus on survival.
Of course, releasing without a strong single player campaign is a risky move by Ubisoft – the recent Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League did have a single player campaign aside from the online multiplayer, and is already one of the biggest disappointments of 2024.
Skull and Bones, though, will feature crafting and resource collection as well as trading, and lets players rise through the ranks to become a top pirate. The game will also have plenty of naval combat as can be seen in the trailer above. How well this works remains to be seen, but Ubisoft’s most recent releases Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown have been very good, although these are the kind of traditional single player games that Ubisoft excels at.
So Skull and Bones, which will have seasonal content and a battle pass, needs to be something pretty special if it wants to attract gamers to its pirate-themed open world, and end up justifying its $70 US dollar price tag come February 16 this year.