New Report Lays Out How Skull & Bones Entered and Stayed in Development Hell

Along with the sorry state of Ubisoft's Singapore studio.

Skull & Bones, the once-was Assassin’s Creed spin-off centered around Black Flag’s ship combat ultimately turned into its own game, hasn’t seen the light of day in a hot minute. And a new report from Kotaku explains why: the game has been going through development hell for years thanks to repeated changes in vision, and has been at the center of some of Ubisoft’s long-reported workplace toxicity.

The report is extensive, and if you want the full story, be sure to check out the original piece. But the summary is that, according to the site’s sources, Skull & Bones‘ repeated delays have come due to major shifts in the game’s structure over the years, leading to a lack of meaningful progress in development and an exodus of developers at Ubisoft’s Singapore studio. Originally projected to launch in 2018, Skull & Bones has seen multiple release windows over the years. Ubisoft has pushed it from 2018 to 2019, to 2020, to 2022, and the game is now sitting at a projected release window of “before March 2023.” According to a statement issued to Kotaku by Ubisoft, Skull & Bones is just now getting into Alpha phase after eight years of development.

The Skull & Bones team are proud of the work they’ve accomplished on the project since their last update with production just passing Alpha, and are excited to share more details when the time is right. That being said, any unfounded speculation about the game or decisions being made only works to demoralize the team who are working very hard to develop an ambitious new franchise that lives up to the expectations of our players.

Over the past year, we’ve made significant changes to our policies and processes to create a safe and more inclusive workplace and empower our teams to create games that reflect the diversity of the world we live in.

More on the state of Ubisoft:

Along with stories about the fractured state of the game, Kotaku’s report also lays out the working conditions at Ubisoft’s Singapore office. This has included the demotion of managing director Hugues Ricour last year, who had been accused of sexual harassment and moved to a different role within the company. The studio’s Glassdoor page makes mention of poor pay and toxic management as key issues that drove people from the company. All of the above has been consistent with ongoing reports coming out of Ubisoft as a whole, which recently re-entered the news cycle after a French court complaint against higher-ups within the company was submitted last week.

For more on the situation at Ubisoft Singapore, be sure to check out Kotaku’s comprehensive reporting, as this is another deep dive into the state of the company following employees coming forward with allegations of harassment and poor treatment at its various studios across the world. Other reports from within the company have said workers aren’t satisfied with the actions the company has taken following the allegations. This isn’t too surprising, considering Ubisoft wasn’t willing to address these issues publicly anywhere near all its super cool video game trailers it wants people to be excited for.