If you’ve been eagerly waiting for more news on Ubisoft’s pirate sim Skull & Bones and have been wondering just where it is, it turns out there might be a very good reason the company hasn’t shown the thing off in a hot minute: according to a report from Video Game Chronicle, the game has been rebooted internally.
Sources told VGC that developer Ubisoft Singapore has been having trouble over the years carving out an identity for Skull & Bones in Ubisoft’s typically open-world driven portfolio. Keep in mind that Ubisoft is known for it open-world checklistathons like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Watch Dogs: Legion, all of which are coming out in the next year and were shown off at this weekend’s Ubisoft Forward event. But Skull & Bones wasn’t present because it’s apparently in the middle of being retooled as a live service game. According to VGC’s sources, Skull & Bones will now feature a persistent world with quests, characters, and storylines that will be shaped by the online community’s in-game actions. The goal is to differentiate it from games like The Division 2, another Ubisoft live service game, which are typically just given frequent updates with static content. One source told the outlet that Fortnite’s “live storytelling” has been a strong influence on the team’s new direction, such as events where Epic blew the whole thing up to launch the game’s next season, giving the game a sense of an ongoing universe and story.
With any extensive reboot, folks are shuffling around the game’s team, with former editorial VP Elisabeth Pellen reportedly replacing the game’s original creative director Justin Farren.
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Whatever the case may be for Skull & Bones, it’s not like Ubisoft is hurting for games right now. As the company showcased at its Ubisoft Forward event, games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Watch Dogs: Legion are the big boxed games that the company will have on shelves over the next year. Ubisoft also is in the middle of launching its own battle royale game in the form of Hyper Scape, which currently undergoing a technical test on PC, with plans to come to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One down the line.
While the company has plenty of games in the pipeline, the internal culture of Ubisoft is going through the ringer as multiple high ranking employees faced abuse allegations over the past few weeks, which the company chose to not acknowledge during Ubisoft Forward because the presentation had been pre-recorded. But as anyone who has ever shot a video and edited it can tell you, sticking a camera in front of CEO Yves Guillemot and have him speak on the matter and tagging it at the beginning of the presentation would have been less than an hour of work. But what can you do when you’ve had weeks to consider this issue and your big presentation just sneaks up on you, you know?