Journalists and fans return to Skull & Bones from Ubisoft, but not to remember all the pirate adventures in a good mood, but to recall the painful and slowly bizarre fact that the game has at least been out since its performance in in 2017 it did not move anywhere. Instead, we’ve only seen a lot of postponements, semi-official information about concept changes, and other disturbing admissions that the game doesn’t look good and that even after many years of development, it’s not entirely certain when it will actually come out and, most importantly, what it will look like in the end. Therefore, Kotaku magazine launched another wave of research, talking to about 20 current and former game developers with the promise of anonymity, and coming up with other incredible information about many unfulfilled visions, money burns and the unpleasant fact that the whole problem has grown to mammoth proportions. cancel the project once and for all.
In his extensive article, Kotaku describes that the development of the game began in 2013 and was originally intended to be a multiplayer expansion for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. However, Ubisoft was to like the potential of the upcoming mode and longed for a full-fledged MMO spin-off with the working name Black Flag Infinite; only later did the project get the Black Flag label and gradually became the cursed project, the existence and possibility of release, which the fans seriously doubt. Nevertheless, official reports sound positive – if we do not include all previous delays – and Ubisoft, for example, said in May this year that under the auspices of the Singapore branch, the project had moved significantly toward its launch over the past twelve months. Addressed developers, however, offered Kotaku their own perspective, which from official the version differs greatly when it comes to trying in vain to find a clear vision, many restarts of development, and unsatisfactory communication with the headquarters of Paris, which was supposed to jump from idea to idea and change things constantly without warning.
During the development, the inspiration of the survival hits Rust or Ark: Survival Evolved was not forgotten either, so crafting was added to Skull & Bones for a change.
Skull & Bones was originally set in the Caribbean. Later, the title moved to the Indian Ocean. The next version was inspired by Sid Meier’s Pirates, set in the fictional world of Hyperborea and featuring branching multiplayer campaigns lasting weeks. Another version revolved around a mythical pirate base called Libertalia. Then the management was to be captivated by the success of the Rainbow Six Siege, so that Skull & Bones became an action in this spirit, just with ships. Then came The Division with its dark zones, so even the pirate action changed in this direction through the Hunting Grounds mode. And during the development, the inspiration for the survival hits Rust or Ark: Survival Evolved was not forgotten, so crafting, materials and other elements related to Skull & Bones were added for a change. surviving genre. However, as the addressed developers said, none of these ideas were strong enough to complete the game, which meant more and more investment, redesign of development tools, and a deepening of the crisis that is still to prevail around Skull & Bones. Ubisoft has reportedly already paid over $ 120 million – in terms of 2.6 billion crowns – and the result is still in sight.
As for the current vision – the one that should be valid in 2023, when Skull & Bones is due to be published on the basis of the last postponement – nothing should be absolutely certain this time either. The game is reportedly still evolving and no one is said to be able to clearly define what form it will take. The person who assigned the project to Ubisoft Singapore, which has no experience in developing their own big game and is obviously drowning in problems while managing such a project, should also be largely responsible for this. Other developers also talk about the hurried concept at the beginning of development, trying to solve all problems in the simplest way, which can later result in even bigger problems, and the lack of clear communication and a lot of rapid changes resonate constantly with Kotak’s article. They do not only concern the voyages of ships or their fights, but also other necessary aspects, if the design department has just come up with them. What will the quests look like, playing for a ship or a pirate, is it possible to leave the ship at all, how will the character develop, is it actually open-world or instance? It is said that ordinary developers still do not know satisfactory answers to most of these questions, and it is said that these problems cannot be solved even by a rapid increase in human resources. The development of Skull & Bones allegedly started in a 100-member team, but by 2019 the number had quadrupled and currently it may be even more.
Moreover, hiring more employees does not interfere with efficiency, according to the developers contacted, because for a long time Skull & Bones needed a rather tight team to find just the missing concept, literally found elements that can be fun, but it never happened satisfactorily and the project he suffered. The mood didn’t help either need The team constantly employed work, but it came to naught with each change of vision. It is said that someone accepted this fact and kept doing their best, but some employees showed frustration and fatigue, which logically led to leaving the studio and another, unfortunately not very desirable fluctuation of people. People from Singapore went to Riot Games, Tencent, but also, for example, to Facebook, where, according to the developers contacted, they took better money and their work was still useful. Kotaku also supports this statement with reviews of Ubisoft Singapore on the portal Glassdoor, where there are a lot of negative evaluations with reference to the toxic work environment and the mentioned payments.
As Skull & Bones turns out to be, Kotak’s article obviously doesn’t match. The fact is, however, that the idea that the original concept of the game could be used by the Assassin’s Creed series through the recently announced live service part or the Infinity platform is gradually creeping in. According to the developers of Skull & Bones, it’s actually with new Assassin looks like it did at the beginning with a problematic pirate affair, so no positive thoughts come automatically, but growing concerns. The fact is that the market already has one pirate game – it’s called Sea of Thieves, and although it is a very successful feat, supported by, for example, the license of Pirates of the Caribbean, it certainly does not meet the front pages of game magazines and the masses of Ubisoft. lies elsewhere. But we can only wait until 2023, when Skull & Bones could happen, if not everything changes again and Ubisoft does not recognize that he lost this battle. At least for the time being, in his statement for Kotaka, he claims that the game has entered the alpha version phase and everything is running according to the latest plans…