Ubisoft Delays Skull & Bones, Confirms More Games For 2020

by Sage Ashford

During Ubisoft’s fiscal year 2019 presentation, they announced that Skull & Bones, the ship-focused pirate game they first introduced in 2017, has been delayed and will not be present at this year’s E3.

This, combined with the creative director Justin Farren leaving Ubisoft Singapore (the main studio working on Skull & Bones) last fall, would seem to suggest that something major is happening concerning the game. In the E3 trailer shown above, the game as Ubisoft originally envisioned looked fairly complete, as they discussed how players would explore an open ocean, battling against trading companies, empires, and other pirates for untold riches.  It promised customization of the pirate crew’s captain and their ship, for an enjoyable multiplayer experience traveling the seas.
However, there was concern arising from gamers following both the game’s initial appearance at E3 2017 and it’s subsequent 2018 showing.  Clearly inspired by the popularity of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, a contingent of fans wondered why the game seemed to be an experience that focused entirely on ship to ship combat rather than crafting a proper single-player experience involving an actual pirate that could be controlled.
With this announcement, it’s hard not to wonder if Ubisoft hasn’t been working in the background to develop a more traditional single-player experience.  Could something similar to the recent Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Odyssey be in the works? Certainly, all of Ubisoft’s large, open-world sandbox games have been supremely successful lately–Origins bounced back from Syndicate’s lower sales, Odyssey did even better, and Far Cry 5 turned out to be the best selling game they’ve released on current gen consoles. Skull & Bones could potentially be another major Ubisoft seller if it can combine how they excel in single-player with a strong multi-player experience.
Skull & Bones has no current release date now, which actually raises another question. If this game isn’t releasing before Fall 2020, does that mean it’s likely to be one of Ubisoft’s first cross-gen titles?

Also of note is that Ubisoft currently has three more AAA titles, in addition to the recently announced Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, due out some time during their current fiscal year, ending March 2020.  (One of which is likely the rumored Watch Dogs 3.) These three titles are meant to launch during their fiscal Q4, which means all of them will be launching between January and March 2020.  Presumably, these three will be announced either at E3 or in the weeks leading up to it, with a more in-depth look presented there.

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