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Skull & Bones may become a live service game

All about the crew

In all this talk about Assassin's Creed Valhalla's viking blokes in boats, I'd almost forgotten about Ubisoft's other boats game. Ships, pardon me. Skull & Bones is the pirate-themed naval combat game they announced yonks back in 2017. It's not scuttled yet, apparently, but may be changing course to a live service game.

When it was first announced, Skull & Bones was planned as a sort of team ship fighting game more about being a ship than a pirate, a sort of spinoff of the naval combat from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

In a new report, Video Games Chronicle spoke with anonymous development sources who suggested that Ubisoft Singapore have been changing tack for the pirate 'em up. "Skull & Bones had been struggling to carve itself a unique position among Ubisoft’s existing portfolio of open-world games," VGC report.

They say the multiple delays have been caused by the studio's attempts to refine the game's concept. Most recently, Ubisoft announced another delay for Skull & Bones and several other games at the end of 2019.

"The game will now feature a persistent game world with quests, characters and storylines that will drastically evolve and change over time based on the collective actions of the community," VGC say, and that "the rebooted Skull & Bones would have a stronger focus on collaboration." They cite Fortnite's ongoing storytelling as inspiration for the new direction.

Originally, I remember Skull & Bones occupying a ship-sized clump in my brain alongside more cartoon-y Sea Of Thieves and the survival pirate game Atlas by the folks wot make Ark. Now that there's a bit of distance between these crews, I'd not mind another jaunt with Black Flag's ships, incessant sea shanties and all.

The fact that it might be setting course for live service territory might suggest more PvP and less of things that are not PvP, though a focus on collaboration could mean the opposite. I just want to sail a ship in pretty oceans. Who shall let me? Until Ubisoft come out with more firsthand information though, it's all guesses as to what you'll be player versus-ing most.

Ubisoft didn't mention Skull & Bones during yesterday's livestream, but they did say they'll be doing another Ubisoft Forward showcase in the future.

They also didn't dedicate time to acknowledging the numerous accusations of sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination within Ubisoft that have been reported in recent weeks. The company have vowed to investigate reports and to fix their culture. Another three executives resigned today in the wake of the allegations.

Correction: This article originally stated Atlas was made by the folks who make Rust. Naw, it's the Ark gang.

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