Ubisoft's salty multiplayer shipfighter Skull & Bones will not launch this autumn, as had been the plan, because Ubisoft have delayed it for a fair while. They want extra time to make sure it's proper good, yeah? Wouldn't want to launch a ship then have the front fall off or, like Sea Of Thieves, realise the front was never even there. Ubi now expect to release Skull & Bones in the 2019-20 financial year, which runs from April 1st, 2019 through to March 31st, 2020.
"In line with previous practices and in view of the acceleration of our digital transformation, growth in back-catalog sales and excellent momentum of recent releases," the company said during yesterday's annual earnings report, "Ubisoft has decided to give itself more time to develop Skull & Bones to offer players an even more engaging experience."
I like the phrase "digital transformation." Sounds like an an old Front Line Assembly lyric or a line from The Lawnmower Man. Ubisoft are becoming the online.
Our dearly departed Adam had a play of Skull & Bones following the game's announcement during E3 in June 2017:
"There was a sinking feeling in the room when the game was announced, following the immediate high of 'MORE BLACK FLAG YES PLEASE'. People want to be pirates, not pirate ships, but Skull and Bones has enough tactical nuance in its course-plotting and interceptions to give me hope that it'll be a fantastic game of ship-to-ship combat. And if there are other modes as robust as the hunt, as well as a decent progression system, I'll gladly pretend to be a ship for a while.
"Despite appearances, it's probably better to think of dogfighting than pirate simulation. In fact, more than anything, Skull and Bones reminds me of the rather obscure pretend dogfighting game Cult of the Wind. For all of its visual fidelity, it's really a big old toybox, even if it does have the best water I've ever seen."
I do like Ubisoft starting to re-use bones of their old sandbox games rather than binning everything after a year. It always seems such a terrible waste of work that developers crunched so hard on, as well as taking us away from settings we might like to explore more. Yes, more pirates, ta. They've lobbed bits of Watch Dogs and old Far Cries and Assassin's Creeds into the Far Cry 5 map editor too. Do something with with the London of Ass Syn next, okay?
Skull & Bones is being made by Ubisoft Singapore with help from Blue Byte and Ubisoft Chengdu. The Steam page is already up, for wishlisting and whatnot.