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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Surprise, Skull and Bones won’t actually be out ‘early’ this year after all

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In January, Ubisoft delayed (again) its long-troubled high-seas piracy game Skull and Bones to early in its 2023-24 fiscal year, which runs from April 1 2023 to March 31 2024. But not really early, as it turns out. In today’s full-year earnings report for 2022-23, Ubisoft indicated that Skull and Bones remains on track for release this year but will not be out during the first quarter—which means no Skull and Bones before at least July 1.

“We are very happy with the progress the team is making on the game,” Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said during an investors call. “We are doing lots of playtests and research with external partners, and the game is progressing well.”

Of course, if you’ve been following along with this particular odyssey, you may recall that “very happy” is a term that Ubisoft executives have used to describe their feelings about Skull and Bones previously. In January, for instance, chief financial officer Frederick Duguet said Ubisoft was “very happy” with Skull and Bones playtests that had occurred earlier that month, the same thing he’d said about the state of development in February 2022

It’s clearly kind of an ongoing theme (via VGC, here’s Guillemot saying he was “very happy” with the state of Skull and Bones in July 2020), although it has yet to translate into a videogame that’s fit for public consumption.

The post-June launch window isn’t a delay in the technical sense, because a new release date still hasn’t been set. But to my mind, “early” in the year means—very broadly—in or around the first quarter, and once you’ve moved past that you’re into the mid-year. Call that splitting hairs if you like, but it’s been a full six years since Skull and Bones was announced an Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag spinoff project, and I feel like a little commitment to accuracy about what’s actually happening isn’t too much of an ask at this point.

We will be seeing more of Skull and Bones very soon, however. Ubisoft confirmed that the game will appear at the upcoming Ubisoft Forward online showcase, which is set for June 12.

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