Skull & Bones is almost here, maybe. Ubisoft’s open-world pirate game may actually be coming out on November 8, after years of keeping fans waiting.
Finally, yet another release date has been set for the open-world pirate game. We all knew this was coming, if anyone was still paying attention. As spotted by Eurogamer, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rated Ubisoft’s open-world pirate game as M for Mature, saying it includes blood, strong language, suggestive themes, use of drugs, and violence. That happened earlier this month. Things have seemingly been inching along at the Singapore studio for years now, despite infamously troubled waters.
As reported by Eurogamer, industry insider @ALumia_Italia shared on Twitter (below) that a release date had been found amid an apparent Xbox Store entry, also listing a plethora of DLC packs for the game. These include a preorder bonus, Bloody Bones’ Legacy Mission, the Ashen Corsair Mission, the Smuggler Pass Token, digital soundtrack and artbook, and Premium Bonus Pack.
Even almost five years after being debuted back in 2017, this game still hasn’t been launched. Ubisoft basically ghosted fans for years, before showing up again in 2020 with a deluge of bad news. So the cynicism I’ve often seen around this game is kind of justified by now. And when you see its release date revealed alongside a mess of DLC and pre-order junk, it looks like Skull & Bones is headed for some rough goshdarn waters.
The inclusion of all this DLC is pretty classic Ubisoft monetization. And to see it on this infamously troubled project, is pretty par for the course. The mentioned Smuggler Pass is possibly some kind of paid expansion pass, allowing paying players access to more missions and maps in the future. Hopefully, that means Ubisoft won’t just launch the game, then maroon it out at sea with no new content.
And for those of you wondering how all this managed to happen, the answer is government money. This game has been pushed back so many times that it’s a small wonder it’s coming out at all. The game later reportedly got a full reboot in 2020, pushing the pirate adventure in an entirely new direction. But even that wasn’t without rocky seas. Just a few months prior, the game was seemingly stuck in full-on limbo, with no end in sight to the development hell. And even after rebounding, controversy struck like lightning once more, as the studio head was removed from the project. Although this was more than likely tied to the ongoing controversy surrounding their parent company. Ubisoft Singapore was one of several studios that were included in the larger reports of sexual harassment and discrimination within the whole of Ubisoft.
The reason this project is coming out at all is down to subsidy from the local government where the game is being made. Ubisoft has a similar agreement with the provincial government in Montreal, Canada, going back years. The most recent round of negotiations led to CA$25,000 in subsidies per employee for 500 Ubisoft employees over five years. It’s likely that there are similar agreements in place in Singapore. The reason that’s important is that this quite possibly henge on the actual release of Skull & Bones. It’s worth noting that multiple beta tests for the game have been canceled over the years, owing to the messy development.
Ubisoft Singapore was founded in 2008 and has been used as both lead and support on various projects—including big names, like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and other franchise titles.