Skull & Bones, Ubisoft’s pirate action game apparently under the influence of some sort of eldritch curse, has been delayed yet again out of 2023. The title was originally to release November 8th of this year and announced all the way back in 2017, with multiple shifts in direction and multiple delays which has pushed it far beyond its initial 2018 release window. At time of writing, that marks the 6th time the game’s release date has been postponed.
The delay was announced in Ubisoft’s quarterly earnings report, which confirmed that Skull & Bones will release Q4 2023-2024. This means that it will be releasing sometime between January and March of next year, which represents a delay of between 2-5 months. In a statement, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said “We are excited to bring our future lineup to players, and to deliver on our strategy and continue reaching larger audiences and building an increasingly recurring business thanks to major brands and live services.“
The initial concept behind Skull & Bones was to capitalise on the goodwill fostered by the well-received Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. That 2013 entry brought the Assassin’s Creed franchise to the Age of Sail and was well-liked for its expansive open world, ship combat and fun cast of pirate characters. Although always designed with some sort of multiplayer focus in mind, Skull & Bones’ development was reportedly rebooted back in 2020, along with the firing of its director, to turn it towards more of a “Games As A Service” direction in the vein of Fortnite or Destiny 2.
Of course, between 2017 and now, Sea of Thieves has come out and thoroughly eaten Skull & Bones’ lunch in regards to being a popular pirate-themed multiplayer title. As a result, Ubisoft’s entry has had more pressure mounted upon it than ever after years of anticipation. A planned “female-driven” TV series spin-off to tie in with the game was also announced. However, aside from the presence of a dormant IMDb page, not much seems to be happening with that either.
With the trailer announcing the most recent release date not actually showing all that much gameplay, it is unclear if this delay was just to distance the game from other Ubisoft big hitters like Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora coming out this quarter or if the game really needed more work. With this delay coming barely a week and a half before it was supposed to come out, it can’t have been an easy decision; if more development time was required, hopefully the additional few weeks will be sufficient to bring the game up to the quality that the developers desire.
Skull & Bones is set to release in the first three months of 2024 on PC, PS5, and Xbox Seires X/S. Y’know, if it doesn’t get delayed again.