I can't believe I'm saying this again, again, but Skull and Bones is delayed again

I can't believe I'm saying this again but Skull and Bones is delayed again
(Image credit: Future)

I like to imagine that one day, when I tune in to a Ubisoft quarterly financial call, CEO Yves Guillemot will come on and say in his French accent, "Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from Hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee! Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! And since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale!"

That hasn't happened yet, but spiritually I think we're way beyond the Ahab threshold at this point—because yes, that's right, Skull and Bones, Ubisoft's eternally-not-quite-ready game of high-seas piracy, has been delayed. Again.

I don't even know if I can fairly call it a delay, since the last time we had an actual release date was September 2022, when Ubisoft pushed the launch from November 8, 2022 to March 9 of this year. Which obviously didn't happen.

Since then, it was pushed to sometime "early" in Ubisoft's 2023-24 fiscal year, and then not so early in the year, and now late in it. For the record, the fourth-quarter timeframe means Skull and Bones now sits in puts it somewhere between January 1 and March 31, 2024.

What makes this postponement parade truly baffling is how tantalizingly close Skull and Bones seems to have come to releasing, multiple times. After nearly a decade of virtually nothing, 2022 really looked like that year it would happen. There was a beta test, an ESRB rating, we got system requirements and a PC-specific feature set, a full-on gameplay reveal (which frankly wasn't very good)—and then like the MV Glory trying to parallel park in the Suez Canal, it ran aground hard. This is the fourth pushback since September 2022—and believe me, four delays over the course of a year is not a good sign.

Why Ubisoft is so doggedly pursuing a project that looks so utterly unremarkable remains a mystery to me. Perhaps it sees something in the multiplayer ship combat game that I can't from the outside, or perhaps it is simply as Herman Melville said: "There is no folly of the beasts of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men."

We'll see what happens in 2024.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.