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Skull & Bones still exists, Ubisoft insists

Skull and Bones
(Image credit: Ubisoft)
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Remember Skull & Bones? Ubisoft's beleagured pirate adventure might have seemingly been adrift since 2017, but the publisher now reckons it'll definitely reach port sometime in the next fiscal year. For real, this time.

That claim came during last night's quarterly earnings call (via GIBiz (opens in new tab)), which generally weren't looking fantastic for the French publisher. Sales were down 31% year-over-year, with Far Cry 6 and Rider's Republic unable to match the bar set by Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion last year.

But Ubisoft is bullish about its next quarter, which'll include the recently-released Rainbow Six: Extraction, Valhalla's Ragnarok expansion and The Settlers. And in the next fiscal year (between April 2022 and March 2023), CEO Frédérick Duguet was confident we'll see the release of the long-struggling Skull and Bones—noting that he's "very happy" with the game's development progress.

It's a small comment, but a key one considering the pirate sim's tortured eight-year development (opens in new tab). Details of Skull and Bones' plagued production emerged following reports of Ubisoft's abusive workplace culture (opens in new tab), describing the game as one beset by constant fundamental reworks of what the game even was—going from a multiplayer expansion to Assassin's Creed: Black Flag to an open-sea survival sandbox and a session-based multiplayer deathmatch game.

Ubisoft Singapore, which led development on Skull and Bones, also saw managing director Hugues Ricour ousted (opens in new tab) following a leadership audit. But even months after his removal, a report showed that staff at the studio felt there was a "French ceiling" (opens in new tab) that made it hard for staff not hailing from the publisher's home nation to progress within the company.

That track record makes it hard to read too much confidence into Duguet's comment. But hey, maybe he's right, and we'll be sailing the high seas by the end of the year in whatever form Skull and Bones ends up taking.

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.