Believe it or not, but Skull and Bones is still not only in development but has reportedly crossed a significant milestone. In a report from Kotaku, Ubisoft told the publication that they are still determined to eventually release the game “with production just passing Alpha, and are excited to share more details when the time is right.” That’s right, after eight arduous years of development, Skull and Bones is just now entering the alpha phase of progression, meaning that the game is now playable to some extent.
Report: Skull & Bones went into alpha after ~8 years of development
– budget: over $120m
– multiple almost annual reboots, suffered from a lack of vision in the past and toxic work culture
– a deal with the Singapore government requires its completionhttps://t.co/0legAGqO9F pic.twitter.com/XRZAmq85LB
— Nibel (@Nibellion) July 20, 2021
The report also unveils some interesting facts about the game’s origin. Apparently, Skull and bones began life in 2013 as a multiplayer expansion for Assassins Creed: Black Flag before being spun into an MMORPG spin off dubbed Black Flag Infinite. Some time afterwards, the project was turned into its own IP and given the name Skull and Bones, which in and of itself became numerous different projects. The report also states that the title’s settings were constantly changing, starting with the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, and a made up place called Hyperborea.
The report mentions that the project has now exceeded more than $120 million in production costs, as well as hundreds of employees working to meet deadlines and goals. With all of these setbacks and overbudget issues, you’d think that any other publisher would’ve canceled this a long time ago. This leads us to the most startling aspect of this report, the Singapore government. According to the report, a deal between Ubisoft and the countries politicians has forced the project to continue, with Ubisoft Singapore manning the IP and any other original titles in the foreseeable future in return for subsidiary payments.
Due to this deal, and the apparent bad workplace environment, multiple developers have departed the studio. Despite these tenuous issues, the studio has not only carried on with the project, but somehow made it into the alpha phase. When Skull and Bones was finally unveiled at E3 2017, it was shown as an open world ship-based multiplayer shooter game with several survival-like mechanics with a tentative time frame for late 2018. However, just a year later the game would be delayed to sometime in 2019.
As we already mentioned, the title continued to be worked on with no confirmed date, and only a few months later Ubisoft would delay the title again. Then one year later, the company announced that Skull and Bones would be rebooted into a live service game. Considering all that’s happened, it’s nothing short of a miracle that the title is still trucking along, let alone becoming playable in any sort of state. It’s anyone’s guess as to when we’ll see it reach the beta stage of development, let alone an actual release date.