Skull and Bones delayed for the sixth time, Ubisoft cancels three unannounced games
Ubisoft has delayed Skull and Bones, its upcoming action-adventure pirate sim, again amid weak overall sales of recent titles and planned company-wide changes for the next fiscal year. This is the sixth chronic setback for the naval combat title, which was previously scheduled for release on March 9. It is now due to launch in the next fiscal year, which runs from April 2023 to March 2024. According to a press release appealing to investors keen to bolster its long-term growth, Ubisoft has also decided to cancel three unannounced projects. Much of this shakeup was attributed to the underperformance of Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Just Dance 2023 in the final weeks of 2022 and into January, which was “significantly and surprisingly slower than expected”.
“While Skull and Bones is now complete, we are using the time remaining until our launch to leverage feedback from our ongoing technical tests and the upcoming open beta to tweak and balance the experience,” a doorman said. -word from Ubisoft to Kotaku. The press release notes that the extra time due to multiple delays has “paid off” and brought some impressive improvements to the quality of the game. The studio also has a live showcase scheduled for later this week, January 13 at 10:30 p.m. PT, on the Ubisoft Twitch channel. Development of Skull and Bones began in 2013 when it was designed as a pirate-themed multiplayer expansion for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The project eventually took shape as its own thing, morphing into the standalone open-world pirate game we know now. This represents a total of 11 years of development.
In order to combat the losses, Ubisoft will proceed with caution, confirming a new set of measures in the press release. As previously reported, this involves the cancellation of three unannounced projects, in addition to the four that were canceled in July last year. Two of them have been confirmed as Splinter Cell VR and Ghost Recon Frontline. Considering Ubisoft has already teased a remake of the original Splinter Cell, it’s safe to assume that – no pun intended – it sure is. That said, the company plans to release another premium game in addition to Skull and Bones, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora in the next fiscal year.
Ubisoft is also writing off €500 million (approximately Rs 4,398 crore) of R&D costs on upcoming free and premium games, in addition to the just-cancelled ones. “This notably reflects the increased caution related to the current difficult video game market and macroeconomic environment, as well as the increased need to focus on fewer titles,” it reads. The company also plans to cut more than €200 million (about Rs 1,759 crore) from its operating costs over the next two years.
“The long-term outlook for the industry remains promising and I am convinced that Ubisoft is well positioned to take advantage of this momentum thanks to the strength of our teams, our brands, our production capacities, our technology and our our balance sheet. Our back catalog remains very healthy with particularly robust activity on Rainbow Six Siege, great momentum for our Assassin’s Creed games and generally strong performance from our live games,” said Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft.
Skull and Bones will no longer launch on the previously decided March date. Further updates on the same should be revealed in time.