You are the flag-bearer for the worst and most inept tyrant of the previous several years, at the risk of falling or exhibiting incompetent conduct. Skull & Bones, a game about pirates and sea battles, was announced in 2017 as a separate release from Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. Since then, the public’s excitement has only grown.
In the case of Skull & Bones, Murphy’s Law reigns supreme, so many things that may have gone wrong during its construction did. The game has undergone several relaunches, and the identity problem that accompanies it has lingered in development hell for a long time, as has the absence of information on the development of a child, the presence of a sexy employee, and the inexplicable number of delays.
In fact, it was again delayed just recently. Since its introduction five years ago, the release date has been pushed back from 2018 to 2019, then from 2020 to 2021, then from 2021 to 2021, and eventually to this year. Except for Sanes and Noel, who seems to be from a November 8 release, Ubisoft has recently decided to push back the release of its game, saying that it needs more time to be the best it can be. The new release date is March 9, 2019.
But is this additional time sufficient to reach a level of excellence that could justify all of his lengthy development issues? Is any length of time sufficient for that? From this point, it is evident that there is no conceivable alternative where Skull & Bones appears to be advantageous from an economic standpoint. You will never be certain that you have mastered the game until you discover what it is about this game that you cannot see. However, the indicators are not promising.
CAN SKULL AND BONES BE SUCCESSFUL?
All of the work that Ubisoft has shown off for Skull & Bones in the past several months has been met with cynicism at worst and apathy at best (though many would argue that the latter is worse). While the game exhibited in 2017 appeared to be an exciting and ambitious game that would blend a Black Flag-inspired pirate backdrop and naval gameplay with online integration, the game’s current form appeared to be much more formulaic. It is partially due to the fact that he has been Ubisoft’s key strategy in recent years, but also due to the fact that the ambitious features that Skull and Bones alluded to over a decade ago are now almost standard in live-service games with a multiplayer emphasis.
Especially in an era with a whole new set of lullabies: a new version of the Sonics, a game with a more imaginative structure and a huge, expansive head, beginning, it seems absurd that Ubisoft would choose to create a game that feels less bare-bones, with only a few other elements standing out. But aside from Sea of Thieves, which is not a factor (despite being the most likely competitor for Skull and Bones)—there is an abundance of live-service games that are constantly competing for people’s attention, ranging from Destiny 2 to No Man’s Sky, Apex Legends to Rainbow Six Siege, and Final Fantasy 14, among others.
It must be a home run for a new game to displace even one of these titles, whose primary live service experience gamers frequently return to. From what we’ve seen so far, is a game like Bonesseem and Skull really identical to one that would achieve that? As said, this is not even close. Ubisoft said it will continue to support the open-world pirate game for several years after its release, but it must not only meet its pledge but also ensure that the game’s post-launch maintenance is adequate. I hope to no longer be optimistic on that front.
The fact that the game makers refuse to answer any real inquiries about their practices also inspires a great deal of confidence. According to a recent Kotaku story, developers believe it is a shallow experience, and the subpar quality of the experience would certainly result in a poor launch, which could alter firms’ post-launch support strategies. Obviously, no Ubisoft developer has made such a statement publicly, and this report cannot represent the views of the entire (big) production team. Still, it is not encouraging to learn that even a developer is suspicious of the success of a game on which they have been working.
Last year, Kotaku reported that Ubisoft had invested $120 million over the course of eight years of game development and that the company’s growth had reached a stage where it was regarded as too large to fail. The corporation would complete the project by any means necessary and ensure its release. Due to an existing subsidy deal with the Singaporean government, Ethan Gach, a senior reporter, reported in June that Ubisoft had been pushing for the launch of Skull & Bones despite the game’s severely difficult development and lack of pace (where the development team is located). Even while Ubisoft’s cancellation of Skull & Bones has not yet been attributed to a contract, which is a significant factor in the production of video games, it is reasonable to say that the game will be launched.
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