Ubisoft has again delayed Skull and Bones, its upcoming action-adventure pirate sim, due to poor overall sales of recent titles and planned company-wide changes for the next fiscal year. This is the sixth chronic pushback for the naval combat title, previously set to release on March 9. The release is now scheduled for the next fiscal year, which runs from April 2023 to March 2024. According to an investor call press release aimed at strengthening its long-term growth, Ubisoft has also decided to cancel three unannounced projects. Much of this turmoil has been attributed to Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Just Dance 2023 underperforming 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’re using the time remaining until our launch to use feedback from our ongoing technical testing and upcoming open beta to polish and balance the experience,” a Ubisoft spokesperson said. Kotaku. The press release notes that the extra time from multiple delays “has paid off” and led to impressive improvements in the quality of the game. The studio also has a live show scheduled for later this week on January 13 at 10:30pm IST/9am PT on the Ubisoft Twitch Channel. The development of Skull and Bones started in 2013 when the time came intended as a multiplayer expansion to Assassin’s Creed IV: Pirate-themed Black Flag. The project eventually took shape as its own thing, morphing into the standalone open-world pirate game we know today. That adds up to a total of 11 years in development.
To combat the losses, Ubisoft will proceed with caution and confirm a new set of measures in the press release. As mentioned, this means the cancellation of three unannounced projects, in addition to the four canceled in July last year. Two of them were confirmed to be Splinter Cell VR and Ghost Recon Frontline. Since Ubisoft has already teased a remake of the original Splinter Cell, it’s safe to assume – no pun intended – it’s safe. That said, the company has 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) in R&D costs on upcoming free-to-play and premium games, in addition to those that have just been cancelled. In particular, this reflects increased caution regarding the current challenging video game market and macroeconomic environment, as well as the necessary increased focus on fewer titles. The company also plans to save more than €200 million (approximately Rs. 1,759 crore) in its operating costs over the next two years.
“The industry’s long-term outlook remains promising and I am confident that Ubisoft is well positioned to capitalize on this momentum through the strength of our teams, brands, manufacturing capacity, technology and balance sheet. Our back catalog remains very healthy with remarkably strong activity on Rainbow Six Siege, great momentum for our Assassin’s Creed games, and overall solid performance from our live games,” said Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft.
Skull and Bones will no longer launch on its previously set March date. Further updates on this should be revealed in a timely manner.