A new report suggests that Ubisoft's troubled pirate adventure Skull & Bones is looking to Sea of Thieves for inspiration. According to the report, the new alpha build for Skull & Bones is "very similar" to Microsoft and Rare's own grog-soaked high seas sim.
Where does this Skull & Bones report come from?
This report comes from GameLuster, which in turn cites "a source familiar with inner workings" at Ubisoft. According to that source, the latest Skull & Bones build takes significant cues from Sea of Thieves. Like Rare's game, Skull & Bones will use a first-person view while on your ship, but it will switch to third-person when disembarking and exploring the world. The build is still in its infancy; it's "using many untextured boxes", according to GameLuster. In a recent financial report, Ubisoft confirmed Skull & Bones isn't coming until the 2022-23 financial year, so it is perhaps less surprising the game is in this state.
Skull & Bones has had a very long and very troubled development history. It was originally unveiled back at E3 2017, after which we didn't hear much about it for a while. In 2019, it was delayed to beyond the 2019-20 financial year, after which rumors began to surface that development had been restarted on the game. In late 2020, it emerged that Ubisoft Singapore MD Hugues Ricour had been removed from his position. This may or may not have been due to allegations surrounding harassment and toxic work culture at Ubisoft. The GameLuster report's source suggests that after Ricour's departure, Skull & Bones development was yet again restarted. In September 2020, Ubisoft announced that Skull & Bones was still in production with a "new vision" (and that it would once again be delayed), which would fit with a development reboot after Ricour.
What else did we learn from the Ubisoft source's report?
According to the Ubisoft source, Ubisoft Plus, the company's answer to services like Xbox Game Pass and EA Play, will be coming to consoles later this year. Right now, the service is only available on PC, and it costs $15 per month for unlimited access to many major Ubisoft franchises and smaller titles alike. There's no word on whether the price will change or the content will be different between the PC and console versions. It's likely that if Ubisoft Plus does hit consoles, it'll only come to PlayStation and Xbox, since services like EA Play aren't available on Nintendo Switch. It's also worth noting that Sony has historically been reluctant when it comes to EA Play; while the service did eventually come to PlayStation, Sony has said it doesn't represent "good value", so Ubisoft Plus might run into some of the same issues.
Whatever is going on with Ubisoft Plus and Skull & Bones, we might have the chance to learn about it soon. Ubisoft Forward, the company's digital conference at which it will reveal new information about its games, airs on June 12th this year as part of the all-digital E3 2021. You'll be able to catch it starting from 3pm ET, so make sure you tune into that presentation if you want to know more about Ubisoft's upcoming slate.
What do you think about Skull & Bones? Do you want to see it be more or less like Sea of Thieves? Let us know in the comments below!