Ubisoft’s long-delayed pirate game Skull and Bones is finally nearing release, but early impressions indicate it won’t live up to the publisher’s inflated hype.
After over a decade in development and multiple delays, Ubisoft frames Skull and Bones as a revolutionary open-world experience. CEO Yves Guillemot called it “quadruple-A”, suggesting production values exceeding even triple-A blockbusters. Former creative director Elisabeth Pellen boasted its world is Ubisoft’s largest.
Yet hands-on previews expose concerning compromises. Streamlined gameplay shortcuts immersion in the pirating fantasy. Critics highlight the awkward on-foot sections, where players can’t even leave ships to explore towns. Vital activities like boarding enemy vessels occur off-screen in cutscenes.
Gameplay Shortcuts Undercut Core Pirating Fantasy
Resource gathering is reduced to quick-time events instead of letting players take control. It’s puzzling such a key mechanic lacks depth when Ubisoft pioneered compelling open-world systems. Fans hoped for an experience capturing the romanticized Golden Age of Piracy. Skull and Bones strips away those layers of adventure and personality.
These design choices create a disjointed, rushed feeling at odds with Ubisoft’s grandiose vision. Rather than an endless seaborne playground, critics found aimless sailing between repetitive objectives. It evokes a low-budget clicker game more than an immersive pirate simulation.
Concerning Signs Skull and Bones is Less Than Promised
Skull and Bones seems adrift, failing to fulfill its creators’ lofty aspirations. Shortcuts catering to a niche audience sacrifice the swashbuckling charm that should define the theme. Its development voyage now complete, expectations must be managed. While reasonably fun, Skull and Bones won’t become Ubisoft’s next big open-world hit. It lacks the key ingredients that make exploration compelling and memorable.
Perhaps more time at sea could have righted the course, but the final product feels compromised. Ubisoft’s inability to deliver its promised benchmark for the genre raises concerning questions about the publisher’s direction.