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Ubisoft's troubled Skull & Bones tests the waters once again, slated for February release

After being in development for apparently 10 years, it looks like Skull and Bones may finally be ready to cast off – but does anyone still care?

A title card for Skull and Bones showing release date
Image credit: Ubisoft

It's not been smooth sailing for the open seas pirate simulator, Skull and Bones, but could its appearance at The Game Awards finally suggest that Ubisoft is ready to cast off from the pontoon and launch the sails of this troubled beast once and for all? Well, considering there is a February 16 release date for the game with a December 14-18 playtest, it seems so.

During tonight's show, Ubisoft once again reminded us that the game exists – a massive six years on from it's initial showing over six years ago at E3 2017 The game, reportedly in development since 2013, was initially supposed to launch in 2018, but was delayd into 2019, then 2020, and then into FY 21-22. Finally, now, we're seeing an assertion that it'll be available to all in Q1 2024. Though you'll forgive us for being doubtful.

You can check out the latest trailer for the game below. If nothing else, at least it's still a looker, ey?

Watch on YouTube

Skull and Bones' appearance at the TGAs shouldn't be that surprising. The game has already seen a lot of (pirate) activity this year; there was a test for curious players back in the summer, a weird marketing push dedicated to 'narrative gameplay' near the start of th year, and the news that – once again – Ubisoft had cancelled the game at the start of 2023.

I played the game last year, and though I think it's got a good approach to naval warfare and the physics underpinning it all are truly to be admired, I can't quite work out who it's for.

Per the preview, I called it "a facsimile of the sailing sections from Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and Rogue, taken out and given some more meat, and wrangled into a multiplayer server. The sort of thing that’d come out, get talked about for a few weeks, then go away."

Here's hoping I'm wrong about this one; it'd be a shame if a decade's worth of work was nothing more than a briny flash in the pan.

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Skull and Bones

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Dom Peppiatt avatar

Dom Peppiatt

Editor-in-chief

Dom is a veteran video games critic with 11 years' experience in the games industry. A published author and consultant that has written for NME, Red Bull, Samsung, Xsolla, Daily Star, GamesRadar, Tech Radar, and many more. They also have a column about games and music at The Guardian.

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