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Skull and Bones has passed Alpha according to Ubisoft statement in report on the game's troubled development

Skull and Bones
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Skull and Bones, Ubisoft's repeatedly delayed pirate game, has officially crossed the Alpha stage of development.

Ubisoft confirmed this production milestone in a new statement to Kotaku, which was published as part of a broader report on the game's long and troubled development. 

"The Skull & Bones team are proud of the work they’ve accomplished on the project since their last update with production just passing Alpha, and are excited to share more details when the time is right," Ubisoft says. 

This update comes just over two months after Skull and Bones' most recent delay, which pushed the game out to at least 2022, and with room for it to slip into 2023. The game was originally revealed at E3 2017 and hasn't been seen in action since E3 2018. 

According to Kotaku's report, which cites more than 20 anonymous current and former Ubisoft developers, Skull and Bones' repeated delays are primarily a function of creative, management, and resource struggles within developer Ubisoft Singapore and the Ubisoft development umbrella as a whole. 

The game's development cycle has reportedly topped $120 million spent over eight years and now has roughly 400 people working on it, yet many sources claim the project has spent much of that time circling short-term solutions and abandoned ideas and has consequently made relatively little forward progress. 

Many sources also highlighted the shift to a live service structure as a recurring burden. Skull and Bones was originally pitched as a naval fighting game and resurfaced with some MMO-adjacent competitive elements, but it seems the game has since drifted even further into live service waters, with project leaders now reportedly looking at multiplayer survival games like Rust and ARK for reference. This loosely echoes Ubisoft's newly revealed plans to build a live service hub for Assassin's Creed experiences by way of Assassin's Creed Infinity

All of this information has arrived right alongside Ubisoft's quarterly financial meeting. Given the recent delays for Ubisoft's Rainbow Six Extraction and Riders Republic, the company will likely address its release calendar later today. We'll update our reporting as we learn more. 

Here are the new games of 2021 that you can safely get excited for now.

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.