In 2022, Ubisoft has canceled a few titles and delayed pirate RPG Skull and bones. And even though it’s a new year, the company has done almost the same by canceling three more games and postponing Skull and bones once again.
The company disclosed this information in a latest economic update. This dire report notes that the industry has turned toward “mega-brands and long-lasting titles that can reach gamers across the globe, across platforms and business models.” However, the games Ubisoft is positioning to meet these criteria have yet to be released, and its latest games have “not performed as well as expected.” It also cited “deteriorating macroeconomic conditions” that have made the market an even tougher place, as well as the investments and challenges that resulted from working from home.
These matches have caused Ubisoft to do a complete overhaul of its slate and become more cautious. And as such, Ubisoft said it has canceled three more unannounced games to ensure its energies are “focused on building [its] brands and live services to some of the most powerful in the business.” As previously mentioned, this is on top of the four unannounced games it used in July 2022.
Co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot also called up Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. Despite glowing critical reviews and an “ambitious marketing plan,” he noted that Ubisoft was surprised by its disappointing performance in the final weeks of 2022 and early parts of 2023. As reported by Video Games ChronicleGuillemot said he believes the tactical crossover title “is going to do good numbers over time” due to positive player reception. For reference, the original reached 10 million players in August 2022 after five years.
He also stated that Just Dance 2023 also underperformed. Despite these setbacks, Guillemot said he was confident in the company given its “team, brands, production capacity, technology and balance sheet” and specifically cited the continued strength of Rainbow Six Siege and Assassin’s Creed.
Ubisoft’s Skull and bones delay was also buried in this report. While explaining that the extra development time has paid off and made it a stronger title, Ubisoft is pushing the title into “early 2023 to 2024” to “build awareness” and add more polish. The game’s Twitter account has yet to acknowledge the push, but it revealed that it will hold a stream on January 13 at 9 P.T.
Skull and bones has been kicking around Ubisoft for nearly a decade. It started development in 2013 as a multiplayer spin-off to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag before it turns to its own title. It was revealed at E3 2017 and originally planned for release in 2018 before being delayed more and more as the years went on. According to one Kotaku reports, it suffered from a lack of direction, cluttered design, and poor management, which helps explain its ever-changing release window. It was most recently set for November 8, 2022, before being pushed back to March 9, 2023, a date it will no longer hit.