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Skull and Bones: The Cursed Pirate Game

Skull and Bones: The Cursed Pirate Game

Published: Tuesday, December 06, 2022Tagged: Gaming

Despite the popularity of the pirate saga Pirates of the Caribbean, scallywags of the high seas haven’t always made the biggest waves in the video game community. Sid Meier's Pirates! got the ship sailing back in 1987 and the legendary point-and-click game The Secret of Monkey Island seemed to herald a bright future for the genre in 1990. None of that seemed to materialize, though.

Skull and Bones: The Cursed Pirate Game

A Cursed Treasure

Apart from in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and 2018’s Sea of Thieves, there are precious few pirates courting trouble out there today. As Ubisoft’s upcoming Skull and Bones game has been delayed, there’s a feeling that the pirate game is a bit of a cursed treasure, a rare but risky gambit. After all, if the genre had plenty of fans, there’d be a king’s ransom of titles out there, not the handful of doubloons we currently have.

The two places where pirates (arguably) continue to thrive are on mobile platforms and online casinos. Both Pirates! and Assassin's Creed: Pirates are available on iOS and Android, as is the less well-known Pirates Outlaws. The PlayStar Casino carries the Pirates' Plenty: The Sunken Treasure slot, a five-reel game that takes place under the sea and includes imagery of a dead captain.

Skull and Bones remains something of a mystery within the genre. The multiplayer title was originally announced back in 2017 but has since been delayed five times, with the latest halt pushing its long-anticipated release back to March 2023. Of course, this has allowed the Rare-developed game Sea of Thieves to establish itself as the monarch of an underrepresented genre.

Development Hell

Reportedly, development on Skull and Bones was completely reset in 2018, with Ubisoft expressing a desire to “give itself more time” to work on the game. The most recent delay, in November, offered no further insight into the game's development to date, other than a further claim that more time was needed to put it all together. Unfortunately, it’s easy to look upon these brief holds as just another example of development hell in the industry.

Skull and Bones has long been rumored to be mired in difficulties, largely because Ubisoft didn’t quite know what it was supposed to be. Along with Dead Island 2, Beyond Good And Evil 2, and Grand Theft Auto 6, the title has become a bit of a posterchild for development hell recently, even if its time in the oven hasn’t been as long as other stalled games, like Duke Nukem Forever (14 years).

A more optimistic viewpoint on Skull and Bones’ recent delay is that it was a tactical decision. The game would have been released a day before God of War: Ragnarok hit the shelves in November, which would likely have hit the game’s sales quite substantially. March provides a much clearer release schedule, although the remake of Resident Evil 4 will make an appearance towards the end of the month.

Unfortunately, development delays often have a significant effect on a game’s quality come launch. Whether Skull and Bones will snare itself in a trap of its own design remains to be seen.

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