During a Q&A session as part of a conference call discussing Ubisoft’s Q3 sales for its fiscal year 2024, one caller pointed out that Skull and Bones now appears to be taking a more live service approach – the game’s Year 1 roadmap was recently published, for example.
The caller asked why Ubisoft was insisting on charging $70 for the game and potentially limiting the size of its player base, suggesting a free-to-play model may better suit the live service mechanics and give it a better chance of building a community.
Guillemot replied with an assertion that Skull and Bones deserves to be a full-price game because of its scale.
“You will see that Skull and Bones is a fully-fledged game,” he said. “It’s a very big game, and we feel that people will really see how vast and complete that game is. It’s a really full, triple… quadruple-A game, that will deliver in the long run.”
An open beta for Skull and Bones started today and will run until February 11. The beta supports cross-progression and cross-play. Progression will be capped at the rank of Brigand (tier 6 rank 1) and will carry over to the full game.
Players will be able to play the game three days early if they pre-order the $99.99 Premium edition, which includes two extra missions, cosmetic items and a Smuggler Pass token to unlock the premium battle pass.
Although Skull and Bones is finally nearing its release, its long-running development problems have shown no signs of abating.
A Kotaku report in September said the game had lost its third creative director, Elisabeth Pellen, who had been responsible for rebooting the project after its initial 2018 release target was missed.
Pellen, who most notably wrote and directed 2003 shooter XIII and led level design for Splinter Cell’s first sequel, Pandora Tomorrow, had been expected to remain at the Singapore studio until at least the end of this year, it was claimed.
“Five years ago, Elisabeth Pellen went to Ubisoft Singapore with a mission to reboot the creative direction of Skull and Bones,” a Ubisoft spokesperson said at the time. “She succeeded, and the Skull and Bones team is now fulfilling her vision to deliver a unique naval action RPG experience to our players.”