|a program||Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, Windows, Stadia, Luna|
|release day||November 8, 2022|
“Every game that has ever been is the most important game in history for a person.” It’s a statement I heard from a PR employee. He didn’t create it himself, but the quote came from a developer who explained to him that every game always has at least one person that is for him the most important game in his life. Maybe this is his first project as a director, maybe his first game as a freelance developer, maybe it was his intended accomplishment, or it was a unique opportunity to work with a talented team. There is always someone whose life depends on that particular game. It’s a statement that impacted me, because we, everyone who plays games, not just reviewers, find it very easy to eventually burn games. I’m guilty of that myself. I wandered the halls of gamescom and watched dozens of games where my first reaction was: “This game is not worth my time”.
Of course you can’t avoid it at a trade fair: you can’t see or play everything. But what you don’t particularly hope is that you look at something that turns out to be very disappointing. That’s also part of it, because not every match is good. But the games are basically fun. We play games for fun, to test ourselves or to compare our performance with that of others, but these too are actually various forms of fun. If, after two presentations about the same game, you have to conclude that this game is probably not going to be good enough and you really want to advise people not to buy the game right now, then I don’t enjoy it. I don’t know who is the most important Ubisoft Skull & Bones game ever, but I can feel it. Skull & Bones sounds like Ubisoft recently found the project on the shelf, where it should have been since 2018, for example.
Of course, the usual disclaimer applies here: This is an early version of the game; It’s still a work in progress, so there’s still time for improvements. But whether this applies to Skull & Bones is highly questionable. To understand why, we first have to go back to 2017 and 2018. Five years ago, the game debuted at E3 and a year later the game was playable. Then we played a sea battle and that was fun. BUT: We also had questions that weren’t answered yet. The game doesn’t seem to have much to do other than sail. We wrote something like: The game is somewhat similar to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, but without the land part. What Skull & Bones would have, was not yet clear at that point.
We are now four years later. At the time, it was quiet for a long time around Skull & Bones. It was not very noticeable, because of course there were no major exchanges due to the Corona crisis. Had that been the case, the game would have lost E3 three times already and it was noticeable that something wasn’t right in the game’s development. What is Ubisoft doing right now? The company doesn’t say much about it, but the answer can be seen at Gamescom. Ubisoft gave two presentations to attendees in Cologne, one about single-player and one about multiplayer, in which we almost immediately saw the main character of the game go ashore and wander on an island that served as a pirate base. The game that looked like Black Flag in 2018, but without the ground play, is now similar to Black Flag. a point.
This comparison is of course not crazy. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag shares the same split between land and sea as Skull & Bones and the main character Edward Kenway was also a pirate, with his own crew and friendships or rivalries with other pirates. In the single player presentation, we see how the main character, as a novice pirate, receives orders from the pirate king John Skorlock. It’s a scene that could have been captured straight from the Black Flag. Ubisoft has always emphasized that Skull & Bones has nothing to do with the Black Flag, but the similarities abound. Especially when you see the game in action and have to conclude that even the technology seems to come from the Black Flag era.
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