An associate game director on Ubisoft Singapore’s long in development Skull & Bones has left the company.
Antoine Henry announced his departure on LinkedIn last month with almost 15 years at Ubisoft under his belt. He said, “Goodbye Ubisoft! After nearly 15 years, today was my last day. I’m thankful for the people I’ve met and what they brought me professionally and personally. Hopefully I was able to give back a little bit.”
The news (reported by VGC) has reminded us that Ubisoft is still trying to make Skull & Bones a thing, despite the game having been working its way through the nine circles of Hell since its first reveal.
Antoine Henry’s departure might not have a significant effect on the game’s development. He held several different roles at the studio over the past seven years, working on Skull & Bones as Lead Game Designer from 2014-2017, then as Associate Game Director, where he shifted over to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla from 2018-2021, and then returned after the completion of The Siege of Paris expansion. In other words, he’s only had a fleeting role on the game since it was rebooted.
The most recent news on the game’s overarching progress came in September 2020, with the company assuring wannabe pirates that the game was still in the works, but would have “a new vision“. Since then, it’s just been financial reports with Ubisoft disclosing that the Skull & Bons will not ship during the 2021-22 fiscal year. So… late 2022 is technically still a possibility. Technically…
The game was revealed at E3 2017 and was described as “naval combat is taken to the next level”. The original vision pitched a shared systemic world, where you can sail with other players or execute betrayals. There was a 5v5 mode called The Loot Hunt, and you can disguise your ship to evade detection. Each ship has a special abilities such as siege mode which has no limits on cannon fire when the vessel is anchored. If you’re facing a powerful foe you can invite other players in to the battle to even the odds.
The game could obviously be very different now, with a recent report suggesting that it’s been pivoted to a live service game. Ubisoft’s statement explains that it was “necessary to have some fresh eyes join the team”, which happened two years ago, and that it’s expanded to be a global effort including the Ubisoft studios in Berlin, Chengdu, Kiev, Paris and the Philippines.
It’s not just the game’s shifting direction and long development that has been in the spotlight, though. Ubisoft Singapore has also been implicated in the toxic workplace and harassment allegations that emerged in 2020 and reemerged in 2021 through reporting by Kotaku. This in turn saw the government’s Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices open an investigation into the company.