- Ubisoft CEO defends the $70 price tag for Skull and Bones, citing the game’s immense size and long-term delivery.
- Beta testers have criticized Skull and Bones, citing boredom, lack of expected features, and poor dialogue writing.
- Players can experience the game for themselves through the open beta, which supports cross-play and progress transfer to the full game.
AAA game pricing has been an ongoing controversy for some time, but Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot thinks the upcoming Skull and Bones has earned its $70 price tag. Skull and Bones launches on February 16, featuring live-service elements in addition to the full AAA price.
Ubisoft revealed the open-world pirate game during E3 2017, though development began in 2013. Primarily developed by Ubisoft Singapore, it was initially envisioned as a multiplayer DLC for Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag before developers spun it off into a standalone game. However, Skull and Bones’ development was plagued with issues, including multiple changes in leadership, direction and scope, high employee turnover, and repeatedly exceeding its budget. While the game’s release date is finally in sight, reports from Skull and Bones’ beta testers haven’t been encouraging.
How to Play Skull and Bones Early
Skull and Bones fans technically have two ways to play the game pre-launch –here’s the deal.
Ubisoft Says Skull and Bones’ Size Justifies the Price
Ubisoft recently held an earnings call for the third quarter of its 2024 fiscal year. During the call, Guillemot explained why he feels that the $70 price is reasonable for a game like Skull and Bones, and turned down the suggestion that the game might have been better served by going free-to-play. The Ubisoft CEO argued that the game’s immense size justifies charging full price upfront. “It’s a really full, triple… quadruple-A game, that will deliver in the long run.”
The Ubisoft CEO made these comments in response to one caller who raised concerns over Skull and Bones’ price tag. Given the game’s heavy reliance on live service elements, the caller wondered if a free-to-play model might prove a better return on investment. Doing so could attract more players and help establish a dedicated community, while the $70 price might limit the size of Skull and Bones’ player base. However, Guillemot clearly disagrees.
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.
The Ubisoft executive may be speaking confidently, though it’s hard to say how much of that is justified. In December, news broke about beta testers quitting Skull and Bones due to boredom. One tester quit after only an hour, and others soon came forward with similar stories. Criticisms included the lack of expected features like sword fights. Testers also complained of dull quests and poor dialogue writing and were dissatisfied with the game’s core ship combat. Additionally, they reported encountering some of the same issues from the previous beta. That was almost two months ago, but it’s unclear how much has changed since.
Fortunately, anyone who prefers to make up their own mind has an opportunity to do so now. The Skull and Bones open beta launched on February 7 and runs until 6:00 PM Eastern/3:00 PM Pacific on February 11. The beta supports cross-play on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S, and players can carry their progress over to the full game. Fans who purchase the $100 Premium Edition can also play Skull and Bones three days early.
Skull and Bones
- February 16, 2024