Skull & Bones has seemingly come a long way since it was first announced. Originaly unveiled as a multiplayer expansion to Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, it's been turned into a pirate sandbox game in its own right. Not that any players would know that, however. Having been announced eight years ago, the game has had a troubled production. Despite this, current developers working on the project have called it "too big to fail."
According to Kotaku, there have been multiple reasons that the game has had such a troubled history. A lot of this has to do with mismanagement and a toxic work culture. As the report highlights, the game changed direction quite frequently. Once that happened, new art and other assets would have to be remade from scratch. Months of work was tossed in the bin. Too much time was spent on prototypes, basics questions remained unanswered.
As a former developer speaking on condition of anonymity told Kotaku:
"Every time we got feedback from Paris they would just freak out and change everything, and then change the people working on it, and that happened multiple times."
Other developers and former employees elaborated on what it was like to work on the title. They noted that everything could be tied back to mismanagement and culture. As one former employee said:
"The toxic culture permeating the Singapore studio is in no small part responsible for most of the production issues—reboots, rebrands and re-reboots—that have plagued Skull & Bones for a decade."
Ubisoft has disputed many of these claims. In a statement issued to Kotaku, the company said:
"The Skull & Bones team are proud of the work they’ve accomplished on the project since their last update with production just passing Alpha, and are excited to share more details when the time is right. That being said, any unfounded speculation about the game or decisions being made only works to demoralize the team who are working very hard to develop an ambitious new franchise that lives up to the expectations of our players."
Skull & Bones is scheduled to come out some time "before 2023." It was also due in 2018, 2019, 2020, and "before 2022."