At E3 2017, Ubisoft unveiled a brand new IP dubbed Skull and Bones, which lets players live the pirate’s life in intense naval combat. Given that game’s similar to Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, many thought that the two franchises might be linked or that it is a spin-off, but now the studio has offered up an explanation for why it is keeping them separate.
When it comes down to it, Skull and Bones is free from any major connection to the Assassin’s Creed series as a means of giving developer Ubisoft Singapore complete freedom to explore new ideas. The studio was previously responsible for the ship-based combat in Assassin’s Creed 3 and Black Flag, but wanted a blank slate for its new project.
In a recent interview, Ubisoft Singapore’s managing director Olivier de Rotalier noted that the team wanted to continue working with the subject matter of pirates once Black Flag was finished. They built a prototype based around one-on-one naval battles, but realized that it was straying far from what Assassin’s Creed is all about. While naval battles have been a popular feature in the past, they have never been core to the experience. For Skull and Bones, however, the ship battles take center stage.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot noted that making Skull and Bones a new IP gave Ubisoft Singapore complete freedom to follow through on any new ideas. He also praised the amount of people that have registered to try out the game’s multiplayer mode as part of a beta — sign-ups are currently open on the game’s official website.
It’s entirely possible that part of the decision to make Skull and Bones its own franchise stems from the fact that the game will contain a full single-player campaign. Given the current complexity of the Assassin’s Creed mythos, it makes sense to start fresh if the Ubisoft Singapore is coming up with a new plot and new characters.
Still, anyone that loved Black Flag will surely get a lot out of Skull and Bones. While the games aren’t linked officially, there seems to be a great deal of connective tissue when it comes to their gameplay.
Skull and Bones launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2018.