How Long Has Skull and Bones Been in Development?

Skull and Bones is an ambitious pirate simulator project that’s been in development for what feels like forever.

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Image via Ubisoft

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Skull and Bones is a seafaring MMO in which players take to the ocean in a ship of their own to become the most fearsome pirate in the game’s world. While the title looks as though it should be released in 2024, it’s been in development longer than most titles.

Game development takes time. Most video game fans know this and understand that there needs to be more than a decade between GTA games or almost as long between Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls releases. However, Ubisoft is a developer known for churning out good-looking games pretty quickly. Skull and Bones is an anomaly, though, having been in active development for years longer than almost any other game the publisher has worked on.

Related: Skull and Bones Closed Beta Keeps Crashing (How to Fix)

How Many Years Has Skull and Bones Been in Development For?

Screenshot by Gamepur

Skull and Bones has been in development for ten years as of 2023 but will have been in development for close to 11 years by the time it’s released on February 16, 2024. Work began on the game as an expansion to Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag in some capacity, but it was then fleshed out to become its own game entirely.

Over the years, the game has been delayed repeatedly, which has only added to the years it’s been in development. However, each time a delay was announced, Ubisoft showed commitment to it and kept persevering with work until it had something for fans to play in a closed beta.

We played the most recent closed beta in December 2023 and thoroughly enjoyed our time with Skull and Bones. Earlier versions had much more of a grind to get players going, but the latest build streamlines the process and makes for a fun pirate simulator that’s as close to Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag as it’s possible to get.

Why Was Skull and Bones Delayed so Many Times?

Skull and Bones Post-Launch Ship 1
Image via Ubisoft YouTube

It’s impossible to say why Skull and Bones was delayed so many times. The official reasons always boil down to quality and the development team not being happy with where the gameplay is, requiring more time.

What has come to light over the years is that Ubisoft accepted a grant some time ago, as reported by The Gamer, that hinges on the publisher releasing Skull and Bones. This is because it’s signed a deal to effectively support and pay workers in Singapore, and the launch of the game is part of that deal. If it doesn’t happen, Ubisoft will need to repay the grant, and it clearly doesn’t want to do that.