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What happened to Ubisoft’s Skull & Bones?

Skull & Bones, Ubisoft Singapore’s open-world pirate video game, won’t be on display at Ubisoft Forward on Thursday. That’s because Skull & Bones has become something different than initially expected, according to creative director Elisabeth Pellen.

Pellen penned a letter to fans, published Wednesday, in which she outlined the game’s postponement. Skull & Bones is still in development, Pellen confirmed, but the team has redefined the game over the years. Now, Ubisoft has “a new vision” for the game.

“We dreamt something bigger for Skull & Bones, and these ambitions naturally come with bigger challenges,” Pellen said.

“These difficulties resulted in necessary delays for our game,” Pellen said. “Critical questions needed to be addressed over the past several months such as: how do we modernize the classic pirate fantasy? How do we ensure a more immersive and visceral experience? How do we create cool and memorable moments in-game? For most of these questions to be answered, it was clear that we needed more development time.”

Pellen also said that several “new talents” have joined the team in development of the game.

Skull & Bones was first shown at E3 2017 and has been delayed several times since — the last of which was when it was delayed to 2020 in 2019. Ubisoft will re-reveal the game in 2021, Pellen said. No release date was given.

Ubisoft claims it’s working to address reports of harassment, sexual misconduct, and racial insensitivity at the company, in the wake of employees speaking out about a longstanding toxic work culture. Since those stories emerged, multiple executives have resigned or been fired from Ubisoft. The company’s CEO, Yves Guillemot, issued a public apology in a video released ahead of the company’s latest Ubisoft Forward presentation, saying he’s “fully committed to leading the change at Ubisoft and to ensuring we always uphold and exemplify our core values.” Guillemot’s comments were notably not included in the live Ubisoft Forward presentation.

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