The French publishing giant, Ubisoft, recently delayed another one of its flagship titles, Skull and Bones, which was previously supposed to be released later this year, in the month of November. However, it was pushed back to March 2023 to give the developers more time to fine-tune its technical aspects and gameplay balancing ahead of its launch.
Skull and Bones is not the only game Ubisoft has delayed this year. The upcoming Avatar game from Ubisoft Massive, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora was previously speculated to be released this year, but has been delayed to 2023.
It is not uncommon for big AAA releases to get delayed, and often, it is much better than a rushed, half-baked product. However, Skull and Bones was already delayed for more than half a decade, with the game officially being announced way back in 2017. It was only recently given a confirmed release date along with an extended gameplay preview.
Ubisoft delaying its big flagship titles also raises concerns for other games that are in development under the publisher, such as the recently announced Assassin's Creed Mirage, which is scheduled for a 2023 release.
Ubisoft delaying flagship games like Skull and Bones might end up pushing Assassin's Creed Mirage to second half of 2023
Skull and Bones' announcement and multiple delays
Initially planned as a spin-off for 2013's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, which evolved into its own standalone experience, Skull and Bones was initially announced during 2017's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
The announcement came with a planned release in 2018. However, due to internal conflicts and numerous changes in the development cycle, it kept pushing back the game's release to such a point that fans were even speculating that Ubisoft might have scrapped the entire project.
However, in July 2022, Ubisoft finally gave fans an extended look at Skull and Bones, its gameplay, general premise, and the vast and expansive open-world it has to offer.
The announcement came with a spectacular cinematic trailer, along with a few snippets of gameplay and also a confirmed release date of November 8, 2022.
Skull and Bones getting delayed to March 2023 gives valuable time to developers working on the game in hopes of delivering a polished and quality product to players. However, it might also result in Ubisoft pushing other upcoming projects like Assassin's Creed Mirage into the second half of next year.
Assassin's Creed Mirage might get pushed to the final quarter of 2023
Assassin's Creed Mirage (codename Rift) was initially presumed to be released in 2022, right after the final expansion of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, but got pushed to 2023 to make room for Skull and Bones. This also allowed Ubisoft to extend their support for Assassin's Creed Valhalla, with new updates, game modes, and quests.
Now with Skull and Bones having been delayed to 2023, it is very likely that Ubisoft might push back on its other projects as well. Ubisoft would also want to space out its flagship releases and capitalize on all of its upcoming titles, without one of them overpowering the other.
Given that Assassin's Creed is one of Ubisoft's best-selling IPs, it is very unlikely that the publisher will release Mirage in the first half of 2023. This will severely impact Skull and Bones' launch since the latter is an entirely new IP.
However, since Ubisoft is yet to give any concrete release date for Assassin's Creed Mirage, it is only speculation at this point that the game might come out sooner than expected.
Assassin's Creed Mirage is a "return to the roots" experience
Ubisoft began pushing the Assassin's Creed franchise towards a more RPG-centric gameplay loop with large open-worlds, tons of side quests, and fantasy elements. Since then, fans of the series have been asking for a grounded and linear Assassin's Creed experience, with more focus towards stealth, parkour, and assassinations.
Assassin's Creed Mirage is Ubisoft's answer to fans asking for an authentic AC experience that is true to the original games. This is done while also leveraging the advancements made with the new RPG titles.
According to Ubisoft Bordeaux, the developers of Assassin's Creed Mirage, the game is a "return to the roots" experience. It is more focused towards the stealth and parkour traversal that the series was originally known for.
Stealth and parkour are two of the most essential elements of the series that have been somewhat diluted since Assassin's Creed Origins, with Ubisoft focusing more towards the role-playing aspects of the titles.
Although the next two titles featured rudimentary stealth systems, they entirely butchered the parkour traversal. This gave players the god-like ability to climb almost any surface and survive a fall from any height.
Ubisoft is yet to showcase any gameplay for Mirage. However, the cinematic trailer demonstrated some really fun and exciting elements that harken back to the original Assassin's Creed games, especially the first title in the series and its sequel.
It remains to be seen how Ubisoft delivers on its promise of a true stealth and parkour-focused Assassin's Creed experience with Mirage when it releases in 2023 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows PC.