Ubisoft boss defends pirate game’s exorbitant price Skull and Bones (80 euros) and calls it an AAAA game. Will it be enough to motivate players, after years of development, expectations and rumors?
They say that history repeats itself, but here, it repeats itself a little quickly. At the beginning of February, we already noticed that the big problem of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice Leaguethat was its price: 70 euros for a hybrid solo and multiplayer game, too ungenerous, mechanically dated and with additional paid content.
We then hoped that the probable failure of Warner would serve as a lesson when suddenly… Here Ubisoft arrives with its new game, full sail, to make the exact same mistakes as Rocksteady with its Suicide Squad.
Skull and Bonesthe famous pirate game developed since 2013 and which would have cost around 200 million dollars, is arriving shortly and could well overshadow the notable launch of Suicide Squad – and not necessarily in a positive way. Ubisoft’s title was in open beta from February 8 to 11and as many expected, player feedback is mixed.
And if everything does not seem to be thrown away, the majority agrees that Skull and Bones not worth the astronomical price. Everyone agrees… except obviously the boss of Ubisoft, for whom his game would be worth even more than a classic triple A.
like free to play… but paying?
During a question-and-answer session about Ubisoft’s latest financial report (via VGC), Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, defended the price of Skull and Bones (69.99 euros for the physical version, 59.99 euros for the digital version, 89.99 for the Premium) by qualifying it as “quadruple-A game“.
During this session, a speaker highlighted the fact that the pirate game nevertheless seems to adopt the form of a service game. A post-purchase content planning for almost a year was also published very recently. This confirms that Skull and Bones aims to rob its players properly, despite the large sum they will have spent to own it – and even if the idea of owning a game does not seem no longer too much in Ubisoft politicsFrom now on.
Although this economic model is generally very lucrative, it is nevertheless more suited to free-to-purchase games (Fortnite, Apex Legends). However, it does not often succeed in big games sold at high prices (Marvel’s Avengers, Anthem or recently, Suicide Squad), if we do not count a few exceptions such as Diablo 4. The speaker would therefore have asked the reason why Ubisoft still insists on charging for its game so expensive, thus risking sabotaging its launch.
“skull and bones a really generous game”
Indeed, the tactics of service games are generally to attract players through the free product, then make it profitable in the long term. This is what Ubisoft will do with XDefiant very soon.
To this burning question, Yves Guillemot responded that it is the exceptional scope of Skull and Bones which would justify this decision:
“You will see that Skull and Bones is a game in its own right […] It’s a very broad title and we think people will see how comprehensive it is. It’s a really generous game. A triple… a quadruple-A that will reveal itself over time.”
The Ubisoft title would therefore be the long-awaited and dreamed pirate game. After so many delays and years of development, it would arrive to become obsolete Sea of Thieves, restore the image of the French studio, and sweep away the dirty rumors predicting a catastrophe. Unless it is not the quality of the game (whatever it is) which justifies the price of Skull and Bonesbut what it cost the studio.
three times more expensive than the witcher 3?
Developed since 2013 and expected since 2017, Skull and Bones knew an infernal production (which is commonplace at Ubisoft, as recently reported InsiderGaming). What was supposed to be a little game based on the naval phases ofAssassin’s Creed Black Flag would thus have experienced a totally erratic evolution, guided by increasingly excessive ambitions. The Ubisoft Singapore team, responsible for the project, quickly found itself overloaded by an increasingly untenable project.
In the end (according to JV.com), Skull and Bones would have cost more than 200 million euros (The Witcher 3 cost 72.5 million euros, for comparison), not including the marketing campaign. A huge investment which could also be the cause, among many other things, of the fall of Ubisoft on the stock market that we have observed in recent years.
This is perhaps what Yves Guillemot’s “quadruple-A” formula hides: a production which has costs too much and that absolutely must be profitable. Despite all premium editions at 100 euros of the world, difficult to see in Skull and Bones a guaranteed success that matches the ambitions for Ubisoft. What if we had the impression of witnessing a repeat of what we experienced for Suicide Squad (especially with the beta of the game which was not very convincing), the result could be even more painful here.
For Ubisoft certainly, but also and above all for the developers who have succeeded one another for years and who have probably struggled ardently with the production of this game. Skull and Bones will therefore be officially released this February 16 and we’ll give him a chance, of course. We also hope to be pleasantly surprised so that at the end, the work of everyone involved in this long project is justly rewarded.