‘Skull And Bones’ Game Costs $70 Because It’s “Quadruple-A,” Ubisoft Says

‘Skull And Bones’ Game Costs $70 Because It’s “Quadruple-A,” Ubisoft Says

Skull and Bones, which has been in production so long that it has become a legend, is now running an open beta this weekend before being released a week from now. The idea is to show that after all this time and all this drama, the game is actually good, and you should play it upon release.

But you will have to pay $70 to do so.

Despite being described as a live, ongoing game, Skull and Bones charges $70 upfront, and then will add microtransactions, battle passes, etc. over time. This led to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot asking why they were doing this instead of expanding the player base as a free-to-play game. His response:

“You’ll see that Skull and Bones is a complete game,” he said. “It’s a very big game, and we feel like people are really going to see how expansive and complete this game is. It’s a complete triple-A…quadruple-A game, which will bring success in the long run.”

I’m trying to understand how you say something is “broad and full play” and say in the next sentence that it will “produce results in the long run.” This is the good old live service philosophy, where the game will be offered over its lifespan, not necessarily at launch. This is another problem with charging $70 upfront when people want a full game at that price, not promising that it will deliver over time after large amounts of future microtransaction-based content are released. Launching a live service is hard enough, but there are very few apps that are successful as well as launching at a full AAA (or AAAA!) price to start with.

It’s also hard to imagine a live-service hacking game as a four-game experience, whatever that’s supposed to mean, given its basic nature. I suppose the idea is that they’ve spent so much time on it, so invested, that they look at it that way. This is probably another reason why you should pay $70 to try to recoup some of that development cost even if it doesn’t work out in the long run. And honestly, I don’t really know how a pirate ship fighting game, no matter how many there are, will perform in the long term in the face of so much competition in the market.

We’ll see how it goes after its launch next week, the end of a decade-long saga that seems to have produced something Ubisoft has confidence in. We’ll see if the players bite or not.

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