"Union Campaign Challenges Skull and Bones as Another Director Exits"

Union Campaign Challenges Skull and Bones as Another Director Exits

Ubisoft's Pirate Fantasy Game Loses Another Creative Director

Ubisoft's ambitious open seas pirate game has seen another departure from its creative team. Elisabeth Pellen, who joined the Skull and Bones team in 2018, has left the Singapore-based Ubisoft team to return to the French publisher's headquarters in Paris. This move occurred earlier this summer, following mixed reviews of the game's much-anticipated closed beta. It has also been revealed that Ubisoft Singapore is contending with an organized labor campaign from the country's Creative Media and Publishing Union.

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High Stakes for Ubisoft's Upcoming Releases

With the anticipation surrounding the big-budget Skull and Bones, Ubisoft is under pressure, especially in light of cost-cutting measures following a less-than-stellar release slate in 2022. In addition to Skull and Bones, Ubisoft has publicized three other major games at its summer showcase: The Crew Motorfest, Assassin's Creed: Mirage, and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. These releases are part of an effort to bounce back from recent setbacks and strategic changes that resulted in the cancellation of multiple internal projects, including a sequel to the 2020 game Immortals Fenyx Rising.

Behind the Scenes of Skull and Bones

Pellen, who previously served as a VP of editorial, was responsible for steering Skull and Bones from a session-based multiplayer ship combat shooter towards a broader exploration and survival-focused piracy sim, drawing inspiration from games like Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved. Now based in the Paris office, Pellen's current title is directeur editorial online, according to her LinkedIn profile.

A Ubisoft spokesperson commented on Pellen's impact on Skull and Bones, stating, "Five years ago, Elisabeth Pellen went to Ubisoft Singapore with a mission to reboot the creative direction of Skull and Bones. She succeeded, and the Skull and Bones team is now fulfilling her vision to deliver a unique naval action RPG experience to our players."

The Future of Skull and Bones

As the game's development continues, it's not unusual for a creative director to transition to a new project or role, according to the Ubisoft spokesperson. However, sources close to the matter, who wish to remain anonymous, revealed that Pellen's tenure at Ubisoft Singapore was expected to continue until at least the end of this year. Pellen has not responded to requests for comment on this matter.

Challenges in Skull and Bones Production

Skull and Bones, which evolved from an expansion for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, was originally slated for release in 2018. The game's more ambitious vision led to multiple delays, and while it was set to be released in the fall of 2022, it was withdrawn due to concerns about polish and playtest feedback. Ubisoft currently plans to launch the blockbuster game before the end of its fiscal year in March 2024, although a new internal release date has yet to be confirmed.

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