A recent Kotaku report revealed that Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones faces more development challenges. Elisabeth Pellen, the third creative director brought in to help with the pirate game, has left Ubisoft Singapore. She initially joined in 2018 but departed earlier this summer to become Ubisoft Paris’ editorial director. While with the Singapore team, she played a key role in refocusing Skull and Bones into an exploration and survival-oriented game.
A spokesperson told Kotaku that Pellen was brought to Ubisoft Singapore to revamp the creative direction of Skull and Bones, and she succeeded. The team is now working to bring her vision of a unique naval action RPG experience to players. Sources suggest she was expected to stay at the Singapore studio at least until the end of 2023.
Skull and Bones’ development journey has been a rollercoaster since its 2017 reveal. Allegations of misconduct, including sexism and racism at Ubisoft Singapore, added to fuel to the fire. Now, the Creative Media and Publishing Union (CMPU) in Singapore is organizing a labor campaign at the studio.
According to Kotaku, Ubisoft is conducting a ballot exercise this week to determine whether “eligible Singapore team members” should be formally recognized. The specifics of who qualifies to participate remain unclear.
This isn’t Ubisoft’s first encounter with labor-related issues in 2023. Solidaires Informatique, a French union, filed a complaint at the beginning of the year due to controversial comments from CEO Yves Guillemot. Shortly after, French authorities investigated the Montpellier team regarding alleged high burnout rates in 2022. Following the investigation, Guillaume Carmona, Montpellier’s managing director, left the studio.
In our preview from last year, I said, “We know the game has had a rough time coming together but I appreciate the teams making the best out of the situation and ensuring something worthwhile becomes of the project that has faced rough open water.”
It was then delayed again. Originally, Skull and Bones was meant to be a spin-off of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, focusing on the naval elements and expanding upon them. In a turn of event that’s come full circle, Ubisoft is reportedly working on a Assassin’s Creed IV remake.