Despite being a live-service multiplayer game, Skull & Bones will be priced at $70 when it is released next week and will not be a free-to-play game. In its latest financial earnings call, Ubisoft has explained why the game has adopted a premium rather than a free-to-play model.
Skull & Bones is a “quadruple-A game”
During the financial earnings call, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot was asked why Skull & Bones would be a $70 game, potentially limiting the size of its player base as opposed to if the game had adopted a free-to-play model. Guillemot replied that Skull & Bones is a “quadruple-A game” whose scale is big enough to justify the price tag:
You will see that Skull and Bones is a fully-fledged game. It’s a very big game, and we feel that people will really see how vast and complete that game is. It’s a really full, triple… quadruple-A game, that will deliver in the long run.
Ubisoft’s post-launch plans for the first year of release include four seasons of content that pit players against Legendary Pirate Lords like Philippe La Peste and the Hubac Twins. Other challenges include Merchant Convoys, Elite Warships, and other predators, with the bigger challenges leading to greater rewards. There will also be free time-limited events with more loot on offer.
The publisher expects Skull & Bones to be one of the reasons for record annual net bookings during the next financial quarter. Ubisoft also remains confident in the performance of Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown while upcoming free-to-play multiplayer shooter XDefiant is expected to make a limited contribution after its release this year.
The Skull & Bones open beta begins today, February 8, and it’s the only time players are going to get to try the game for free before its release. Until February 11, players on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC can earn five exclusive rewards like unique ship cosmetics, an emote, a weapon, and a Pandal Lemur pet. Progression is capped at Infamy Tier 6, but this can be carried over to the full game when it is released on February 16.