This week, a high-quality leak of a Skull and Bones tutorial laying out the essentials of the upcoming Ubisoft game went live and is still available in a few places if you know where to look. The game has been delayed and reworked by Ubisoft multiple times, but after watching this footage, I find myself shaking my head.
They really went and missed the whole point, after all this time.
The main issue here is that this isn’t Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag 2, as there’s no off-ship foot combat. The images reveal that while you can walk around as a pirate captain, only in worlds and settlements you can buy resources and cook.
Instead of actual combat in situations such as ship boardings or crew mutinies, there are pre-rendered cutscenes. The game shows a ship performing a “boarding maneuver” which shows a chaos cutscene without letting the player fight aboard the enemy ship, which was half the fun of piracy in Black Flag since 2013.
The game’s relentless focus on being cooped up in your ship feels goofy in other ways, too. There are clips of a ship “mining” by firing cannonballs like a cliff, or just parking next to a tree and watching it disassemble into wood for upgrades. It seems like you can’t even walk around freely on the deck of your own ship.
Beyond that, I already dislike the idea of a survival mechanic of constantly having to supply your crew with food and water to maintain morale, lest they mutiny. , which seems like a busy job and again, nothing you have to bother with in the black flag.
Yes, it’s true that the naval combat introduced in Black Flag and then used in half a dozen other Assassin’s Creed games is fun, but that’s only half the fun (or maybe not even that much). Not allowing you to play pirate on foot in actual combat is a truly absurd decision that will sink this game from the start. No matter how many delays there are or how long it remains in production, a game that is entirely based on a ship just won’t sit well with most gamers who literally wanted Ubisoft to make another Black Flag game minus all the Assassin’s Creed nonsense. The blueprint has been there this whole time and it’s just amazing that after all of this we’re still coming to a place that doesn’t take into account why people loved Black Flag in the first place.
Since this leak happened, the Ubisoft Skull and Bones Twitter account seemed to indicate that real information would be coming soon, but the official tutorial video really explains everything, and I don’t know what else you need to know if you look at this. This may appeal to some, but it feels like a half-game at best, and it’s hard to see it performing well in this form.
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