- "Skull and Bones" faces another setback as it loses its third creative director, Elisabeth Pellen, who had been with the project since 2018.
- Pellen, known for her work on games like "XIII" and "Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow," played a crucial role in transforming the game into an exploration and survival-oriented piracy sim.
- Ubisoft Singapore is also dealing with an organized labor campaign, raising questions about the impact of these developments on the game's release.
Pirate lore and terrible curses walk (sail?) hand in hand, an it seems like Skull and Bones must have been cursed when it entered development. It looks like the upcoming game just can't catch a break, hitting hurdle after hurdle, the latest of which is the loss of major talent on the project.
According to a new report by Kotaku, Skull and Bones has lost another creative director. Elisabeth Pellen has reportedly left Ubisoft Singapore to return to the company's headquarters in Paris earlier this summer. Pellen has worked on the project since 2018 and is the third creative director to have left the project. Not a good look...
Pellen is an established veteran of the industry and is notable for directing the 2003 shooter XIII. She also led the level design team for Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. She has also been credited with transforming Skull and Bones from a session-based multiplayer ship combat game to a broader exploration and survival-oriented piracy sim similar to Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved.
"Five years ago, Elisabeth Pellen went to Ubisoft Singapore with a mission to reboot the creative direction of Skull and Bones," a Ubisoft spokesperson told Kotaku. "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 positive feedback received during the recent Closed Beta highlights the invaluable work Elisabeth and the entire team have done," they added. "Now through the game's launch, our focus is to offer the best possible experience to players by considering their feedback and further polishing the game."
The game director was expected to remain with Ubisoft Singapore until the end of the year according to anonymous sources. Pellen returns to the Paris office with the title of "directeur editorial online" according to her LinkedIn profile.
To make matters more complicated for Skull and Bones, Ubisoft Singapore is also facing an organized labor campaign. Singapore's Creative Media and Publishing Union started its campaign following allegations of workplace harassment and unfair treatment at the studio - which, if successful, will improve working conditions which will ultimately benefit the game. In the meanwhile, it's a hurdle.
"A ballot exercise is being conducted this week among eligible team members in the studio to determine whether formal recognition should be granted," Ubisoft confirmed in a statement, resentment seething from in between the lines.
It adds, "Ubisoft believes in the importance of listening to our employees and fostering an open dialogue, and we believe that we have appropriate mechanisms and initiatives in place to continue creating a great workplace."
"Ubisoft Singapore was voted by employees as a Great Place to Work in 2022, and we will continue to engage with our team members to gather their feedback and work together to create a workplace where everyone can thrive."
It is unclear how much Pellen's departure and the labor campaign will affect the development of Skull and Bones given that the game has already entered closed beta. At this point, the delays have been the subject of gaming jokes and the appeal of the upcoming pirate sim has waned. Hopefully, Ubisoft launches a game that is worth the ten-year wait.
Skull and Bones still does not have a release date as of writing.