Justin Farron, creative director at Ubisoft Singapore, reveals ‘Skull & Bones’ during the Ubisoft E3 conference at the Orpheum Theater on June 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Christian Petersen | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ubisoft Singapore officially launched its first major video game, Skull And Bones, for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC on Friday, ending an unusually long development saga that spanned more than a decade.

“This is the first time this type of game has been helmed by a studio from Singapore or Southeast Asia, so the atmosphere around achieving it is great,” Jean-Francois Vallée, managing director of Ubisoft Singapore, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday

The Singapore government has taken steps to strengthen the local gaming industry. Ubisoft Singapore received a grant from the Economic Development Board in 2016 to support the development of a “AAA” game title from the city-state.

The “AAA” game classification refers to titles that are produced and distributed by large, well-known publishers, who usually have high development and marketing budgets.

According to data collected by market research company YouGov in 2020, at least three-quarters of Singapore’s population play video or mobile games, jumping to 90% among 18- to 24-year-olds.

But for those gamers who have played Skull and Bones, the reviews so far have been mixed. Metacritica website that aggregates game reviews lists a critic rating of 64 out of 100 and a user rating of “Generally Unfavorable”.

However, Ubisoft’s Vallee said he was pleased with the game’s reception so far. He noted that millions of people signed up to play the game’s free open beta leading up to its official release.

“It meets my expectations and this is just the launch. So far players have been engaging with it, giving us feedback and we’ve already fixed a few bugs,” he said.

The “open-world co-op pirate action RPG” is priced at $60 for the standard version, with more updates and work planned for the game in the future.

But despite a reported $200 million development budget, the process hasn’t gone smoothly for the young game studio founded in 2008.

Ubisoft Singapore discusses Skull and Bones, its first major video game

The game was officially announced in 2017, although it was reportedly years in the making earlier, following the success of another Ubisoft pirate-themed game, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. But Skull and Bones suffered through a long string of launch delays and a full reboot starting in 2018.

According to a report from gaming website Kotaku in 2021, the game had at least three different creative directors during its development, with current and former Ubisoft developers telling the publication that Skull and Bones never had a clear creative vision and suffered from too many managers vying for power.

On Ubisoft’s earnings call earlier this month, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillaume defended the game’s price, saying that Skull and Bones is a “quad-level game” and expressing confidence that the game will “deliver long-term plan”.

The CEO’s previous statements were welcomed few reviews online by gamers and netizens disappointed with the final Skull and Bones product after the decade long wait.

Valle said on Monday that Skull and Bones will remain the main focus of Ubisoft Singapore for many years to come, but that the studio has “many other projects in the pipeline”.