Ubisoft is reportedly working on an Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag Remake

Ubisoft is reportedly developing a remake of 2013’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. However, it's apparently in its early stages and won’t be complete for a few years.

According to Kotaku, a team at Ubisoft Singapore is heavily involved in the remake’s development. The Singapore studio is also helping out with evolving Assassin’s Creed’s ocean technology as it is currently working on Skull and Bones.

In an internal email viewed by Kotaku, the Singapore studio is reportedly forcing its developers to work on Skull and Bones in person at the office instead of remotely. While the studio is seemingly providing breakfast and dinner, it looks like the move is to pressure its developers to work longer hours in order to ship the closed beta that’s due in late August.

The team working on Skull and Bones also reportedly discussed if it was possible to pivot Skull and Bones into a game that’s more like Black Flag. That'd potentially mean adding elements of co-op exploration and hand-to-hand combat instead of just resource-gathering mechanics and PvP naval battles.

Is Skull and Bones evolving?

Skull and Bones was first revealed in 2017, but has been delayed many times over the past few years. It was supposed to be released in November 2022 but was pushed back to March 2023. Now, it has an unspecified release window during the 2023-2024 fiscal year. At the Ubisoft Forward 2023 showcase, Ubisoft provided a live sea shanty performance and announced the Skull and Bones closed beta period for August 25-28.

Ubisoft confirmed that it would be doubling down on its blockbuster franchises recently, so it’s unsurprising that it would focus on Assassin’s Creed.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was first released in 2013. In IGN’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag review, we said, "The amazing world of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag has kept me gladly occupied for longer than any other game in the series, even though its story isn’t the strongest. At no point in my dozens of hours was I ever at a loss for something to do.”

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum dev pulling out of making new games after The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

As reported by German outlet Games Wirtschaft, Hamburg-based Lord of the Rings: Gollum developer Daedalic Entertainment is ending its internal development efforts to focus on its publishing business and reportedly laying off nearly a third of its staff, 25 of 90 employees.

Daedalic told Games Wirtschaft (translated via Google) that the move was a "difficult turning point" but also potentially "a new beginning in the long history of Daedalic Entertainment."

Daedalic's development work goes back much further than Gollum. The company created the Deponia series back in 2012 (the upcoming Surviving Deponia is being handled by developer AtomicTorch), and we loved its adaptation of The Pillars of the Earth as a point-and-click adventure in 2018. Last month's LotR: Gollum, though, had a cataclysmic launch.

Our 64% review was one of its more generous critiques, and Dominic Tarason judged that it "straddles two action genres, and neither holds up to scrutiny." Even in our previews, we just wondered how you make a fun or worthwhile game about an awful little grubby man who roots around in the dirt, collects hair, and everyone hates him. By the way, it's a prequel with a preordained ending so none of this matters.

The result for Daedalic's dev staff feels so sour and pointless though. While that team ultimately created a bad triple-A stealth platformer, it seems like such a waste of the talent. Why try and fit the square peg of your "charming 2D adventure game" development house into the round hole of "let's make a 2012-core action platformer about the Jar-Jar Binks of Middle Earth?" Now 25 people (so far) have lost their jobs and we're left with Gollum.

Moving forward, Daedalic will focus exclusively on its publishing business, which has helped create such indie favorites as Inkulinati and Unrailed. The game itself will apparently receive at least one more patch from Daedalic, but like with Redfall, it's not clear how much patching and bugfixes can address its core failings.

Gollum himself gets to live another day then, presumably to continue scurrying under refrigerators and biting the heads off raw fish. Hope you're pleased with yourself, you nearly-naked little freak.

Our favorite extraction shooter just got an update that adds its greatest enemy yet: rain

Hunt: Showdown's latest event, Tide of Shadows, marks the first time in two years that a new boss has entered the bayou: the Rotjaw, a snarling alligator that "defies the physiology of any known aquatic reptile," according to Crytek's in-lore patch notes, and stalks knee-deep bogs waiting for its next meal. Rotjaw is Hunt's first outdoor boss, and she apparently only appears in nighttime conditions or in rain.

That's right, Hunt has rain now, and it's arguably a bigger threat than some slimy swamp lizard. For one, you can't escape the rain. It's pouring from minute one of the match and never lets up. The constant (and somewhat relaxing) pattering has an instantly noticeable effect on Hunt's stealth and combat dynamics, which typically rely on keen ears to pick up audio cues. Footsteps are louder with everyone trudging through mud, which can be helpful but also makes sprinting riskier.

Rain's biggest effects aren't felt until partway through the match, when the storm graduates from steady showers to torrential downpour (you can listen to it here). Vision becomes a problem as fog and globby drops disrupt sightlines. Water drains off rooftops by the gallon, which doesn't affect gameplay but just looks really nice. During heavy rain, sound essentially becomes a non-factor.

The only thing you're likely to hear over mother nature's awesome wrath is gunshots. "Stealth" takes on a different meaning when you can get away with stuff that's usually a death sentence—in the few matches I played today, hunters used the cover of the storm to rush into fights.

At one point in the thick of the rain, I walked up to a dead teammate and started a noisy revive. An enemy walked into frame a few meters away and I was sure he'd heard me, but he had his back turned, none the wiser.

The rain condition joins a growing list of fun Hunt map modifiers that I wish Crytek would keep in the game. Last year, Crytek introduced "wildcard" map variants like a full moon nighttime that gives every map a spooky twilight feel and the "Inferno" variant that sets the map on fire. These were both great, but like the rain wildcard, they were only available during two-month events like Tide of Shadows (and then occasionally brought back on random weekends).

More ways to experience Hunt's limited three-map pool seems like such a big win for the game that it'd be worth making permanent, but I also understand that having exclusive features during events makes them feel more special, and probably builds buzz that translates to more battle pass purchases.

Speaking of, free on the pass this season are a handful of new guns, including two new wild rifle/shotgun combo guns: the three-barrel medium ammo Driller and a long ammo pistol built to challenge the dominant Uppercut, the UpperMat. I tried both of them out briefly and, while I'm yet sure when it'd be smart to drop 500 Hunt Dollars on a medium ammo rifle, the UpperMat proved instantly deadly in an 8-kill server wipe.

Tide of Shadows is shaping up to be the biggest Hunt update of the year, if not because of the new boss, then because of the significant changes to how its premium currency, Blood Bonds, can be used. You can read up on those changes, and a bunch of other balancing tweaks, in the full patch notes. Tide of Shadows is live until August 23.

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