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An (old) pirate's life for me.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

February 26, 2024

1 Min Read
Edward Kenway+crew in key art for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.
Image via Ubisoft.

At a Glance

  • Assassin's Creed IV's growing resurgence underlines how some live-service games have fallen out of favor with players.

The recent release of Skull & Bones has resulted in PC players setting sail for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

Per PCGamesN, player count for the 2013 pirate game has recently grown to nearly 3,600 concurrent players at time of writing. Since 2020, years, its peak idled at (or over) 1,000 players.

While it's nowhere near the over-16,000 peak of its launch a decade ago, it does show how much players yearn for the same swashbuckling high Black Flag first delivered in 2013.

PC-wise, Skull & Bones is only available via Ubisoft or the Epic Games Store. But the game's received a mixed reaction thus far, not helped by a long (and openly troubled) development cycle.

A similar event is occurring with Batman: Arkham Knight. After Suicide Squad came out in early February, Rocksteady's 2015 game has hit a peak of over 6,700 players on Steam.

Like with Skull & Bones, Suicide Squad had a tumultuous development. Last week, WB revealed the co-op game underperformed, though it offered no further information beyond that.

This isn't the first time older games have suddenly gotten a popularity surge. But both titles show how players have become so soured on live-service games, they're flocking to a studio's single-player back catalog.

In the case of Assassin's Creed IV, it's made more interesting by the rumors of Ubisoft working on a remake for the beloved title.

Whether or not that ends up true, Black Flag has clearly done something right if players are coming back after all this time.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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