It often feels like there are a few games that occupy the weird space of showing up every few years, only to slowly fade as development takes priority. One such game is Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones, originally touted as a fully-realized pirate adventure built off of the foundations found in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’s excellent sailing.
Its taken on something of a different form since its inception, drawing comparisons to Sea of Thieves and other live service games of our time. Ubisoft detailed many of its gameplay mechanics and systems, the idea of solo and cooperative play, and post launch support in the form of free content.
Courtesy of Ubisoft, we were lucky enough to get a behind the scenes preview of what Skull and Bones actually is, so here’s everything you need to know about Ubisoft’s brand new live service pirating adventure.
When’s It Out?
Skull and Bones launches on November 8th, 2022, with post launch content to come in the years following release. It’s launching on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Become A Pirate Legend
At its core, Skull and Bones is about becoming the most infamous and feared pirate in the lands. After suffering from a shipwreck, your pirate is left with next to nothing – only the bare necessities to weather the harsh wildlife native to the many explorable islands.
As you gather supples, you’ll take on jobs from the numerous Pirate Dens, gaining Infamy and rewards, leading to Deadlier jobs that yield even more Infamy and supplies.
As you grow in notoriety and complete Contracts, you’ll be able to craft more Gear for your pirate, ship, and crew as you build up a fleet to set out across the oceans with. Ubisoft mentioned they’re aiming for a dark and gritty tone to capture the dangerous and risky elements of golden age piracy.
Build The Perfect Ship
Ubisoft made sure to point out that naval combat is at the core of the experience for Skull and Bones. Self described as fast paced and visceral, Skull and Bones is looking to provide best-in-class ship combat alongside the ability to customise and deck out your ships as you see fit.
Different ships serve different purposes, the cargo ship for example is heavy and slow to navigate, but can carry more loot and supplies as a trade-off, where navigational ships move much faster at the cost of durability and cargo capacity. This is all coupled with the ability to equip ships with countless weapons and armor types with their own strengths and weaknesses. These considerations need to made carefully when you undertake a contract, as you’ll have to survive the danger of the seas.
There’s more to it than just building the right ship, though, as Skull and Bonss places an emphasis on the morale of your ship’s crew. If they aren’t looked after and fed properly they can and will mutiny against you.
A World Of Pirates
Skull and Bones is first and foremost a living multiplayer game. When players hop into a server, they can opt to engage with PVP or keep it strictly PVE. While everything can be completed solo, Ubisoft stressed that the game is intended to be played with friends.
You can undertake Contracts with your friends or other pirates you run into while exploring, PVP with other players, and engage in what Ubisoft called Dynamic Events where players can join forces to take down large fleets, plunder strongholds, and more. There’s also extreme weather events like storms and monster waves to contend with as you explore, alongside the ever present pirate-hunting Privateers.
While PVP is usually a high risk, high reward engagement, if you do sink – not all is lost. A portion of your cargo will always be returned to the Pirate Den you respawn at, and you can recover the rest of it if you’re quick enough to get back to the site. This is all in the effort to create a living, breathing pirate world that’s thrilling yet dangerous to explore.
Create A Pirate
To give your pirate a unique identity among the rest, you can customise them with outfits and accessories that you’ll unlock as you move up the ranks. Additionally, you can also customise how your ship looks, allowing you to plunder in style as you engage in various pirate activities.
While there’s still much to learn in the lead up to launch in November, Skull and Bones is looking scratch a similar itch that Sea of Thieves does, especially for those who want a more grounded swashbuckling experience. If that seems like something that’s up your alley, keep an eye out for more news over the coming months as we move closer to launch.