Ubisoft has confirmed that Skull & Bones, their long-in-development open world pirate ’em up, will release on 8th November 2022 across PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Google Stadia and Amazon Luna. This came as part of a gameplay reveal for the title and some behind the scenes dev talk about its development, which you can watch here:
Set in the vast expanse of water from the coasts of Africa to the tropical East Indies, you’ll venture out as a fresh outcast taking to the waves on your small Dhow and basic spear for fishing, looking to build up your gear and skill to become an infamous pirate. On the way you’ll assemble a fleet of your own, gathering resources, crafting tools and weapons and building your ships to strengthen your position. As your infamy grows you’ll be able to take on bigger and more challenging contracts from other pirates.
The game is set on the open seas and you can meet up with other players, taking on jobs in co-op similar in some ways to Sea of Thieves, but the game also includes PvP. You’ll need to opt into PvP servers, so you won’t have to constantly watch your own backs. You will have to keep an eye on your ship’s crew, though. If your ship’s condition falls too low, and you don’t have enough provisions for food and drink, the crew might mutiny. Not only that, but privateers are pirate hunting experts that will want to take you down.
If your ship is sunk? Well, you’ll respawn at the nearest outpost, but you’ll then want to race back to where you were felled to try and quickly snag your cargo. You’ll have plenty of different ship types to choose from, from cargo ships to bruising ships that bristle with cannons and heavy armour.
You can build up to attacking forts and settlements, as well as diving into live dynamic world events with high rewards for facing off against high-stakes enemy fleets. You’ll probably want to bring some friends along with you for something like that.
Expect all of this to change and grow over time. Skull & Bones will be a live service game with seasonal content that will add new stories and challenges to the game, free for all players. One neat perk is that there’s full cross-play, which will ensure that the game’s servers are a bustling hive of scum and villainy, and there’s also cross-progression, in case you’re ever bouncing between consoles or services – A Ubisoft+ subscription will net you access across PC, Stadia and Luna.
Announced way back in 2017, Skull and Bones has been through some fairly choppy waters and repeatedly delayed from one year to the next. It’s felt almost impossible that this game would see the light of day, at times, but here we are. Originally billed as a multiplayer game inspired by AC: Black Flag’s naval warfare, it’s grown and evolved into something much bigger.
This announcement is one of the cornerstones of Ubisoft’s summer, with their Ubisoft Forward stream skipping out on the Summer Game Fest and “Not-E3” window. Instead, Ubisoft has had separate streams and announcements for specific games, including Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope and no Skull & Bones. We’ll have to wait until September for the next Assassin’s Creed to be announced, and we might expect Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora at that point as well.