Skull and Bones – that elusive pirate sailing game from Ubisoft that you'll remember made a big splash (sorry) at E3 2017 – is finally starting to take shape, and the developer/publisher of the game has said that the game will get fresh new content over the coming months and “many years to come.”
The core gameplay loop in Skull and Bones, as we've seen in new trailers and videos released by Ubisoft today, will see you sailing the Indian Ocean, raiding and pillaging in order to grow your crew, build bigger and better boats, and put a sizeable dent in the trading routes and Privateer vessels that think they're the rulers of the water.
Though the game can be played solo, the Ubisoft team sees it more as a "live multiplayer" experience – and that seems to be shaping how the developer will approach post-launch content. In a media briefing, quest director Terry Han noted that Skull and Bones will see "in-game events [like] bigger, deadlier challenges, cosmetics and more" come after launch, and will be free for all players."
Han said Ubisoft plans to release content that is free to all players for “many years to come”.
We were shown footage of multiple players raiding settlements and forts – end game-style challenges that will take organisation, planning, and good ships and gear in order to overcome.
Given that there will be an opt-in PvP server in the game, it also stands to reason that more gear and tools will be added to the game over time. Is Ubisoft taking aim at the likes of Sea of Theives, the only other notable multiplayer pirate game out there? Possibly. Han said Ubisoft is aiming to be the "best open world pirate experience" – and, to my ears, there's only one other game it could be seeking to clip the sails of.
Given that Sea of Theives has attracted over 25 million players in its lifetime, Skull and Bones has a big battle on its hands if it wants to take the crown in this very specific genre. Sea of Thieves may have its troubles, sbut it's still a wildly popular game by all accounts.
There's been enough time spent on the whole thing, after all: the title was originally supposed to launch in 2018, before being delayed into 2019. Then, the game was delayed a second time into Ubisoft's 2020/2021 fiscal year. Since its announcement, alongside the delays, it was revealed the game had undergone a reboot.
Skull and Bones will launch on November 8, 2022. It will come to PC, PS5, Stadia, and Xbox Series X/S.