It’s been five years since Skull and Bones was first revealed and the wait is almost over. Inspired by the naval warfare of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Ubisoft’s latest sees players take to the seas in a new open-world adventure, refreshing these mechanics inside an original setting. However, it’s not been the smoothest ride for the French publisher, who’ve reportedly suffered major development issues along the way.
Thankfully, things appear to be back on track and a recent Ubisoft Forward presentation gave us a confirmed release date. Crucially, that also provided a fresh look at Skull and Bones’ gameplay, breaking down the progression system, ship and character customisation, crafting, the open-world systems it’ll use, and more.
We’ll get more into that shortly but for now, here’s everything we know about Skull and Bones.
Skull and Bones Release date
Ubisoft confirmed during the Ubisoft Forward presentation that Skull and Bones will launch on November 8, 2022. It’ll arrive on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC (via the Epic Games Store and Ubisoft Connect). If you’re a fan of cloud streaming, we’ve got excellent news, it’s coming to Google Stadia and Amazon Luna too.
Sadly, if you’re hoping for a PS4 or Xbox One release, you’re out of luck this time. Despite Ubisoft mostly sticking to cross-generation launches these last two years, Skull and Bones is skipping last-gen consoles. Back at E3 2017, Ubisoft had announced it was due to arrive on both consoles with a confirmed 2018 release window. Likely due to the protracted development cycle and delays, these last-gen plans have since been scrapped.
Skull and Bones Gameplay
Skull and Bones sees us playing as a pirate across the Indian Ocean. Having been shipwrecked, we’re now out to scout for resources, building up a low-tier ship to become the most feared swashbuckler across the seven seas. This starts by visiting Sainte-Anne, our pirate den and in-game hub, where we can meet other players, buy ship upgrades, and plenty more. Across this open world, we’ll be scouting for materials to craft equipment, alongside fighting AI pirates and fearsome animals, like sharks, for resources
You can play solo or team up with friends, but it’s worth noting that there’s no campaign in the traditional sense. This isn’t your standard story-driven adventure and as a live-service game, Ubisoft has a post-launch roadmap in mind for future updates, so you won’t hit credits after a “last” mission. You’ll find some story elements within, just don’t go into this expecting a full narrative experience.
Fittingly, Skull and Bones tracks progression through the Infamy system, presenting players with new opportunities as your reputation grows. This can be improved through hunts, raids, exploration, completing NPC contracts, and more. Those contracts often involve bounty hunting or finding treasures, which raises our infamy. Completing these also rewards us with blueprints, and that brings us onto our next point.
Crafting plays a key role in Skull and Bones. Here, players can create new weapons, fresh armour, upgrade your ship, or build entirely new vessels, providing you’ve got the right blueprint and materials. Obtaining the best ships doesn’t come easily, so be prepared to sink considerable time in here. So far, we’re aware of three ship types with different hull types for better customisation, and we could see more revealed later on.
First, there’s Cargo Ships. These let you carry considerably more loot but contain several drawbacks, like slower speeds and reduced firepower. Second is Navigation Ships, which prioritise manoeuvrability to become the fastest vessels going, making them great for scouting and retreating. Just be prepared for reduced loot space if this is your choice. Finally, Firepower Ships are for those looking more towards combat, loading up more guns than the other two. Basically, it’ll all come down to personal preference.
Skull and Bones Multiplayer
As mentioned before, Skull and Bones can be played alone but Ubisoft’s gearing up for a multiplayer experience too.
Using a shared open world, you can play alongside 20 additional players on your server. They can’t hurt you around Sainte-Anne since this is considered “safe waters”, but you can be targeted further out. Making matters worse, anyone carrying significant loot will be classed as a high value target, which is visible to other players. Furthermore, contracts can be carried out with friends, letting you team up in exchange for splitting the earnings.
Or… if you’re after a more competitive touch, you can compete against five players in Disputed Waters. This is a PvP mode where you’ll fight each other’s ships to the death, stealing the loser’s treasure. It’s reminiscent of what Skull and Bones originally promised when Ubisoft first revealed the game. While this aspect has been changed over development, there’s still plenty here that you can do with others.
Skull and Bones Trailer
Ubisoft’s released several for Skull and Bones trailers and videos previously back in 2018. However, thanks to significant changes made during the game’s development, those are largely irrelevant at this stage. Sure, the game still retains that basic premise but if you’re looking to get a good look at this, all you need to worry about is the Ubisoft Forward presentation. This took place on July 7, 2022, giving us a fresh look at Skull and Bones’ gameplay systems.
If you’re curious to learn more, you can watch this in action below:
Skull and Bones System Requirements
Naturally, anyone playing Skull and Bones on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Google Stadia or Amazon Luna won’t need to worry about system requirements. However, if you’re on PC and hoping to learn what setup is needed, we’ve got bad news: Ubisoft hasn’t formally confirmed the Skull and Bones system requirements, not just yet.
Considering it’s only running natively on new-gen consoles, we’d expect you’ll need a mid-range setup to hit Skull and Bones minimum requirements. Admittedly, that’s speculative but given the November launch, we can’t imagine Ubisoft won’t release these details soon. We’ll keep this updated as we learn more.