Skull and Bones release date, leaks, gameplay & more
Update: As of the 12th of January, 2023, Skull and Bones has been delayed for the sixth time, and on this occassion, no specific date was given to pinpoint its launch, only a window of ‘2023 – 2024’.
For a while, it seemed like Ubisoft’s pirate adventure, Skull and Bones, would never launch. This open-world, open-sea epic first surfaced in 2017, but since then, developer Ubisoft has delayed the title, pushing it back on several occasions. As fans became increasingly disappointed by the constant delays, it seemed like Ubisoft would abandon the project entirely. Then, just as all seemed lost, Ubisoft poured out information on Skull and Bones, giving the game a release date, a new trailer, and something of an overhaul.
Sadly, following the information drop, Skull and Bones was delayed again, being pushed back to March 9th, 2023 (but now, another delay has kicked the window to 2023 – 2024). This marks the fifth time that the project has been delayed since being announced. While we thought for sure that the slew of information made available regarding Skull and Bones was a clear-cut sign of its impending release, it seems as though it wasn’t enough, and fans, once again, will need to wait a little longer.
Get Ready To Set Sail
Skull and Bones is an open-world, ocean-faring adventure based on the naval combat witnessed in 2013’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. From the most recent trailers, Assassin’s Creed fans will be able to identify the similarities between the two titles, but Ubisoft is promising a much more standalone title in Skull and Bones. On March 23rd, 2023 (now delayed until up to 2024), when Skull and Bones should launch, it’ll deliver an open-world PvPvE experience that’s rich with customisation options.
At the core of the Skull and Bones project is an online multiplayer mode that’ll see ten pirates split into two teams of five, hellbent on dominating the open sea. Each pirate captain – the player – will have the ability to customise a ship with ‘near endless’ options. However, according to early gameplay insights, when a player is exploring the open ocean, they’ll do so entirely from the helm of the ship, and they won’t be able to wander around their vessel.
While there are land-based areas to explore, combat is restricted exclusively – at the moment – to the ships.
Ubisoft has explained that Skull and Bones can be played solo, but it’ll make for a much tougher experience overall. Ultimately, the goal is to start at the bottom of the ladder with an entry-level sloop, and then work your way up to the most well-armed and armoured galleons. On the way, players will unlock cosmetics, complete challenges, engage in PvP and PvE fights, engage in world events, and take on special missions either alone or with friends.
Will Skull And Bones Be Free?
There are no signs that Skull and Bones will be a free-to-play game at launch. In recent years, we’ve seen paid games become free-to-play later, such as Destiny and PUBG, but at present, there’s no indication that Skull and Bones will follow suit. Ubisoft has promised a long-life, live-service adventure in Skull and Bones, introducing a lengthy roadmap to the game ahead of launch. It can be compared to Sea of Thieves, another open-world pirating title that has existed since 2018 and is constantly being updated with fresh content.
There are expectations that Skull and Bones will feature microtransactions. These have been a relatively consistent presence in some of Ubisoft’s games for several years, usually taking the form of tokens that can be bought in order to purchase items from in-game stores. While these features are typically reserved for Ubisoft’s flagship franchise, Assassin’s Creed, they are also a feature in the firm’s competitive titles, like Rainbow Six Siege. As Skull and Bones is a crossover of sorts, it’ll almost certainly feature a store stocked with skins, boosts, and other cosmetics.
Is Skull And Bones Crossplay?
Fortunately for cross-platform friends, Ubisoft has confirmed that Skull and Bones boasts full crossplay compatibility. This transcends cross-generational play, and it means that players on Xbox will be able to do battle against PlayStation players, and PC pirates will be able to fight against those playing on Google Stadia. Furthermore, Skull and Bones will have cross-progression support, meaning that your account is the important thing, not the platform that you’re playing on.
So, if you own Skull and Bones on both PC and PS5, you can use the same account across both formats.
Will Skull and Bones Have A Campaign?
Despite having the ability to play solo, there’s no real campaign in Skull and Bones. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s a Sea of Thieves-style game that promotes open-world exploration and combat, but there’s no linear story to follow. There will be world events popping up, special missions to undertake, collectables to unlock, and fights to be had, but there’s no campaign to follow in Skull and Bones.
However, it’s worth mentioning that the draw for Skull and Bones is multiplayer combat. While we’re not expecting any Skull and Bones esports tournaments to surface anytime soon, it’s a relatively innovative and refreshing introduction to the competitive scene. It’ll make a change for players that love PvP but might be a little bored with the traditional run-and-gun games.
Photo credits: Ubisoft Entertainment SA