What the heck is going on with Skull and Bones? Many have reasonably come to the conclusion Ubisoft’s pirate game will end up being vaporware, given its numerous delays and rumors of chaos behind the scenes at troubled developer Ubisoft Singapore. That said, more recently, we’ve heard rumors the game is actually shaping up well and even laid eyes on some leaked alpha footage that looked relatively promising. So, again, what the heck is the state of Skull and Bones?
Well, according to the frequently leaky Tom Henderson, Ubisoft is planning to re-reveal Skull and Bones the week of July 4th via a livestream featuring a trailer, gameplay, developer commentary, and more. It’s also expected we’ll get a release date. In a bit of further evidence something may be brewing, Skull and Bones has been rated by the Brazilian Advisory Board.
Of course, take all of this with a grain of salt for now, but Ubisoft does currently have Skull and Bones listed for a FY2023 release (which runs until March 31, 2023), so some sort of pending reveal would make sense.
For those who haven’t been keeping up with Skull and Bones, the game has reportedly gone through a number of design changes, but has apparently settled on an open-world crafting and naval combat focus with support for limited co-op play. Here’s how the recently-leaked alpha footage described the game…
Welcome to Skull & Bones, a world inspired by the Indian Ocean during the Golden Age of Piracy. You'll start your journey as an underdog whose goal is to become the most infamous pirate to sail these waters. Journey to the pirate den of Sainte-Anne located in the Red Isle.
This centre of pirate activity is where you can craft new ships and equipment, provision for your expedition at sea, pick up high-risk, high-reward contracts, and socialize with other players. As a pirate, your reputation is everything, and Skull & Bones tracks this through Infamy. The higher your Infamy, there more opportunities you'll unlock.
One of the many ways to grow your Infamy is to take up contracts. These are deals you can make with NPCs which can have great rewards if you're successful or penalties if you fail. Certain contracts can be shared, allowing you take them on in a group of up to three. You can also gain Infamy by completing other activities such as exploration, plundering, treasure hunts, big worlds events, and much more.
Any pirate worth their salt will tell you that preparation is key to successful expedition at sea, so always ensure that your ship's cargo is well stocked with rations, water, repair kits, and ammunition. At sea, you'll need to pay close attention to your ship's health and crew morale. You can recover health by using the repair kits in your cargo. Crew morale also depletes over time. Your crew will mutiny and take control of your ship if you do not give them food or drinks to restore morale.
You'll also be able to harvest a variety of raw materials such as ore, fiber, and wood. These can be refined in Sainte-Anne to produce crafting resources. Crafting is an essential activity for you to progress as an infamous pirate. Unlock blueprints and use your refined resources to craft stronger ships, weapons, and furniture. As a rookie pirate, you only have access to a small dhow, but as your Infamy rises, you'll be able to craft bigger and stronger ships, each with their own unique playstyle.
Skull and Bones has been announced for PC, Xbox One, and PS4, although the previously-mentioned Brazilian rating listed Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and Stadia, but not last-gen consoles, so things may have changed.