Ubisoft's mega-delayed Skull And Bones relaunches with a November release date
The pirate MMO sets sail for fun
It's fair to say that Skull And Bones has had a somewhat troubled development. Ubisoft's pirate-themed live service MMO has been knocking around for almost a decade, having been overhauled a couple of times since it started life as a DLC for Asassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. But at a stream tonight it was revealed that Skull And Bones still exists, and not only that, but it has a release date of November 8th, 2022. Still a few months left to delay it again if necessary, but fingers crossed.
We got a look at some gameplay plus some dev chat to explain things. Spoilers for the combat, but remember naval battles in Assassin's Creed? Yeah, still kinda like that. You can see a fuller rundown of the features of Skull And Bones in my write up. Given that there's only one comparable pirate live service game out there right now, you won't be surprised to hear that I think it looks quite a lot like Sea Of Thieves. It has the taking of contracts and the sinking of ships, the hub areas (here called pirate Dens) and the character customisation.
Skull And Bones, however, is going for something more gritty and darker than Rare's very successful pirate romp. Although you'll still find some surreal upside-down islands here and there in Skull And Bones, mostly things are grim. Almost everyone is out to get you, from other players, to NPC pirate hunters and trading companies, random crocodiles, the weather, and even your own crew, who have the capacity to mutiny if you're not a nice enough manager. Dunno if pirates have an HR department, but I'm sure a group of players will get together to RP one soon enough.
It is your job to start from the bottom (a survivor of a shipwreck on a tiny boat) and claw your way up to here (the most famous pirate ever) by taking on contracts and generally being a good buccaneer. This progression is governed by gaining Infamy, and the more you have the more blueprints you can unlock to craft cooler weapons, armour and ships. The whole system is more complicated than Sea Of Thieves, with lots of resource gathering and crafting, but you can of course play it all in co-op with your pals.
What do you reckon? Worth the wait? I think Skull And Bones has a good USP, but it might be a bit busy for my tastes. Watch out for it on November 8th this year, if the weather holds.