'Skull & Bones' Is Ubisoft's Multiplayer Pirate Adventure Featuring An Open World, Naval Combat

Setting sail on the Indian Ocean, customizing different types of ships, and hunting down riches are the focus of Ubisoft's upcoming multiplayer title Skull & Bones. Grouping up with allies or betraying them is possible in a game where piracy is the foundation of gameplay. Whether players move to participate in PvE or PvP, Skull & Bones appears to offer both.

The living world of Skull & Bones is designed to be impacted by what players do in the shared space. Attacking merchants and defeating others will change the world around players to consistently offer challenges to them. Disrupting trade routes will cause the world to evolve for players in different ways.

During Ubisoft's E3 conference this year, the new IP was announced with a tentative release date in the fall of 2018. Players begin in Skull & Bones as a new pirate captain in the 1700s. As time progresses and players takes down convoys and other opponents, new ships and customization options will open up to them. Although there are targets for solo players, a few more friends will be required to hunt down major adversaries. According to the Ubisoft Blog, players can betray each other after they defeat a convoy, but this action will make them a target.

Skull & Bones naval combat in an open world
Different ships excel at different roles in combat [Image by Ubisoft]

For players that seek out confrontation, PvP modes and matches are included in Skull & Bones. The gameplay shown today at E3 2017 featured the Loot Hunt mode, a mode in which five players fight another team of five to collect the most loot. NPC ships carrying loot are the target of both teams. They must deal with each other while attempting to sink the NPC ships to pick up the spoils. The team that collects the most loot is deemed the winner, and at that point, powerful NPC pirate hunters will arrive to attack the winner. That team will need to flee in order to save their loot.

"This mode sets two teams loose in an area known to be traversed by merchants to see who can get away with the most loot. 'Get away' being the operative word here, because once you've plundered a certain amount of riches, a fleet of deadly pirate hunters arrives on the scene and if you can't escape through the narrow reef passage in time, your winnings may end up at the bottom of the sea."
As noted on the official game website, players in Skull & Bones will also be able to sail to Disputed Waters where more game modes are available. The page includes a few more details on the game as well as a way to sign up for potential beta testing of the online open world title. Videos and screenshots are also included here for players looking for more information on the game.

Skull & Bones information from E3 2017
Players can customize the appearance of their ships [Image by Ubisoft]

Although the E3 2017 presentation featured PvP, the game will also feature PvE. Pirate captains each have their own ship with opportunities to select other ships from their burgeoning fleet as stated on another Ubisoft Blog post. Each ship provides a different role in team play or in solo play. The Frigate fills the traditional tank role by soaking up damage while the Brigantine is equipped with a ram dealing damage and priming an opposing ship for boarding. There is even a Sloop-of-war that engages at a distance dealing massive damage with speed and accuracy. Players have a variety of weapons to use against their targets, too.

"Your ship's arsenal is where customization takes a strategic turn as you decide what your combat tactics will be and plan your loadout accordingly. Figuring out ways to improve your firepower is one of the many undertakings you'll find in the open-world sandbox of Skull & Bones, an area which will present both PvE and PvP opportunities for enterprising pirates."

Of course, how players sail their ships and attack with them is paramount in Skull & Bones. Wind can turn the tide of combat, sail positions can be altered for different situations, and a crew can brace for impact. Enemy ships can even be boarded to repair the player's ship in the heat of battle. The boarding shown in the E3 2017 video was simply a brief cutscene, and it is unknown if boarding combat or ground combat will be included in Skull & Bones at this time.

[Featured Image by Ubisoft]