Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones Sails Full Speed Ahead Despite Challenging Development Cycle

Ubisoft, specifically Ubisoft Singapore, is finally ready to unveil its co-op open-world pirate action RPG Skull and Bones to the world after a challenging development cycle that saw the title get delayed multiple times. Ahead of the impending open-beta launch on February 8, the team is bracing for impact but is in high spirits, filled with pride and emotion about finally launching the game soon.

Taking multiple years of experience from co-developing several Assassin’s Creed titles, Ubisoft Singapore is bringing this new IP that would serve as the vessel for creating many exciting moments and memories for players.

Bringing the Pirate fantasy to life is never easy, but the developers feel that they have a good recipe brewing with Skull and Bones, which is only improving thanks to the feedback from multiple closed beta tests and the Ubisoft Insider program.

The team is dedicated to supporting this live-service game with new and free content that will continuously drop throughout the year, offering players something to look forward to and keeping them engaged. It’s a tough ask, especially since we’ve seen many titles come and go due to the recent deluge of live-service titles that have flooded the market. The live-service bubble may have burst, but living the pirate life could still be worth exploring if done right.

The team certainly thinks they’ve hit the right formula, as expressed by Ubisoft Singapore Managing Director Jean-Francois Vallee. This is the first AAA HD game led by a Southeast Asian studio, after all, and already a great achievement for everyone involved.

skull and bones post launch roadmap detailed

Set in the Indian Ocean during the time of the second golden age of piracy, the richness of Southeast Asian culture is front and center, and how fitting it is to have the likes of Ubisoft Philippines, among many more, offer their services for Skull and Bones as co-dev partners.

With freedom as one of its main pillars, Skull and Bones places open-world exploration at the forefront of it all, backed up by systems that offer diverse playstyles, pitting players against rival mega-corporations and a dynamic economy as they aim to build their pirate empire from their humble beginnings.

During a media event for Skull and Bones, Lead Level Artist Audrey Wong and Associate Audio Director Erik-Jon Evangelista discussed the challenges and accomplishments of the team as they looked ahead, anxious but equally excited for the release.

While Piracy, as a theme, is grounded in history, the team, along with Piracy Expert Bernerson Little, were quick to suggest that the game took creative liberties that allowed them to fulfill an exciting vision while staying grounded to a certain degree.

skull and bones panel discussion

Skull and Bones allows for a cultural fusion, a melting pot, if you will, for the many diverse cultures in the region that provide richness and life to a somewhat boring pirate lifestyle. Between spending days at sea and merrymaking at shore, a day in the life of a pirate was quite tame, Little says.

This fusion of cultures allows the Southeast Asian region, as a whole, to be represented in the game. This use of creative liberty extends well into even the iconic sea shanties that pirates would perform during travels. Employing the expertise of musician Sean Dahger, Skull and Bones would feature 30 sea shanties at launch, but more importantly, be translated into 4 different languages as well.

skull and bones sea shanties

Skull and Bones is certainly ambitious, aiming to offer 25+ hours just to complete the main campaign contracts. There will also be 40+ hours of additional side content and over 80 hours of endgame content available, with more on the way.

Players looking forward to the open beta can expect the following:

  • Cross-play and cross-progression support between PS5, Xbox Series, Ubisoft Connect, and Epic Games
  • Carry over progression to launch
  • Explore All Regions
  • Several in-game rewards such as the Basilisk I Culverin, Ship Cosmetics, “Cookie” the Pet Lemur, and a sign language emote
  • Dynamic event encounters with ghost ships, sea monsters, merchant convoys, and elite warships
skull and bones open beta features
Skull and Bones open beta will happen on February 8–11, with early access happening on February 13 for premium edition orders and officially launching on February 16.

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