A tutorial video from a Skull and Bones technical test build has leaked online providing some details for the long-awaited pirate adventure.
Going by the leaked footage posted to Reddit, it appears you will start the game off at a pirate den located on an island. Here is where you can eventually craft new ships and equipment. You can also get provisions for your expeditions at sea, pick up contracts, and socialize with other players.
Throughout the game, you will earn a reputation that is tracked through infamy. The higher your infamy, the more opportunities you will unlock. You can grow your infamy by taking “high risk, high reward” contracts which are deals you make with NPCs in the world. If successful, you will be rewarded. If you fail, there will be penalties. Certain contracts can even be shared with a group of up to three. Other activities such as exploration, plundering, treasure hunts, world events, and more will also add to your infamy.
Before setting sail on the high seas, you will need to make sure your ship is stocked. The most important items are rations, water, ammunition, and repair kits. Before venturing out, you will also want to make sure you look like a pirate. To customize your look, you can visit the atelier to spruce yourself up.
You will start the game off as a rookie pirate, and your starter ship will be a small lateen-rigged ship with one mast. But, as your infamy increases, you’ll be able to craft larger and stronger ships, each with its own unique playstyle. Ships also have loadouts you can change based on playstyle and objectives.
The crew and your ship will need looking after, so you will need to pay attention to your ship’s health and crew morale. For the ship, this is where repair kits will come in handy. With the crew, morale will deplete over time, so you will need to provide them with food or drinks to increase it. Should morale reach a certain low, the crew will mutiny and take control of the ship.
While out at sea, should a catastrophe occur and your ship sink, you will respawn at the closest discovered den or outpost. Most of your cargo can be recovered, and you can pick up the rest from the wreckage of your ship. When it comes to the latter, you will need to hurry as other players can steal cargo from the wreckage.
There are resources you can gather from animals and islands. Animals will provide you with meat and skins, and islands will provide you with items such as ore, fiber, and wood which can be refined into a crafting resource. With crafting, you can unlock blueprints and use your refined resources to make furniture, stronger ships, and weapons which can come with a range of perks.
When sailing around the ocean, you will want to use your spyglass to find trading routes or other ships you can plunder for cargo and firepower. If you sink a ship a bit far from your own, you will only gain a small amount of cargo because some of it will get lost in the water. Getting in close and boarding the ship will maximize your gains. Just be careful out there, because the same fate can befall you should you attract the attention of another player or privateers.
The tutorial video notes that while the game can be soloed, you will probably enjoy it more playing with friends. You can join up with others using the spyglass, and once you do, the ability to synergize playstyles, ships, and weapons will become available. Plus, playing with others will also make it easier to defeat the more deadly enemies traveling the ocean.
In the game, you can also attack forts, plunder settlements, and even participate in world events.
Last month, Ubisoft launched the Skull and Bones Insider Program which allows testers to play early versions of the game in real conditions. Those in the program will be playing current work-in-progress builds and assisting the development team by reporting issues, bugs, and general feedback.
Whether the footage that leaked today was posted by someone in the Insider Program is not known, but it appears likely.
Announced at E3 2017, Skull and Bones has been in development since 2013 and started as an offshoot of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. Instead of being released as a post-launch update, the project became its own title and went into development at Ubisoft Singapore.
Initially announced as a cooperative multiplayer title with PvP and environmental factors to contend with, the game, which has since been rebooted, was slated to be released in 2018 before being delayed into 2019. In May of that year, the game was once again delayed into Ubisoft’s 2020/2021 fiscal year. It is now expected to arrive sometime between now and March 2023.