Skull and Bones release date, trailers, beta, gameplay, and news

When is the Skull and Bones release date? We’ve lost count of how many times the pirate game has been pushed back, but we’re not worried – despite a fairly cynical opinion across the board, what we’ve seen of Skull and Bones so far has given us more than a few reasons to be optimistic for the current release date.

With Skull and Bones now years in the making, we are holding out hope for a more fine-tuned adventure and a worthy contender among the best pirate games. While the game has been delayed multiple times, the Skull and Bones release date has now been confirmed in a trailer released during The Game Awards. We’ve plundered the murky depths of Davy Jones’s locker to bring you the latest Skull and Bones news, Skull and Bones ship customization, and everything else you need to know about this upcoming nautical adventure.

Skull and Bones release date

The Skull and Bones release date is February 16, 2024. This was confirmed at the end of the Skull and Bones release date trailer, revealed during The Game Awards 2023. It will be available on PC via Ubisoft Connect and the Epic Games Store, as well as on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Amazon Luna.

We already anticipated that the Skull and Bone release date would fall by the end of March 2024, based on a fiscal quarter one estimate from a Ubisoft earnings report. Ubisoft also launched a closed beta test for Skull and Bones on August 25, and the development team needs time to implement any changes prior to release.

Given that Skull and Bones was originally slated for release on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 in 2018, it’s not been the easiest of seas for Ubisoft on this pirate adventure. It was also slated to arrive on Google Stadia, though the service shut down in January 2023.

Skull and Bones release date: an intricately decorated pirate ship sails towards us, showing off custom flags, spiked armour, and a mystical figurehead

Skull and Bones delays

There have been six key delays to Skull and Bones since it was first announced in 2017. The first delay came in 2018 with a development reboot that pushed the release window into 2019. The second delay push Skull and Bones into 2020, and the third into 2021. The fourth delay pushed the release date to November 8, 2020, but it was delayed again shortly after to March 9, 2023.

The last Skull and Bones delay took place earlier this year in January 2023, when it was revealed Ubisoft is targeting a fiscal 2023-2024 release. Hopefully, the Skull and Bones release date trailer reveal spells the end of any further delays for the troubled development.

Skull and Bones closed beta

The latest Skull and Bones closed beta finished on December 18, 2023, and there is not likely to be another between now and the release date. That said, if another beta is announced, we’ll tell you about it here.

The first closed beta took place on August 25-28, 2023. According to Ubisoft, 238,201 deals were struck with deadly pirates over the course of the test and 758,424 ships were sunk. 810 people were eaten by sea monsters and 549,348 naval battles were wagered. Those are impressive stats for the first closed test – something Ubisoft says it will learn from in development.

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Skull and Bones trailers

The official Ubisoft YouTube channel now features a selection of Skull and Bones trailers to keep the anticipation as high as the seas, and each shows off spectacular scenery, alongside customization options, combat features, and crazy explosives. The seven-minute Skull and Bones gameplay overview gives you a more detailed idea of the story and surroundings, from your humble beginnings as a shipwreck survivor on Sainte-Anne, through your rise to an infamous pirate with a fleet of your own ships.

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Skull and Bones gameplay

A Skull and Bones gameplay deep dive was released during The Game Awards 2023, which delved into the Skull and Bones story, world, and mechanics. Our journey to pirate infamy begins with a crushing defeat against an enemy fleet, which leaves you and your crew shipwrecked. With the help of your first mate, Azna, you must fashion yourself a skiff to get you back to civilization, then rebuild your reputation as a fierce pirate captain.

Our latest look at Skull and Bones confirms that the core of Ubisoft’s sail ’em up is largely unchanged. It’s still a multiplayer, open-world game with naval battles at its core. The combat still resembles Black Flag, albeit with some more exotic weapons and tools. Almost all of the action takes place from the captain’s perspective, so while you can leave the helm to explore hideouts and outposts, whenever you’re sailing around you’re effectively playing as the ship – you can’t get up and explore the rest of the ship, nor can you take part in island raids.

Skull and Bones release date: The ghost ship that roams the open ocean in Skull and Bones, which players can defeat for loot and infamy.

There’s plenty of scope for ship customization, too. You can pick between a variety of Skull and Bones ship types which each boast unique strengths and weaknesses. Some will offer greater agility, but you won’t be able to equip as many weapons or take very much damage, while others will let you lumber around the Indian Ocean carrying tons of guns and plunder, but you might make yourself a bit of a sitting duck for more balanced vessels. Beyond ship types and weaponry, you can also tune your ship’s armor as well as plenty of cosmetic features.

The main aim of the game is to become the most infamous pirate on the Indian Ocean, working your way up from having a tiny one-person vessel to a fleet of warships. To do that you’ll need to complete contracts, hunt treasure, and claim bounties to boost your infamy level. Curiously, there’s also a crafting component to Skull and Bones, and it appears that you’ll need to regularly head out in search of rare materials, animal skins, and other commodities that you can either trade or use to upgrade your vessel.

However, Skull and Bones isn’t just rooted in the realism of maintaining a pirate ship. Ghost ships and fantastical sea beasts roam the open waters, and it’ll take a full crew and heavy cannons to live the tell the tale. However, if you do survive these supernatural encounters, you can expect your infamy as a legendary captain to grow exponentially.

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Skull and Bones multiplayer

While you can play any of the activities solo, Skull and Bones is a multiplayer game first and foremost. All activities can be completed alongside other players, and the open world is full of player-controlled pirates on the hunt for fame and plunder.

However, that doesn’t mean you’re always at risk of being sunk. You also can’t just start firing on other pirates willy-nilly. Instead, you can initiate PvP activities like retrieving treasure maps, which prompts your rivals to descend in hot pursuit to claim the loot for themselves. There are optional PvP servers for those who prefer a little more risk, while alternative PvE servers offer a reprieve from player assaults. Of course, you can also invite friends and people you meet to join your party and set sail side by side.

There’s still plenty to be revealed between now and the Skull and Bones release date, but the main thing to know is, yes, it’s still coming. Whether or not these delays will lead to Skull and Bones becoming known as one of the best PC games remains to be seen, but you can check out those that do hold that title in the meantime. Alternatively, find out a bit more about the Skull and Bones story, or check out some other open-world games while you wait.

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