Skull and Bones was first revealed in 2017. As a major fan of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, I was thrilled to see Ubisoft dive back into piracy, this time with a new IP. At that point, Skull and Bones was a 5v5 multiplayer arena battler where you played solely as the ship. It wasn’t exactly the Black Flag follow-up many, including myself, had anticipated, but with Ubisoft Singapore, the studio behind the Assassin’s Creed franchise’s excellent naval combat, at the helm, I wanted to see more.
After another look at it in 2018, Skull and Bones went dark, and Ubisoft remained mostly silent on the title for years. Then, this month, the publisher announced that it would be re-revealing Skull and Bones on July 7. That return brought with it a brand new look at gameplay and new details about how Skull and Bones was no longer the 5v5 arena game it was when it debuted years ago. Now, it’s an expansive live-service game set in an open-world Indian Ocean where your goal is to rise from pirate outcast to kingpin. While we learned a lot that day, I still had questions, and for this cover story, I was able to ask them all (and then some) to key developers such as game director Ryan Barnard and creative director Elisabeth Pellen.
For this issue’s cover story, I spoke virtually with Barnard, Pellen, and other team members at Ubisoft Singapore. I spent those hours asking them about the game’s new direction, its art, its music, its progression mechanics, the endgame of Skull and Bones, how it will keep fans playing for years to come, and how the game will differentiate itself from other pirate mainstays in gaming such as Rare’s Sea of Thieves. You’ll learn about all of that and more, including how Skull and Bones’ Infamy system works, how the game handles PvE and PvP servers, and the importance of multiplayer in this cover story. I was already excited about Skull and Bones before this – if you know me at all, you know that if pirates are involved, I’m on board (excuse the pun) – but talking to the team has me even more stoked for November 8.
Of course, as usual, there’s plenty more treasure within Issue #348. We’ve got a robust look at 60 of the most exciting game reveals of the summer, a deep dive into the new revival of Saints Row, a feature-length look at Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, reviews for games you don’t want to miss, and an E3-focused retrospective about its place in gaming. You can expect all that and more in this upcoming issue of Game Informer.
Print subscribers can expect their issues to arrive in the coming days/weeks. The digital edition of this issue launches later today for PC/Mac, iOS, and Google Play. To subscribe to either the digital or print version, click here.