Skull and Bones is "not narrative-driven" and wants you to "create your own stories"

Skull and Bones
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

The director of Ubisoft's highly-anticipated pirate adventure, Skull and Bones, has revealed that the upcoming game is "not narrative-driven" in order to enable players to "create their own stories and be able to choose the type of pirate they want to be".

"Skull and Bones is not a narrative-driven game," game director Ryan Barnard told True Achievements. “We have narrative pieces - in the game, you'll meet important NPCs called Kingpins which have their own stories that you'll learn as you develop rapport with them by taking on contracts with them. 

"There is an underlying story to the game with which we build the entire world lore, but that's not the main focus. We want players to create their own stories and be able to choose the type of pirate they want to be.

"That being said, what drives you through the progression system which we call Infamy, is the fact that you will gain access to blueprints in the game which will give you different types of ships, weapons, and armors, and you'll need those as you move and explore around the world to be effective against new foes," he added.

Barnard also gave more details about the gameplay, revealing that the team had taken care to be "really clear" that it was a naval game.

"There are many different outposts to discover as a player,” Barnard said. “They all have encampments, sometimes multiple encampments even, which rotate through a system we have. So, for instance, there might be a certain faction one day and the next day be, you know, rogue pirates instead. This was part of how we wanted to ensure that the world changes and feel alive… treasure hunts are one of the things that will only occur at an outpost when you have finally discovered the location of that hidden treasure.

"Aside from that, there is a lot of gameplay on land - it’s where you craft, gear up, socialize, manage your warehouse and customize your ship and your captain. The only thing that really isn't on land is combat."

He also talked about customization - each ship will have its own perks - and the crew, which differ from ship to ship. We also learned that "rogue wildlife and extreme weather events", as well as crafting, will also feature in the game.

Barnard also explained that the game isn't coming to PS4 or Xbox One because "with the longevity of support we had planned, it made sense that we released on the current-gen consoles".

"I am most excited for players to fill out their fleet, and see the depth to naval combat and how our weapon counter system works," Barnard added. "It’s also going to be interesting to see how players take on the toughest challenges we have in-game - the forts. I’m really excited to see and to continue to develop and work with the community."

Beleaguered by setbacks and delays, Skull and Bones was originally revealed at E3 2017, and we've seen and heard surprisingly little since then beyond getting delay announcements in 2018 and then again in 2019. All that silence came to end, however, when Ubisoft finally pulled back the curtain on the re-re-revealed pirate game on July 7, 2022 and confirmed that after years of delays, Skull and Bones will finally launch on November 8, 2022. 

For more swashbuckling news, check out our guide to 5 key Skull and Bones questions answered, from multiplayer focus to how it differs from Sea of Thieves.

For other games to play with friends, check out our guide to the best co-op games available now.

Vikki Blake
Weekend Reporter, GamesRadar+

Vikki Blake is GamesRadar+'s Weekend Reporter. Vikki works tirelessly to ensure that you have something to read on the days of the week beginning with 'S', and can also be found contributing to outlets including the BBC, Eurogamer, and Vikki also runs a weekly games column at NME, and can be frequently found talking about Destiny 2 and Silent Hill on Twitter.