‘Skull & Bones’ director talks “underlying story” and on land features

The developer wants "players to create their own stories and be able to choose the type of pirate they want to be"

Skull & Bones director Ryan Barnard has provided new details on some of the mechanics of the upcoming pirate game, including what can be done on land, and the overall narrative. 

Earlier this month Ubisoft released an overview trailer of the game, although in a new interview with TrueAchievements, Barnard was able to elaborate on aspects of the game  that weren’t as apparent.

While Barnard clearly states that it isn’t a narrative driven game, it will “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.”


He continues: “There is an underlying story to the game with which we build the entire world lore, but that’s not the main focus.” It’s stated that Ubisoft wants “players to create their own stories and be able to choose the type of pirate they want to be.”

When asked about the mechanics of Skull & Bones, Barnard is quick to note that “there is a lot of gameplay on land — it’s where you craft, gear up, socialise, manage your warehouse and customise your ship and your captain. The only thing that really isn’t on land is combat,” although it is “mainly a naval game”.

Barnard also touches on dynamic events, which “are basically a pool of things that can happen in the game as opportunities for players to interact with while sailing to their main objectives.” He then goes on to use bumping into a “merchant who is afraid and needs protection” during a long voyage as an example, or “a battle where one of the factions is attacking a settlement and you can either defend the settlement or you can join in as a player.”

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A screenshot of Ubisoft’s ‘Skull & Bones’. Credit: Ubisoft

When asked about how the game would differentiate itself from other titles on the market, Barnard explained, “When I first joined the project, I was pleasantly surprised by the different elements of naval and RPG, persistence, survival, and crafting in the game. That’s what we’ve been focused on developing and improving.”


As for post-launch content, the current roadmap is all free content. “Our ethos towards future development is going to be done with open communication with our community for a live game, our game. We have a plan of course, but we’re prepared to pivot based on what’s popular with our players.”

Skull & Bones will release on November 8 for current generation consoles and PC via the Epic Games Store.

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