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Skull & Bones Leak Reveals Gameplay Details

Skull & Bones continues to sail toward the ever-vanishing horizon of release.
Skull & Bones continues to sail toward the ever-vanishing horizon of release. / Photo courtesy of Ubisoft

Reputable leaker Tom Henderson has shared a raft of new gameplay details about Ubisoft's perpetually in-development combination player-vs.-player-vs.-environment pirate adventure game Skull & Bones.

Henderson — who has a reputation for accurately leaking information about Call of Duty and Battlefield games — says Skull & Bones begins with the player building a raft, then a small fishing boat, before being set free in the game's open world.

From there, the player can complete quests to increase their pirate reputation and earn resources. They can then buy blueprints for new ship designs, which they can build by collecting resources such as wood and metal. The game features five sizes of ship split across three categories, which Henderson refers to as cargo, combat and exploration ships.

Each ship has a predetermined number of cannons and other weaponry that it can wield, but there's plenty of room for customization. That means adding extra armor or storage, tricking out your sails, choosing your sea shanty, and, of course, building up your arsenal.

"Cannons, Ballistas, Flame Throwers, Mortars and more can be attached to your ship in addition to different ammo types (chain-linked cannon balls for example)," Henderson tweeted.

Furthermore, a bigger ship isn't necessarily better than a smaller one, as a smaller craft allows for more mobility.

"An example given was that a smaller ship might outrun a bigger ship by staying close to the shore or going up a river because the bigger ships would get beached on the bottom of shallow waters."

The game's open world is supposedly set in the Indian Ocean, with a fictional pirate haven based on Madagascar and the Coast of Azania, an ancient name referring to various parts of southeastern tropical Africa. Henderson says the map takes about 10-15 minutes of sailing with the game's fastest ship to travel from one end of the map to the other.

Exploration focuses heavily on sea travel. On-land gameplay is limited to walking around safe havens and hideouts, with "no combat, parkour, or anything special to walking as the captain other than to go meet NPCs." The only hand-to-hand combat in the game takes place during boarding sequences, and is comprised of a mini-game in which players choose to guard, melee attack, or pistol attack over five rounds.

In the absence of official info from Ubisoft, Henderson's details are all we have about the shape Skull & Bones is taking after eight years and counting in development. Henderson says the game "isn't 'near completion' but is reported to be in a decent spot with a lot of good combat."

Ubisoft first revealed Skull & Bones at E3 2017, but has delayed the game several times. It is currently slated for release in fiscal year 2022-2023, which runs April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.