Skull And Bones Getting Open Beta 6 Years After It Was Revealed

Skull And Bones Getting Open Beta 6 Years After It Was Revealed

Ubisoft’s long-delayed online pirate game, Skull and Bones, will finally become a game that anyone can play, thanks to a newly announced open beta. The open beta starts next month and arrives shortly before the game launches, just over six years after its reveal.

Remember the year 2017? The last generation of consoles were only four years old. Ubisoft unveiled Skull and Bones at E3 that year. It had a big, flashy trailer and looked like the naval gameplay from Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag spun off into its own multiplayer game (Editor’s note: I played the build that reveal footage came from at that very E3, and can tell you: that’s exactly what it was. — David). Years and many delays later, it would morph into a giant, pirate-only online game. Sounds like a solid pitch for a game to me. And yet, the saga of Skull and Bones is a long and messy one stretching back a decade from its inception, through six delays, and finally, to its new open beta arriving in February.

In a January 25 blog post, Ubisoft announced that following a closed beta in December, Skull and Bones will have a big ol’ open beta from February 8-11. Players on PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PS5 will be able to participate. And Ubisoft is letting folks pre-load the open beta starting on February 6. The publisher says crossplay and cross-progression will be supported during the test.

And yes, if you play during the open beta, Ubisoft has a chest full of rewards that will carry over into the main game if you decide to buy it.

Image: Ubisoft

While technically this isn’t the first time random players will be able to check out the upcoming pirate game—Ubisoft has held a few closed betas in the past—it is the first time the publisher is opening the pirate doors to everyone. Perhaps they are confident that after seven years (or more) of development and delays, the game is ready to answer some questions for the greater public. It’s also entirely possible that Ubisoft cannot bring itself to spend any more money on this thing and needs it out the door. Hard to blame them for that: a production cycle this long, that weathered false starts, internal drama and wild changes of direction, is uncommon among AAA publishers these days. That Ubi didn’t give up and shove it out the door years ago is, in and of itself, a surprise. Maybe it’s regular old sunk cost, maybe it’s that Ubi really believes in it. Either way, it’s kind of a miracle that S&B made it this far.

Interestingly, Ubisoft also confirmed on Twitter that—unlike most open betas—all progress made in the Skull and Bones beta will carry into the retail game when it launches on February 16 (or slightly earlier if you buy the more expensive version, which we wouldn’t necessarily recommend).

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