“Skull and Bones” will feature some of the best elements from Sea of Thieves. Before the disclosure of the gameplay, many thought that it would have elements from Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and there would be a familiar feeling from Ubisoft’s previous successful pirate-themed game. Although there are certainly traces of the studio’s past work, much of what was shown in the gameplay trailer emphasized features that were unique to Sea of Thieves, but they had a different format.
Until recently, many were unsure whether Skull and Bones would be launched at all, due to the setbacks encountered throughout the development process. Ubisoft remained silent about this for some time, but supported an insider program that informed subscribers about specific details related to the state of the game. On July 7, Ubisoft finally held a live broadcast of the expected disclosure of the gameplay. At the last moment, the release date of Skull and Bones was announced in November 2022, which means that players will soon be able to sail the Indian Ocean on their own. Since the first live broadcast, the game has been compared to other pirate games, such as the iconic Sea of Thieves.
Some of the best features transitioned from Sea of Thieves to Skull and Bones on launch day include outposts, contract work, naval battles, cosmetic rewards, moving on the high seas, and a non-linear approach to the plot. There are many differences between these two games, but they are much more similar than many initially expected. Given the popularity of Sea of Thieves — and how much the game has changed since 2018 — Ubisoft did the smart thing by developing the best RPG features.
Dens & Contracts in Skull & Bones are similar to the Sea of Thieves system
One of the most obvious similarities that makes Skull and Bones look less like Black Flag and more like Sea of Thieves is the outposts. In the Skull and Bones game, outposts are called pirate lairs and serve as the center of many actions. Before sailing the Indian Ocean, players can meet each other, prepare for expeditions, customize their clothes and ships, accept contracts and do light research. From the gameplay display, it was clear that Ubisoft followed the design of the Sea of Thieves outpost because it is strikingly similar in structure and function — which is not a terrible choice, given the purpose it serves to prepare for adventures and breaks in between.
Another feature of Sea of Thieves, which similarly migrated to Skull and Bones, is the contract system. Contracts are one of the elements that make the game Sea of Thieves is interesting and also gives the game a goal to follow; Ubisoft is trying to do the same with Skull and Bones. Sea of Thieves has different trading companies that offer contracts, and Skull and Bones is similar, but does not have an identical design. Judging by the revealed gameplay, contacts take on more of a privateer goal for many different partners in different fields, rather than being tied to the same partners around the world. However, not everything has been fully worked out yet, so the principle of contracts will become more clear after the game is released.
Battles and Rewards in Skull & Bones Features of key aspects of Sea of Thieves
Just like Sea of Thieves has a dynamic combat system, Skull and Bones has it. In many ways, pirate ships and naval battles in Skull and Bones are much more confusing and complex than any other pirate game on the market; Ubisoft has stated that it will focus on naval combat and wants this game to be the perfect pirate game. However, the joint battles for forts in Sea of Thieves are the culmination of both games, and in addition to this, the key incentive is the loot for the destruction of forts. PvP and PvE play a crucial role in Skull and Bones, as in Sea of Thieves. Both games are designed to be played with friends or other online players, which makes the destruction of large forts and important ships even better.
Combined with the Skull and Bones combat systems, players are rewarded with customizable cosmetic rewards for their characters and ships. Cosmetic rewards are an important component of Sea of Thieves, because buying in—game cosmetic rewards for earned gold is one of the main incentives, in addition to the pleasure of a pirate adventure. Back in 2021 Sea of Thieves has started receiving rewards for a season pass, so it would be implausible to believe that Skull and Bones could get a similar system at some point, especially considering that Ubisoft wants to make the game a live service for the last many years of progression. Let’s hope that the incentive to get cosmetic rewards will be worth a good combination of quests and goals.