Ubisoft’s oft-delayed online pirate game, Skull and Bones, will finally—thanks to a newly announced open beta—be something that anyone—yes, even you, random reader—can actually play. The open beta starts next month and arrives shortly before the game launches, over six years after its reveal.
Remember the year 2017? The last generation of consoles were only four years old. There was no global pandemic. And…I was going to list some other stuff that happened in 2017 as part of this bit but then I realized that was a horrible year. So, anyway, yeah, also: Skull and Bones from Ubisoft was announced at E3 that summer. It had a big flashy trailer and looked like the boat gameplay from Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, but turned 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 messy and long 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.
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 doors to everyone like this. Perhaps they are confident that after seven years (or more) of development and delays, the game is ready for the greater public. Or Ubisoft just really doesn’t want to spend any more money on this thing and needs it out soon. Take your pick!
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.