So, you want to be a pirate, but Sea of Thieves isn’t your cup of tea? If the issue was PvP, well, you’re probably out of luck, as Ubisoft Producer Karl von der Luhe emphasized at E3 this year that one of Skull and Bones‘ chief strengths is that it lets you decide what kind of pirate you want to be: the kind who backstabs and murders his fellow buccaneer, or a wolf running with a pack. There’s no room for pacifists who just want to share Earl Grey and crumpets, alas.
While von der Luhe admits that Ubisoft admires what Rare’s done with SOT, it’s been clear for a long time that the two games are different enough to co-exist. They’re different takes on the pirate lifestyle. Even with the new hideout system for off-ship… um, town interaction, my demo of the open PvPvE area, the hunt grounds, further confirmed my feeling that Ubisoft’s game is more about the ship than it is about the pirate, something that surely has its own audience.
Player choice and random map elements are the key to the meat of Skull and Bones’ replayability said Ubisoft at this week’s E3 2018. The studio made a concerted effort to show how its upcoming multiplayer pirate title wasn’t just PvP and nothing but.
In fact, the big reveal this week was the Hunting Grounds, which sounds more PvE than PvP. These special areas will be modified by “fortunes” set before players head toward them. When there, player crews will take on various quests while also having the freedom to simply explore and hunt boats. One such quest was to hunt down an NPC bounty hunter with another player.
“You log in and decide where in the world you want to go, which factions you want to take on, whether you want to do it by yourself or call your friends, or meet new friends within the world. All of those things are based on your own objectives,” said Creative Director Justin Farren.
The studio confirmed that it will be pushing out Skull and Bones some time next year. In any case, we have several videos from Ubisoft’s E3 showing after the break, so dig in!
With a strong fiscal year under its belt, Ubisoft’s future looks bright indeed. The studio posted its earnings report this week, stating that it made $2.04 billion in revenue and $164.7 million in net income — both a sizable increase from the year previous.
The earnings call gave us some indication as to the release windows of two of its future online games. The Division 2 is expected to come out before April 2019, which means that at the worst, we have slightly less than a year wait to go. The studio revealed that the first Division title racked up over 20 million players to date.
Players will have to wait longer than expected for Skull and Bones, however. Ubisoft announced that it will delay the launch of the multiplayer pirate game to April 2019 at the earliest “to offer players an even more engaging experience.”
A couple of weeks ago I covered 20(ish) MMORPGs that we are looking forward to seeing develop, test, and launch in 2018. But as you well may know, Massively OP covers a small university’s worth of “not-so-massively” multiplayer games that have some crossover into the MMO space. We do this because it gives some people much-needed gripe fuel and also because a lot of our readership is also interested in these games.
There is a lot of movement in the multiplayer game space, especially as the larger video game market continues to adapt and hew to MMO design. It’s a blended mess as we continually try to sort these games out into their proper categories, but while we do that, you can enjoy this list of 20 multiplayer games that you should be tracking in 2018. From survival sandboxes to pirate simulators to sequels, here we go!
If you thought that Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones pirate MMO wasn’t going to have lootboxes, seriously, what rock are you living under? (And is it comfy? And can you maybe scoot over and make room for the rest of us?)
In a new interview with Gamespot, Ubisoft creative director Justin Farren says that the studio is going for “more of a service-based approach so that when you pay for this game, you have a commitment from us to develop content, new gameplay, modes, new content for the player to earn, and then of course, new regions to explore, and those things will unfold as the game launches and provide service over time.”
“We don’t want to create pay to win,” he says. “We don’t want to create something where players have to pay to compete. Our PvP is completely horizontal in a way that gives players a chance to develop their skills and compete against other players.”
But Overwatch-style lootboxes are definitely still on the table.
Pirates are, like, so so hot right now. At least if you look at the multiplayer gaming space, which now has two promising titles from major studios racing toward release. One of these is Skull and Bones, a recently announced Ubisoft title that we got to check out at E3.
For all of the talk of open world sailing and clashes between players, some have wondered if there is any room for the solo pirate who wants to sail the seven seas without others crowding around. Turns out that, yes, this will be a definite option, as Skull and Bones is going to feature a single-player narrative campaign in addition to its multiplayer component.
An Ubisoft representative confirmed this aspect of the game in a statement: “[Skull and Bones] will offer a narrative campaign which will be integrated into the game and will not be something aside of the multiplayer experience. In this campaign, players will encounter iconic characters and memorable rival pirates. More details will be shared at a later date.”
I like naval combat in my MMOs. That’s my weakness. Vehicle combat is great, but for some reason, I especially like boats. When I heard there was another pirate multiplayer game being revealed at E3 2017, I knew I’d have to check it out. Fortunately, I’d already been scheduled to check out Ubisoft’s press section of their booth, giving me a rare opportunity to see Skull and Bones behind closed doors.
The pirate’s code(s)
Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Skull and Bones is not nearly the same as Sea of Thieves. At all. Sea of Thieves is a good pirate simulator. You get drunk, you swing a sword, you dig for treasure.
In Skull and Bones, you’re a pirate ship, not a captain. Your ship is your class, like a tank or a sniper. It’s much more about boat play than character play. Don’t think of the triad though, as I didn’t see any “healer” type boat. And don’t think you’re just in a death match, as the pirate aspect was still there, even in my battleground-esque demo.
Oh, E3, always a magical time full of promises when some aren’t meant to be kept, some are meant to be kept but won’t be, and some actually will happen. Have fun guessing which is which!
Among the more pertinent announcements from this year’s convention are ARK: Survival Evolved launching on August 8th, Sea of Thieves delaying launch until 2018, and Destiny 2 launching early September and late October depending on platform. We’ve also got the new game Anthem on its way for 2018 and Monster Hunter World headed for consoles and PC, which is all cool.
Oh, and let’s not forget the announcements of Skull and Bones and The Crew 2. Or the Lawbreakers beta starting June 28th while launch is set for August 8th. Jeez. Is there even room for more beta news? Yes, but just a little.
Whew! Some title density in there, almost mirroring that of the list down below. You can still read the list, though, and if we missed something or a game has slipped into a new test phase, you can let us know in the comments.
E3 is drawing to a close, with its reveals over and done with — all that’s left is processing our interviews and hands-on pieces. But in the meantime, we decided to take this week’s Overthinking to consider the field. MMORPGs haven’t shined brightly at E3 in a long time, so our expectations are usually low — the con is interesting to us more for what’s happening on the multiplayer front.
So that’s what we asked our staff: What’s the most interesting or grabby-hands MMO or MMO-ish thing from E3 this year? Which game would get your best in show and why? There’s also an extra bonus section on the con itself courtesy of our writer on the floor.
Sea of Thieves, you have a new challenger in the realm of MMOsy pirate games: Ubisoft just announced Skull and Bones at E3. The game looks gorgeous and boasts a “shared open world” that reacts to players, seeming character customization (“choose your captain, recruit your crew, and build deadly ships”), PvP in the “disputed waters,” and fun piratey fluff like spyglasses and realistic wind navigation.
“It is the Golden Age of Piracy. Renegade captains command the most powerful weapons on Earth: warships. You are a pirate captain who has refused the king’s pardon and sailed from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean, an untamed frontier full of lavish riches. However, these waters are also a battleground where far-reaching colonial empires, powerful trading corporations, and ruthless pirate gangs clash. In order to survive, you will have to build a lethal fleet, prey upon lucrative trade routes, and ally with other pirates in your endless struggle for supremacy.”
“We’re not making Black Flag 2.0,” Ubisoft says in the new trailer. “We’re making our own game. But we really went to school on what we’ve done in the past.” Check out the videos for the whole overview.