Ubisoft has just announced Skull & Bones, a new pirate game that, if the cinematic trailer is any indication, will be absolutely awesome. By the looks of it, the game will focus heavily on naval combat aboard lumbering ships.
This is the second pirate themed game at E3 this year, with Sea of Thieves drawing stark contrast with its cartoony style and bubbly aesthetic. Skull & Bones seems to have a much more serious tone, showing the corpses of bested crews floating lifelessly in the sea amongst their booty.
The trailer follows a pirate crew and their female captain as they successfully outmaneuver and outgun a rival ship. After sinking their first adversary, two new ships emerge from the fog, their own captains weaving unrelentingly into the fray. The pirates shift to meet them, cannons are fired, and the trailer cuts to the female captain and her crew suspended lifelessly in the salty depths. After the Skull & Bones logo, another pirate ship is scavenging the wrecks from the earlier battle. As they sing sea shanties and poke amongst the wreckage, a sunken ship’s skeleton is pulled forcefully underwater, silencing the scavenging crew. The new pirates are knocked about and the camera pans out to reveal a multi-tentacled sea monster silhouetted just beneath the sea’s surface.
Skull & Bones looks to be a serious take on the pirate genre, fraught with naval battles and sea monsters. The multiple scenes of pirate corpses floating eerily through the water are a good indication for the tone gamers can expect when diving in. Multiple types of cannon projectiles can be seen throughout the trailer, including chain-shot, which was used to cause devastating damage to ship’s hulls and masts.
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Skull & Bones could be the grog that thirsty pirate gamers have been waiting for since the heavenly days of pillaging and ship warfare featured in Sid Meier’s Pirates! The trailer’s tone seems especially encouraging; a dark pirate game that focuses on death and carnage is a welcome change to a genre that has been portrayed in a more cartoonish, kid friendly light in recent years. The addition of sea monsters is also a surprising, and possibly incredibly cool, feature that could set Skull & Bones leagues above the competition. However, this is just a cinematic trailer, so no real details about the gameplay can really be taken from it. Plus, sea monsters seem like an awfully easy thing to do wrong, which would be a damn shame considering their almost complete absence from pirate video games to date.