Skull & Bones: Fight For Control Of The Indian Ocean

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Introduction

Developed by Ubisoft Singapore, Skull & Bones will allow players to experience the colonial-era in the Indian Ocean, leading their fleet against European powers and rival privateers in pursuit of riches. Controlling a customisable pirate captain, your goal will be sustaining your faction’s grip on regional trade routes, using stolen wealth wisely to expand your fleet and satisfy your crew. Do this, and fame and fortune could be yours!

Background

As its developers admit, Skull & Bones is somewhat inspired by the gameplay of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag; indeed, Ubisoft Singapore is a subsidiary of the wider Ubisoft firm, which also develops the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Therefore, certain key elements of this title, particularly its colonial-era setting and its historical accuracy, will be familiar to fans of Black Flag. Nevertheless, the game’s basis in another theatre of war will see these elements skewed to suit this context, with gameplay thoroughly reflecting the region’s specific colonial history. 

For example, you’ll face off with different enemies, with Portugal and the East India Company being particularly active in the Indian Ocean; the former rarely featured in Black Flag, whilst the latter was completely absent. Moreover, Skull & Bones presents piracy as in retreat, with robust policing having pushed surviving pirates eastwards from their former Caribbean strongholds. This provides a thematic shift from Black Flag, where Caribbean piracy stubbornly endured, despite political pressures and Templar machinations. 

Key Features

Firstly, as Skull & Bones is foremost about piracy, armed combat will be a regular feature of the game. With various vessels on offer (e.g. Frigates, brigantines), this title will offer a graphic experience of naval warfare as it occurred in the colonial-era. Therefore, players will be able to wield every trick then available to commanders to defeat a rival fleet;  be it launching side-on attacks with rockets or cannon, boarding an enemy vessel, or simply ramming it. Colonial forts are also legitimate, if more dangerous, targets for plunder. However, the Indian Ocean is an open-world, and as such can be unpredictable; sudden storms and strong currents could turn a battle on its head in an instant. Admittedly, these features again draw a resemblance between this title and Black Flag; however, given the games’ similar settings, a degree of resemblance is somewhat inevitable.

Furthermore, players will have a choice between single and multiplayer modes. The former promises the freedom to dominate the Indian Ocean on your own terms; however, the strength and versatility of enemy fleets could make this a challenge. Therefore, players could instead opt for a more cooperative approach; working with a maximum of five allies, Skull & Bones will allow players to create a coordinated plan of action to defeat and pillage tougher opponents.

Conclusion

Overall, Skull & Bones arguably promises fans of historical gaming an immersive experience of colonial-era piracy in the Indian Ocean. Thus, despite the game’s clear thematic similarities to Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, it will hopefully hold its own, reinventing pirate-themed games for today’s audience.

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