Skull and Bones is the kind of game that people have been requesting Ubisoft to make for a while, now. Ever since the naval sections in Assassin’s Creed III became so beloved, people have been asking for a full fledged naval combat game from Ubisoft. However, while Skull and Bones seems to be the answer to those requests, it does seem like it will be a bit of a monkey’s paw situation.
If you were hoping for a traditional single player campaign, something epic along the lines of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, then unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like you will get what you want. Speaking to Gamespot, Ubisoft seem to have stated that the game won’t have a traditional single player campaign, espousing a shared world narrative instead. According to Ubisoft, having a traditional campaign that would be ‘consumed once, and then never looked back on’ would be a shame.
“The narrative where people can broadcast or stream what they’re doing and it’s a unique experience to that player,” creative director Justin Farren said. “So, we wanted to take that approach. Like, how do you create a systemic world where every single player’s experience is different and also tie it to a world narrative where you meet historical pirates, historically inspired characters, and that you have a narrative where you develop a bond with your crew and interesting characters along the way, taking out kingpins, all those things are part of our narrative. But we didn’t want it to be separate, that you just consumed and never looked back.”
But what about people who don’t like shared world or online experiences? Will Skull and Bones have nothing to offer for them, then? Farren expressed a hope that those players would still give the shared world story and PvP multiplayer in Skull and Bones a try.
“I certainly hope that people will try to do our PvP, because we think it’s pretty compelling and it’s not a different … like Call of Duty when you play campaign and you go online, [and you get something very different],” he said. “I worked on Gears for a while and the players who play Gears multiplayer, they are different some times than the players who really invest in campaign. We want to bring those experiences closer together. For it to be a, you know, a one-off campaign that’s consumed, would be a shame.”
I am not sure I am convinced- and while I admire Ubisoft’s pioneering spirit in trying to go for a games as a service model for their AAA games, I don’t think that every game needs to be that way- and certainly not a game that would work just fine as a single player game. I must admit my own personal excitement for the game has been significantly tempered after hearing this. Skull and Bones is due out next year on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.