Skull and Bones will launch a Closed Beta on August 25, giving players who register via the official site a chance to experience the multiplayer pirate open-world game first-hand as the team continues to work toward release this fiscal year. To find out more about the Closed Beta, we spoke with the game's Senior Producer Neven Dravinski from Ubisoft Singapore about the announcement at Ubisoft Forward 2023 and what's in store for players this August.
Why is this the right time to announce a Closed Beta, as opposed to pushing ahead toward release?
Neven Dravinski: We are pushing ahead towards our game's release, which is set for this fiscal year, but we wanted to build on the lessons we've learned from the community since our comeback a year ago. So we're getting the game into the hands of a wider group of players with a public-facing Closed Beta, which is aligned with our ethos: to create a game for the community, with the community.
Over the past several months, we have gathered valuable insights from hundreds of players worldwide over multiple closed, live tests, and through our Insider Program. Crafting something new and original takes time, and we want to continue this journey with our players to create a space where they can have fun for years to come.
Can you tell us about the feedback you've received from Insider Program players, and what those tests have been telling you about the game?
ND: Sure - for one, our game's naval combat stood out the most to the community, and we're doubling down on this. We are creating even more depth to the combat by increasing the number of ship and weapon variants available at launch, allowing players to build customized playstyles to make the game experience their own.
This depth in combat also extends to other aspects of the game. For example, improved naval navigation and the addition of an external ship camera are some of the ways that the community has made this experience better through our Insider Program.
Answering another community request, we've ensured that the entire game can be played in co-op, with shareable contracts and rewards; a "call for help" feature should you run into trouble; multiple chat functions; and other gameplay mechanics.
As we've always said, our game is best played with friends. This feedback helped us bring more focus to the social experience.
Our servers will be able to host up to 20 players with crossplay functionality across PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Luna. So those who want to play in co-op can form groups of up to three seamlessly by finding and inviting others to join their fleet.
Our community has also constantly pushed for more variety in activities, and we're really excited for players to discover some of the surprises we have in store during the Closed Beta. Lastly, We'll also continue to refine our endgame, which you'll hear more about in the coming months.
What needs to happen in order for Skull and Bones to be ready for release? Can you talk a bit about what aspects of the game are being worked on?
ND: The tests that we've conducted over the past months have helped us to gather player feedback and polish our game. The upcoming Closed Beta brings us one step closer to release. Rather than setting a new date at this time, we are doing what's needed to make the best naval-combat game possible.
We've seen solid, incremental progress in our players' sentiment throughout these tests, and it makes us believe we're on the right path. As mentioned, our key priorities for launch continue to be polishing our combat systems, focusing on a more co-op intensive experience, while also bringing more variety to the game so players can choose their own path to becoming a pirate kingpin.
How can interested players claim a spot in the Closed Beta, and/or participate in future live tests?
ND: You can be a part of our pirate crew by registering now via our website at skullandbonesgame.com/livetests. The Closed Beta will run from August 25-28, so stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.
It's very important for us to engage and grow with the community, and the Closed Beta is our next step to doing so. We hope to see you on the high seas this August!