How Skull and Bones takes advantage of immersive PS5 features, out February 16

Thar be no room for landlubbers here. Get ready to start a golden age pirate’s journey taking you from shipwrecked nobody to kingpin when Skull and Bones launches February 16 on PlayStation 5, with an Open Beta running from February 8-11*. The development team at Ubisoft Singapore has been hard at work ensuring that the Skull and Bones experience is as immersive as possible on PS5, thanks to features like 3D audio, adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, and more.

We sat down with Skull and Bones Technical Director Jussi Markkanen to find out how these features are utilized to make Skull and Bones such a unique adventure on the PS5, where the only thing missing is the smell of the salty sea.

PlayStation Blog: What is the backstory behind the title of Skull and Bones beyond the infamous Jolly Roger reference?

Markkanen: Skull and Bones is set in an unforgiving environment, during the tumultuous Golden Age of Piracy, in a world inspired by the Indian Ocean. Here peril awaits at every turn, and you will need to leverage every opportunity available to endure and flourish in this harsh world.

The title Skull and Bones reflects the gritty approach that we’re bringing to the pirate fantasy, as you begin your journey a shipwrecked nobody, and have to plunder and outsmart your way to become the most fearsome pirate kingpin.

How are the DualSense controller’s haptics used in Skull and Bones?

In Skull and Bones, naval combat is at the heart of the experience. You are able to equip a multitude of powerful weapons to outgun other ships, attack forts, and take down legendary sea monsters.

On the PS5, naval combat really comes alive with the DualSense wireless controller when using the adaptive triggers. From sea fires and giant ballistae, to rocket launchers and mortars, you will be able to experience the different tensions of the triggers as you fire a variety of different weapons.

For example, faster-firing arsenal such as ballista or carronade require only a light pull on the adaptive triggers. The weight of the long guns or sea fire are communicated through a stronger resistance, while the adaptive triggers translate the heft of your heaviest arsenal, such as of bombards or rockets, ensuring that every shot you fire is Skull and Bones feels satisfying and unique.

The controller also rumbles in specific locations based on where your weapons are firing and where you’re taking damage. When an enemy launches a volley of cannons at your starboard, you’ll feel the intensity of the attack in your hands as you see it on screen.

Do you have any setup recommendations for players using the customizable DualSense Edge wireless controller?

One option could be mapping the spyglass shortcut! An important tool in any pirate’s kit is their spyglass. It allows them to glean more information about the world, including scoping out enemy weaknesses and identifying new opportunities such as bountiful trade routes.

How was PS5’s 3D Audio implemented into Skull and Bones’ gameplay?

3D Audio has allowed us to push boundaries in how you hear our game. For example, you can pinpoint the arc of incoming mortar fire, letting you decide whether to dodge or brace for impact against these powerful attacks.

Be sure to pay attention to your crew as well, who will often call out loot floating in the water – thanks to 3D Audio, you’ll never have to wonder exactly where that loot is.

Also, did we mention that they’ll sing sea shanties on command? Because they will! Map it to your quick action wheel and with a tap of the D-Pad you’ll hear one of 30 shanties sung in Bahasa Indonesia, Malagasy, English, and French!

How does PS5’s SSD speed add to the pirating adventure in Skull & Bones?

In Skull and Bones, you’ll chase the horizon across everything from clear blue-water shoals to violent raging storms as you sail from the coast of Africa to the East Indies. Made solely for current-generation consoles, Skull and Bones allows you to explore its vast open world in 4K at a targeted 60fps.

With the ultra-fast SSD, players will be able to transition from outposts and dens, to the vast Indian Ocean even faster! This will help create an even more immersive experience on the high seas, as players will be able to set sail, explore, and engage in epic naval battles seamlessly.

What is one example of a super granular, nerdy detail about pirate culture that you want to make sure players know about?

For Skull and Bones, we wanted to reinject the defiance, tension, and brutality of piracy back into the genre. Pirates were survivors, ordinary men and women who wanted to challenge the status quo and decide their own fate. Based on our research, the pirates in the Indian Ocean were also enterprising in nature, building their trade throughout the region for intel and seizing resources for their own gain. They came from all around the world including from the Indian Ocean, interacting with locals from different regions; which is something we sought to portray in our game.

Skull and Bones’ release date has changed a few times. What’s an example of a specific gameplay feature you’re thankful the team had more time to work on or a new gameplay feature that extra development time has allowed you to create?

Creating a new IP is as fulfilling as it is challenging and takes time to fully develop.

We’ve been iterating on the version you’ll see on February 16, by working closely with our community through the Insider Program and regular user tests. The community feedback we received has helped us to improve the game, especially in our co-op, naval combat, and gameplay variety.

Our game already has an amazing solo experience, and the time has allowed us to make additional investments in enhancing the co-op experience. This includes ensuring the entire game can be played in co-op and adding the Call for Help feature, just to name a few.

We’ve continued to add depth to our weapon system and further enhance naval combat, making each weapon choice feel unique, and encouraging different playstyles.

Additionally, we were able to expand our gameplay variety with more fantastical activities for you to enjoy, such as ghost ships, and sea monsters.

Finally, you can also look forward to new events and features in our seasonal post-launch.

Pre-order the Premium Edition to start playing up to three days early 

Pre-order Skull and Bones on PlayStation Store today. Those who pre-order the Premium Edition will get to play the game up to three days early starting February 13, and will get access to the Premium Bonus Pack, two extra missions, a Smugglers Pass Token, Digital Artbook, and Digital Soundtrack.

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