Ubisoft’s upcoming swashbuckling, pirate-fighting, sea-battling Skull & Bones focuses on its PvP experience, though developers have confirmed the existence of a single-player campaign. While we didn’t get many details on the mode at first, Ubisoft has informed GameSpot the single-player story isn’t as traditional and independent from multiplayer as some fans were hoping.
Creative director Justin Farren dished some new details on Skull & Bones’ single-player mode, starting by saying the team is making it a “shared-narrative” experience.
“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,” Farren said. “But we didn’t want it to be separate, that you just consumed and never looked back.”
When asked to clarify if Skull & Bones has a completely separate single-player mode, Farren said, “It’s woven into it, so the story itself will be woven in to everything you do, from the time that you build your relationships with your crew until the time that you take down your first kingpin, building up your hideout, all of those things are woven into the modes that you play.”
Farren said Ubisoft wants to tell the story of Skull & Bones over the course of months or even years, so, as a player, you won’t be able to simply sit down and grind through the campaign in a couple of nights.
“We wanted to create a system that let us tell our narrative month after month, year after year, and then throw in the story elements to it,” he said. “So, if you’re a PvP player, you should still feel like you beat the campaign. If you’re a PvE player, or like me, I plan on sailing with my daughter a lot, I want us to be able to go through the story and become kingpins together, and be able to tell the same world narrative through the game worlds that we build.”
Instead of a one-and-done campaign that most games offer, Ubisoft is taking the increasingly popular games-as-a-service approach by spreading the content over a longer period of time. Doing so aims to create a more enveloping and longer lasting experience for players.
While PvP-centered games aren’t for everyone, Farren encouraged players to at least give the mode a shot. It is the heart of the game, after all.
“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.”
Skull & Bones is scheduled to launch in 2018 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.