New Skull and Bones leaks suggest forced PvP coming to PS5 and Xbox

Ubisoft is still pitching Skull and Bones as a single-player RPG with co-op, but it sounds more and more like PvP will be unavoidable.

Skull and Bones leaks PvP combat: an image of a pirate at a ship's wheel

The very (very, very) long wait for Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones is finally coming to an end and fans of Edward Kenway’s antics in Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag have a lot to look forward to as the series’ developer takes to the Seven Seas once more. Well, at least, that’s what you would expect us to say if these new Skull and Bones leaks weren’t sounding quite so disappointing. Not only is the map reportedly still too small, a common complaint from beta testers, but it sounds like this game is going to force PvP combat on players – despite it seeming to be a largely PvE experience.

Of all the new PS5 games and new Xbox games on the way in 2024 and beyond, Skull and Bones really is only second to Grand Theft Auto 6 when it comes to games with almost too much to live up to. We know GTA 6 is likely to be one of the best games on consoles when it comes out (because Rockstar Games very rarely misses), but Ubisoft doesn’t have an immaculate track record and a handful of this developer’s games have been quite lacklustre in recent years. However, with Black Flag one of the best Assassin’s Creed games of all time and the naval combat on offer a huge reason as to why that is the case, the fact that Skull and Bones is an entire game based on that is hardly a bad thing – right?

Well, if these new Skull and Bones leaks are really as true as they sound, then we’re not so sure. As leaker ‘Shaolinfantastic864‘ claims, Skull and Bones is going to make PvP combat unavoidable and actually lock some of the best in-game items (things like cannons for your ship) behind PvP activities – meaning they’re far from optional for players who want to make the most of their time playing.

Skull and Bones, which is just a few weeks from launch, doesn’t have any PvE servers – according to insiders – and will greatly limit what you can unlock if you don’t engage in PvP combat and PvP content. Particularly, some of the game’s best weapons are only accessible through the “Cutthroat Cargo” mode – a PvP experience that isn’t proving to be too popular with players who have spent some time with Skull and Bones.

On top of all this, with a lot of the endgame content and new bosses now a lot more difficult than they were in the beta test, solo players are set to struggle to engage in the endgame content in any meaningful way. This, while not directly PvP, does again force you into multiplayer gameplay – and, there’s nothing to say you won’t find yourself set upon by another player during all of this.

What makes all of this surprising, if true, is that Skull and Bones is still being pitched as a single-player RPG experience – as the below deep dive expresses.

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It’s been so very long since Ubisoft’s 2017 announcement of Skull and Bones and we’re so glad the Skull and Bones release date is finally on the way, but we can’t help but feel as though this isn’t the right direction for a game that is bound to be bolstered by rather aggressive microtransactions, as these sorts of games often are. We know the Seven Seas are a dog eat dog world and Skull and Bones is a game about pirating, but there’s a reason we don’t see games like this – open world live service games and MMORPGs – force PvP combat on players. It’s offputting and a surefire way to give your players a reason to stop playing.

Is Skull and Bones going to be one of the best RPG games available when it drops, then? We doubt that, especially if all the good stuff is hidden away behind PvP combat. Still, if you are looking forward to it, you should check out the best Xbox expansion cards and best PS5 SSD options ahead of time. The leaks may claim the map is still too small, but this will be a big game when it comes to storage space – Ubisoft’s open world games often are.