I can't believe I'm saying this but Skull and Bones hasn't been delayed again: A new release date was announced at The Game Awards

Well, it's finally happened: Skull and Bones has a release date. Yes, another one. Revealed tonight at The Game Awards, Ubisoft's repeatedly-delayed game of piracy on the high seas is now set to launch on February 16, 2024, following a closed beta test set to run December 15-18.

Skull and Bones has been delayed so many times previously it's become something of a running gag, as you may have noticed. The most recent delay landed in October, when it was moved to late in Ubisoft's 2023-24 fiscal year. On a calendar, that put it between January 1 and March 31, 2024, which this new date fits into nicely.

The new trailer takes a bit more of a supernatural tack than we've seen in the past, giving Skull and Bones a bit more of a Sea of Thieves vibe, superficially at least. 

But it's the gameplay that's always been the core issue for me: Our first look at it, back in July 2022, mainly left me wanting to get back into Sea of Thieves, and a more recent showcase in January of this year didn't knock my socks off either. It just doesn't look very interactive or exciting: As we noted in that January presentation, plundering ports is simply a matter of pulling up close enough, pressing the "plunder" button, and waiting for a timer to tick down.

Ubisoft has no doubt been working furiously to improve that gameplay loop, and I really hope it's been successful. But I also have to assume that even a year-long delay isn't enough time to dramatically overhaul such fundamental aspects of the game. Ubisoft also dropped a new gameplay deep dive trailer tonight that, and frankly it doesn't look meaningfully different than what we've seen previously.

So, will Skull and Bones be better than what we were shown in January? We shall see! Will it actually come out in February 2024? To that too, I say, we shall see.

To sign up for the upcoming closed beta test and "future live phases," head over to skullandbonesgame.com.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.