Ubisoft's Skull and Bones sea shanty was this year's best gaming showcase musical performance

Baritone sea shanties were big on TikTok what, two years ago? They're old news now, but a big publisher like Ubisoft moves at its own pace, and given that its multiplayer sea combat game Skull and Bones has been something like 10 years in the making, I can hardly complain that the resonant sea shanty performed at Ubisoft Forward today feels late to the party.

Plus, sea shanties were a popular part of 2013's Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, which Skull and Bones was originally an expansion for, so Ubisoft has arguably been ahead of the game this whole time. In any case, it was my favorite musical performance of the summer showcases so far. Who doesn't like a shanty? Simple, catchy. 

It's subsided now, but several years ago we liked to joke about the prevalence of what we called "stomp-clap" songs at E3—you know, Mumford and Sons stuff—and this has definite stomp-clap energy. Maybe it's making a comeback.

As for Skull and Bones itself, well... I'm not ready to give up on it, but what we've seen so far hasn't blown us away. Ubisoft is nothing if not persistent, though: It made Rainbow Six Siege work (well, sort of), and it stuck with For Honor, so maybe the long development of Skull and Bones is just Ubisoft doing all that reworking and updating before release instead of after. One can dream!

The announcement accompanying the yo-ho-yo-hos is a closed beta that'll run from August 25-28. You can sign up for a chance to participate at the official Skull and Bones site.

The video embedded at the top of this article features the shanty in question, but it was also performed live on the Ubisoft Forward stage.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.