Everything Skull & Bones Can Plunder From Assassin's Creed Black Flag

Ubisoft Singapore's Skull and Bones can borrow elements from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and because the game is a Black Flag-inspired pirate video game, it makes sense that utilizing similar mechanics would work well considering past success. However, Skull and Bones isn't a part of the Assassin's Creed franchise any longer, so making it feel too much like a recycled game won't be in Ubisoft's best interest either. According to recent leaks, however, the studio needs to do something to freshen up the gameplay before launch.

Skull and Bones was first announced at E3 in 2017, despite existing in some form since 2013. Since then, it's undergone significant criticism from testers participating in the Insider Progam, mainly due to the lack of content and unpleasant combat controls. Outwardly, Ubisoft hasn't said much about the state of the game other than announcing delays. Despite the lengthy development process and criticism, it seems Ubisoft won't scrap Skull and Bones because of the time, resources, and effort already sunk into the massive AAA project. After all, the game is supposed to be an online multiplayer experience geared at longevity, much like For Honor. Many in the community following the project have said implementing similar Black Flag elements would help fix some of the game's fundamental problems.

Related: Skull & Bones Will Feature Open World Based on Madagascar, Per Leak

Skull and Bones' game mechanics would improve if it borrowed similar elements from Black Flag. These include aspects from the sailing and combat mechanics, upgrade and progression system, and featured land exploration options. While Ubisoft Singapore is trying to make a different mark with Skull And Bones as a separate multiplayer pirate game, the studio also needs to understand what fans enjoyed about best Assassin's Creed game. The studio doesn't need to recreate everything from the ground up - it just needs to make the game an enjoyable experience.

From the leaked Skull and Bones gameplay footage seen so far, the sailing navigation system looks complex, but Ubisoft should stick to building on its past Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag controls. If the game is going to be multiplayer-focused, players will want to spend more time learning combat rather than worrying about a confusing navigation learning curve. In Black Flag, players essentially have two options - speed up and slow down, while also using traditional turning controls with the analog sticks or WASD keys. Ubisoft knew it had created a successful navigation system, which is why Assassin's Creed Valhalla adopted Black Flag sailing controls too. New elements, such as Skull and Bones' directional wind indicator work fine for the game and add in exclusive aspects, but it should stick to Black Flag's simple, tried-and-true navigation controls.

In addition to the navigation system, Skull and Bones should also think about adopting some of Black Flags' combat mechanics. Currently, the combat system looks like it could bring a fresh feel to naval battles that have not been experienced before in a pirate video game. However, with the general lack of gameplay footage, the effectiveness of the new ideas remains to be seen. One Black Flag mechanic, in particular - boarding battles - is an aspect that Skull and Bones should heavily consider bringing over. This would not only add another type of combat, but it would also add depth to Skull and Bones' open-world pirate experience. If Ubisoft adds boarding battles in, it means that first- or third-person hand-to-hand combat must also be taken into consideration. However, this isn't likely because Skull and Bones multiplayer suggest it'll play more like World of Tanks rather than Black Flag.

Skull and Bones can borrow many facets from Black Flag's upgrade and progression system, as it pairs well with the incentive to win naval battles. Currently, Skull and Bones is utilizing a class-based system for its different types of ships; the three known so far are the Black Horn, Jaeger, and Royal Fortune, with each bringing a different tactic to the battleground. Having a class system can work well with a multiplayer-focused game, but Skull and Bones leaked gameplay footage hasn't shown what the upgrade and progression system will fully consist of yet. Since the game was initially supposed to be a Black Flag DLC, it should bring over the customizable categories as well as a similar progression system. Ubisoft could even make certain parts of the ship require specific materials for upgrades, just as Black Flag did. This would incentivize players to go after different types of ships for their cargo.

Related: Skull & Bones Becomes 'Multiplayer-First' Amidst Delays & Uncertainty

One piece of confirmed information taken from the leaked gameplay proves that Skull and Bones already has more ship weapons to offer than Black Flag did. If Ubisoft is using a similar Black Flag upgrade and progression system, it would work perfectly to integrate the new weapons and build on the old. One thing Skull and Bones could improve upon is how powerful the weapons and ship armor can become.

Recent news indicates that Skull and Bones won't feature land-based PvP, but that would be a huge disappointment considering how enjoyable land battles were in Black Flag. One of Ubisoft's specialties is building open-world experiences. In Black Flag, the studio did that well with island-looting and battling pirate-controlled or government-controlled forts. They weren't just an enjoyable experience, but they also helped players gather and earn resources. Skull and Bones needs to take advantage of this, especially since the game is set in the Indian Ocean, a location that hasn't been explored all that much in a video game yet; having only ship battles could risk becoming monotonous quickly, however. Bringing in some kind of land-oriented missions or battles would help ensure it has enough variety to sustain itself.

There are any number of elements that Skull and Bones should borrow from Black Flag, many of which would fix some problems the game seems to have been having over its last tumultuous years. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is arguably the franchise's best game yet, so building on its past success should be a no-brainer. As of now, the game's release date is still a mystery, and given its nine-year development and ongoing lack of information, there's no telling when it might get one. However, Skull and Bones is still seeking playtesters, which hopefully means it's moving closer to something official.

Next: Ubisoft's Skull & Bones Reportedly Restarted Development From Scratch

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