Ubisoft's Skull & Bones Single Player Campaign is a "Shared-Narrative" and Not a Separate Experience

Upcoming new pirate-themed IP and PS4, Xbox One, and PC game, Skull & Bones, will not contain a one-off campaign akin to the campaigns found in games like Call of Duty or Gears of War.

By Tyler Fischer

August 7, 2017

When Ubisoft Singapore revealed Skull & Bones  during E3 2017, it said the new pirate-themed IP will indeed posses a single-player campaign.

However, at the time, the game was being pitched as predominately a multiplayer game, which in turn left many gamers wondering how much of a single-player campaign would be included, and whether or not it would even be the story-driven experience everyone is likely hoping for from such a feature.

That being said, speaking to GameSpotSkull & Bones’ creative director Justin Farren mentions that he is a big fan of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, which as you will know was received as one of the best games last generation thanks to its unforgettable narrative. However, while Farren is a fan of such experiences, it doesn’t look like such a narrative  will make its way over into Skull & Bones, which is dipping more into the “shared-narrative” approach.

Farren specifically says the following about the game’s campaign:

“The narrative where people can broadcast or stream what they’re doing and it’s a unique experience to that player. So, we wanted to take that approach. 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. But we didn’t want it to be separate, that you just consumed and never looked back.”

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As you can see in the above quote, the game’s single player campaign will not be a separate experience that you can consume and then move on from. Rather, it is an experience similarly pitched to how Destiny’s narrative was pitched, an experience unique to player that will unravel over the months and years one plays. Farren continues:

“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. 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.”

The creative director adds:

“It’s different. There’s not a lot of games that do this, but we really think that this is where people really want to experience narrative on a personal level, where they can effectively change the world. People always say, ‘It’s a living, breathing world.’ Well, we really take that to heart. We want to create a world that actually reacts to the things that you do in it.”

When asked to clarify if the game’s single-player is at all separate, Farren replied that it’s “woven into it.” Thus “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,” according to Farren.

For further clarification at what Ubisoft Singapore is going for with Skull & Bones, Farren mentions how Call of Duty campaigns are a separate and different experience from the series’ multiplayer. Further, Gears of War features a separate multiplayer and single-player, where the people who play the multiplayer are sometimes really different than the people who invest in the series’ single-player campaigns. Skull & Bones wants to avoid this. Farren specifically mentions the team wants “to bring those experiences closer together,” and that if there was a “one-off campaign” it “would be a shame.”

Skull & Bones is slated to release sometime during fall 2018 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

For more information on Skull & Bones, be sure to check out our previous post that details the game, as well as our latest post that goes into how Ubisoft Singapore is hoping to create a long-term experience and how the response to the game so far has been amazing.

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Tyler Fischer

Tyler Fischer is the Assignments Editor and News Editor at DualShockers. He specializes in writing breaking news, managing assignments, and organization. Born and raised in New York, Tyler studies journalism and public relations at SUNY New Paltz. In his free time he enjoys playing and watching soccer, getting lost in game lore, and writing comedy scripts.

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