A Skull and Bones open beta is coming in February promising ship battles and plunder galore

A pirate in Skull and Bones
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

In a stroke of exciting news for seafarers and pirates, Ubisoft has announced that multiplayer open-world pirate sim Skull and Bones will get an open beta ahead of its imminent February 16 launch. 

The open beta will begin on February 7 at 6pm PT (which is 2am GMT and 1pm AET on February 8) and run until 3pm PT on February 11 (which works out as 11pm GMT, and 10am AET on February 12).

You can join in through the Epic Games Store, the Ubisoft Store, on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. According to the Ubisoft website, the beta will be "open to everyone" (via PC Gamer). This is the first time that Skull and Bones has been available in an open beta, with all previous betas being distinctly closed affairs

Players will be able to take on Main Campaign Contracts and gain Infamy - how players level up in Skull and Bones. However, both are locked to prevent players from progressing too far during the beta. As Ubisoft puts it: "You will be able to play and experience the world of Skull and Bones up to the rank of Brigand (Tier 6 rank 1)." Judging by the Deep Dive Trailer from last December, this will likely involve you serving a pirate kingpin but will cut off progression before you can start to run an independent pirate empire. 

Open beta participants will also get a set of exclusive rewards ranging from a fancy sail emblem to a pet lemur. 

The announcement also came hand-in-hand with a Roadmap Trailer which you can see below.

Ubisoft has four seasons planned for its first year of content, each including new events, rewards, and themed battles.

In case there was any doubt at this stage, Skull and Bones will be following the live service model embodied by the likes of Sea of Thieves and Destiny 2. This means that Ubisoft has set itself a considerable challenge when it comes to keeping Skull and Bones an attractive prospect for players throughout its lifecycle. 

The prospect of dramatic naval battles and piratical treasure hunts has certainly piqued my interest; I'll see you on the high seas on February 11.

In the meantime, check out our lists of the best co-op games and best survival games for more tense action. 

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 

Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 

Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.