This Ubisoft game escaped development hell and it's free to play, but not for much longer

Skull and Bones sea monster
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

What you need to know

  • Skull and Bones is a pirate adventure game developed and published by Ubisoft. 
  • Skull and Bones was infamously in development for several years before finally launching earlier in 2024. 
  • From now until June 6, Skull and Bones is free to play across Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC (via Ubisoft Connect and the Epic Games Store), and PlayStation 5.

If you've been waiting to check out one of Ubisoft's latest games, it's time to strike.

Pirate adventure Skull and Bones is now available to play for free until June 6 on Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC (via Ubisoft Connect and the Epic Games Store), and PlayStation 5. The exact time the free session ends varies by platform, with Xbox players having access until 12:00 a.m. PT, while PlayStation and PC users will have access until 5:00 a.m. PT.

Skull and Bones

Skull and Bones

Skull and Bones is available now, and if you haven't bought it yet, you can check it out for free right now across your platform of choice. Act fast, because it's only free to play through June 6!

Free to play: Epic Games Store | PlayStation | Ubisoft Connect | Xbox

This free period includes the entire game, so there's nothing in Skull and Bones that you can't achieve if you play enough right now. After the free play period is over, your progress will be retained if you then choose to buy the game, so you won't have to re-grind any achievements or work you put in. 

Skull and Bones was almost a decade in the making

First unveiled at E3 2017, Skull and Bones was in development for a very, very long time, with work first beginning over a decade ago in 2013. The team at Ubisoft Singapore started experimenting following inspiration from the ship battles in the wildly popular Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

Skull and Bones then changed significantly over the years, with differences in game direction, mechanics, and even basic functionality shifting wildly between versions. Skull and Bones was infamously delayed over and over and over again, with the regularity of said delays becoming a bit of a running joke whenever people would look forward to Ubisoft's financial statements.

The game did eventually launch however, finally being released into the wild in February 2024. Per Ubisoft, the game generated "strong engagement," and it is currently the 15th best-selling game of 2024 in the U.S, according to Circana

Analysis: A neat offer

I haven't checked out Skull and Bones yet, but this is a good way for Ubisoft to try and hook more players into the experience. It also makes me wonder just how well Skull and Bones would've done if it was put on a console subscription service day one (or shortly after launch) instead of remaining solely a paid experience. 

There's no denying this game had a long, rough road to launch, but I do genuinely hope players are having fun and it can grow into an evergreen success for Ubisoft. 

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.