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The Skull and Bones beta is finally coming, but there’s a catch

The long-awaited Skull and Bones beta is finally on the horizon, so man the anchor, hoist the sails, and make sure you sign up on time.

The Skull and Bones beta is finally coming, but there's a catch: A person in a black hood with a skeletal mask missing the jaw illuminated by a green background

The Skull and Bones beta. In many ways, it doesn’t feel real. After seemingly countless delays, Ubisoft’s pirate game is being unleashed upon the masses once more – but if you want to sign up and secure your spot on the crew, I’d suggest you do so quickly.

Quite honestly, I assumed that Skull and Bones had been canceled entirely. Ubisoft’s pirate game has been delayed, and delayed, and delayed, so imagine my face when the official Skull and Bones release date was confirmed at The Game Awards. It was one of shock, disbelief, and, quite honestly, a dash of scepticism.

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However, Ubisoft didn’t just reveal the release date. As of last night, a second beta website has launched, urging players to sign up and try the game out for themselves. With a focus on the mysterious Red Isles and the Coast of Africa, you’ll finally be able to take the first few steps down the path of piracy and lawlessness.

Players will be able to complete main scenario-style Golden Path contracts, but Ubisoft encourages you to “go off the beaten path and forge your pirate adventure.” After all, you’ll only have six hours of playtime, so you’d best make the most of it.

Three characters stand in front of a huge pirate ship with a skeleton on the front and huge tattered sails

Skull and Bones beta start date, time, and preload

The Skull and Bones beta will run from Thursday December 14 at 6pm PST / 9pm EST, or Friday December 15 at 2am GMT / 3am CEST / 1PM AEST,  until Monday, December 18 at 12am PST / 3am EST / 8am GMT / 9am CEST / 7pm AEST.

You’ll be able to preload the Skull and Bones beta, too, with the relevant times listed below:

  • The Americas – Tuesday, December 12 at 1am PST / 4am EST
  • Europe – Tuesday, December 12 at 9am GMT / 10am CEST
  • Oceania and Asia – Tuesday, December 12 at 8pm AET.

An infographic showing the times for the skull and bones closed beta in December 2023

But that’s not all. Ubisoft has confirmed that, using your Ubisoft Connect account, you can invite two other players to raid, plunder, and pillage alongside you. Note that your friends also require a Ubisoft Connect account.

To invite your bloodthirsty pals:

  • When you get your confirmation email, select ‘Invite My Friends.’
  • Select your friend from your friends list.
  • They’ll then receive a notification to the email address connected to their Ubisoft account.

Skull and Bones beta rewards

You can also earn a slew of different Skull and Bones beta rewards for participating, including:

  • The ‘Spoken For’ emote – Complete a world event.
  • A firework – Play the full six hours of the beta.
  • The Pioneer Ship Vanity Set – Craft and sail a Bedar.

All of the rewards for participating in the Skull and Bones beta, including a huge ship cosmetic pack, a firework, and a pirate emoting

Ye interested, skallywag? Make sure you sign up for the closed beta test here. You’ll receive a confirmation email if you’re selected.

As we draw ever closer to the adventure of a lifetime, though, make sure you check out the Skull and Bones system requirements to ensure your drafty old rig is up to scratch. And, for when you’ve exhausted those precious six hours, we have a list of the best multiplayer games for you and your friends to wile away the hours on until February.

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