Skull and Bones Interview With Karl Luhe

Gaming Instincts recently had the opportunity to speak with Karl Luhe, the Producer of Skull and Bones, at E3 about the Game and its features, you can watch the interview below:

Below is a transcript of the interview:

Leonid Melikhov

Hey guys, welcome to Gaming Instincts TV and today we’ll be talking about Skull and Bones with…

Karl Luhe

Karl Luhe, Producer of Skull and Bones at Ubisoft Singapore.

Leonid Melikhov

Awesome man, nice to meet you. How’s your day today?

Karl Luhe

Very Good, it’s fantastic to get our demo out there into lots of hands of players and journalists and influencers and listening to their feedback and seeing how much they’re enjoying our shared world.

Leonid Melikhov

I see. So, Skull and Bones is a pirate IP and it’s something you guys have kind of been hinting at, I remember with the polls. With the success of Black Flag, people are like, “Make a pirate game! Make a pirate game!” You know, there was Sea of Thieves from Microsoft which was a little bit of a different game, but still has the piracy theme, and obviously, you guys have full on PvP combat and full on brutal piracy going on. So, what made you go into that?

Karl Luhe

Absolutely, so even as Assassin’s Creed III and certainly with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, it was clear that the naval combat was really rich and really interesting, and we saw that players spent a lot of time on the ocean in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and really enjoyed the open world of just sailing around in their ship. So, we thought it would be fantastic to take that further, have a multiplayer game where you can have many different ships that you can upgrade and go out there and engage in a compelling loop.

Leonid Melikhov

So, tell me about the gameplay a little bit. How do you plan on making the game engaging enough to keep playing, as opposed to other games that may seem repetitive?

Karl Luhe

What we think is really unique about our game is that shared PvPvE world. Not knowing when you’re going to see another player and when you see that other player, what are each of you going to do? Because often you will see them at a distance, you’ll have time to think about, “Do I want to invite them to my group, do I want to take on challenges bigger than I can do myself?” by going towards coop aggregators like the fort or some really big AI ships we have in the world. So that social interaction, each time is going to be really interesting, and the motivation loop for the player will always be high-risk, high-reward. Getting the most out of each hunt. So, preparing for your hunt in the hideout, taking the right ship, talking to Tal’Jihd, your fortune teller, understanding what the state of the world is, and going out there, getting as much as you can, and then bringing it back to upgrade.

Leonid Melikhov

So what kind of stuff can you collect? Like gear for your ship? I remember when I was playing it, I got different types of chests with different rarities and things like that. So, talk about the loot system in that sense?

Karl Luhe

Absolutely. So, when you board a ship, you’ll often get a chest from that. You can also interact with certain locations in the world where your crew will get off the ship and find a chest, whether its on a beach or from a shipwreck. So, these chests you’ll open when you’ll open when you’re back in the hideout. On top of that, when you use your spyglass you can see what each ship in the world has on it, so that’s the way of picking your prey and deciding what you want to hunt. Often, it’ll be a merchant, that ideally will be a little bit on its own and you’ll be, “Okay that’s easy pickings, I like what it’s got. I need wood to upgrade my ship. He’s got wood. I’m going to go after him.”

Leonid Melikhov

So, it’s more about upgrading and being constantly better than everybody else.

Karl Luhe

That’s definitely one of the main motivations.

Leonid Melikhov

That’s the thrill of the hunt, you never know what you’re going to bump into or what you might see, and things might just change on the fly really quickly.

Karl Luhe

Exactly, Exactly. The world reacts to your actions. The longer you stay out there, the more attractive target you become, because suddenly your cargo is full and you’re like “oh there’s just a bit more wood, I want to take that.” But suddenly, you’re becoming very attractive to other players as a target.

Leonid Melikhov

What about the variety of ships? Because I remember in the demo, I played three different ships. Some of them have ramming capabilities, other ones have really strong front cannons. Didn’t get a chance to check out the other ship, but is it just three ships or do you have something else planned or how is it going to go?

Karl Luhe

Oh, we’re going to have a lot more ships at launch. We just wanted to show these three ships at E3. Two of them are within the brigantine class, the other one is a frigate, and we wanted to show that even within a class, ships can be very different. So, the two brigantines, there’ the Blackhorn, which specializes in the ram, and there’s the Jäger, which has very strong, precise, front cannons. The third one is the Royal Fortune, which is a frigate with a huge broadside. Its special ability is to drop anchor and go into Siege Mode where it can just launch broadside after broadside.

Leonid Melikhov

I see, I see, Awesome. For PvP, how often did you guys gauge on when you meet players? Is it every fifteen minutes, every twenty minutes, that you designed the game to meet other people, like when people spawn in the world? Is it just one world? Is it servers? Is it instanced? How is that going to work?

Karl Luhe

So, what we’re showing here at E3 is the Hunting Grounds which we feel is the essence of Skull and Bones and it is a 10-player shared world. Dedicated servers will host ten players, and we feel that is the right number of density for the number of times that you see another player. We don’t want to be that you are going to see players all the time. We want it to be an interesting moment when you come across a player and often if you just want to go for a quick hunt, grab some easy pickings off some merchants, you’ll be able to just quickly do that and get back to your hideout without engaging with other players.

Leonid Melikhov

And you said you can group up with other ships. Do you actually invite them to your party or is it like, “I’m hoping he’s not going to shoot me.” How does that work?

Karl Luhe

We do have a grouping feature. That’s very important to us. So, when you look through your spyglass you’ll see a prompt saying, “send invite” and the other player will receive an invite saying, “do you want to group with player 2?” or whatever the player number is and if they accept then you become grouped and friendly fire is turned off and then you can take on other ships together.

Leonid Melikhov

Awesome how long has the game been in development for?

Karl Luhe

We’ve dreamt about making this game ever since Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Leonid Melikhov

So, the concepts been started since then? That’s a long time ago.

Karl Luhe

Yeah that’s a really exciting opportunity for us and we really want to make sure its ready when its comes out

Leonid Melikhov

Probably needed new hardware to do it because obviously, the game looks gorgeous.

Karl Luhe

yeah, we’ve been experts at developing the ocean technology for many years but taking that to a multiplayer context…

Leonid Melikhov

…Complicates things…

Karl Luhe

…Complicates things and the replication of having ten players in the world…

Leonid Melikhov

What engine are you guys using?

Karl Luhe

Anvil

Leonid Melikhov

Is it the same one for Assassin’s Creed?

Karl Luhe

Correct

Leonid Melikhov

And for the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X, what are you guys looking to enhance? Is it going to be resolution for you guys or maybe a little bit of both? Performance or both modes where you can switch from mid/high or something like that? A lot of games do that. Performance or high-fidelity visuals?

Karl Luhe

Yeah, we will continue looking at getting the most out of all of our platforms. Right now, we’re really focused on nailing what is the experience and then we’ll make sure our tech teams are focused on every version of the game, bringing the most out of those consoles.

Leonid Melikhov

How close do you think the game is to being done?

Karl Luhe

Well, we just announced a 2019 release date.

Leonid Melikhov

Are you looking maybe in the fall/winter or more like the beginning of the year?

Karl Luhe

We can’t comment more at the moment.

Leonid Melikhov

That’s fair enough, I was just curious. But it’s definitely coming out next year. Is there going to be a public beta?

Karl Luhe

Absolutely. So, there will be live phases. You can register for those at skullandbonesgame.com and we’ll have more details on that. The registration for the beta is already open.

Leonid Melikhov

Right. It’s coming to PC, X Box One, and PS4?

Karl Luhe

Correct.

Leonid Melikhov

Now there’s been rumors, I’m going to ask this, you’re probably not going to be able to answer, but I’m going to ask you anyway, it’s just what I do. You know there’s been a little bit of talk, is there a chance in the future that this game could be playable on a new generation console as a cross-platform game?

Karl Luhe

Right now, we’re fully focused on PC, Play Station 4, and Xbox One

Leonid Melikhov

No Nintendo Switch?

Karl Luhe

Currently, our focus is only on the platforms just mentioned.

Leonid Melikhov

I see. If there’s one thing that you would like to tell to the players or people who are looking forward to pirate games, what would you like to say?

Karl Luhe

For the ultimate pirate experience, to find out what type of pirate you truly are, register for skullandbonesgame.com and become the ultimate pirate of the Indian Ocean.

Leonid Melikhov

I have one particular question that’s been very big for a lot of people including myself when I first saw the game at last year’s E3. Where is the land combat?

Karl Luhe

As we introduced in the gameplay trailer at the conference, there is a hideout, where you as a pirate captain can walk around and plan your next hunt. The core of the gameplay will always be you at the helm of your ship as the pirate captain

Leonid Melikhov

You can’t go out on a random beach and start fighting or anything like that.

Karl Luhe

The focus of player navigation is you at the hideout.

Leonid Melikhov

Alright, sounds good. Thank you so much, man I really appreciate it.

Karl Luhe

Thank you.

 

If you missed it in the transcript, the beta sign-ups for Skull and Bones are right here!

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