The Skull and Bones Open Beta is soon to be with us but how do you get to take part? Is it free and can anybody have a go? We have the answers to all this and more as the much-anticipated pirate ‘em-up prepares to board our gaming rigs after many, many years in development.

What is the Skull and Bones Open Beta

Ubisoft wants as many people as possible to give Skull and Bones a go when it comes to its open beta. This is a good sign for those who are skeptical about whether it will be worth playing or not. For what it’s worth, we think it is going to be huge, but why listen to us when you can give it a go yourself? While it may not be smooth sailing, it is a beta after all, it gives the players and devs a chance to see the game perform in a real-world setting so any last bugs can be ironed out.

What is in the Skull and Bones Open Beta?

While you will be able to do many things in the Open Beta, it is important to remember that it is not the full Skull and Bones experience here. You will be able to sail, not so much the seven seas, but a corner of the game at least, try out a few ships, safe in the knowledge that any progression you do make will be carried over to the game proper, which is a bit unusual for a beta test.

Skull and Bones Preload times

The game has just gone live for pre-loading, so you can grab it now and jump straight in the second it opens up. We advise pre-loading just because, as with anything like this, the servers are likely to be hammered at launch time, and you should do anything you can to mitigate waiting times.

Image of a ship sailing through the waters in Skull and Bones.

Skull and Bones Open Beta – when does it start and finish?

You will only have a window of a few days to get your pirating in, so if you want to maximize your playtime, set your reminders for these dates.

Open Beta Begins

  • 7 February 2024, 6 PM (PT)
  • 8 February 2024, 2 AM (GMT)

Open Beta Ends

  • 11 February 2024, 3 PM (PT)
  • 11 February 2024, 11 PM (GMT)

How to play the Open Beta

You can play the Skull and Bones beta for free via Ubisoft Connect or Epic Game Store. If you can’t see it in the free games section and want to download it in advance, search for Skull and Bones. We looked on the Epic Game Store and found it listed there, but to download it and pre-install you must add it to your cart (free) and check out. It will then give you the option to install your new content. You obviously will not be able to play until the 8th though.

You can check out all the ships in Skull and Bones that you will be able to craft and sail, so you can get a head start deciding what path to take.

Skull and Bones Beta Rewards

Ubisoft is offering some cosmetic incentives for helping them test the seaworthiness of Skul and Bones, so by playing the beta you can pick up these rewards.

  • Sir Reginald Grim Sail emblem – Reach Tier 2
  • Tarred Sail pattern – Reach Tier 4
  • Sign Language emote – Reach Tier 6
  • ‘Cookie’ the lemur pet – Use a medium ship
  • ‘Basilisk I’ Culverin weapon – Participate in a world event

We will see you on the High Seas.

Paul McNally

Gaming Editor

Paul McNally has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision in 1980. He has been a prominent games journalist since the 1990s, spending over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title published by IDG Media. Having spent time as Head of Communications at a professional sports club and working for high-profile charities such as the National Literacy Trust, he returned as Managing Editor in charge of large US-based technology websites in 2020. Paul has written high-end gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine, PlayStation Pro, Amiga Action, Mega Action, ST Action, GQ, Loaded, and the The Mirror. He has also hosted panels at retro-gaming conventions and can regularly be found guesting on gaming podcasts and Twitch shows. He is obsessed with 3D printing and has worked with several major brands in the past to create content Believing that the reader deserves actually to enjoy what they are reading is a big part of Paul’s ethos when it comes to gaming journalism, elevating the sites he works on above the norm. Reach out on X.