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Pirate Lore: Welcome to the Indian Ocean

A week-long chase. A battle involving more than a thousand men aboard dozens of ships, armed to the teeth aboard the most powerful weapons on earth. The equivalent of a hundred million US dollars in the pockets of but a few surviving men.

No, this is not a script for the latest Hollywood blockbuster; it’s a very real event, one of the greatest heists in history, when Henry Every gathered a makeshift gang of fearsome Pirates to take down the Ganj-i-Sawai and her grand escort.

The battle itself took place over several days, split into multiple skirmishes with ships such as the 600 ton Fateh Muhammed and other Mughal ships – many equalling or surpassing the Pirate fleet in both man and fire-power.

Its final act came as the Every’s ship, The Fancy, caught up with her prize, the Ganj-i-Saway. Had the battle been a numbers game, Every would have no chance; pitting his crew of less than a hundred versus four hundred musketeers. But naval combat is not about statistical superiority – tactics, quick wits and a dab of luck will often lead to victory.

For the Fancy’s crew, the advantage came in an opening volley that left her foe dead in the water. Being robbed of its mobility, the Ganj-i-Saway was open to boarding and severely handicapped. Every’s experienced crew, albeit having suffered losses, could capture the rest of the ship by musket and sword in just a few hours. Proving once and for all that no one is too big to fail.

These are the stories that inspired Ubisoft Singapore to create Skull and Bones – an evolving, reactive systemic word where players are free to create their own epic tales.

One man’s legend perfectly sets the stage for the Indian Ocean during the Golden Age of Piracy; an unforgiving and treacherous sea where the fiercest and most daring Pirates converged from all corners of the known world some twenty-five years after Every’s famous deed. Thirsty for exotic treasures and a new frontier.

Olivier Levasseur, an infamous French pirate operating out of Madagascar who earned his nickname ‘La Buse’ (The Buzzard) from the speed and ferocity of his attacks, buried a treasure which is still being actively searched for today - some 300 years later - rumoured to be worth more than one billion dollars.

On the opposite side of the Indian Ocean, the Bugis Pirates ruled the Strait of Malacca, striking terror into Dutch and English sailors alike. Fear the Bugi man, advice any sailor would be wise to adhere lest he lose his life.

To survive these waters, Pirates were forced to think and act outside codes previously established, adapting different mentalities and rules as they travel between regions. No longer could crews from the Caribbean count on a ubiquitous us versus them mentality. By releasing the King James’ Pardon, the Empires had won and brotherhood became a thing of the past. When a ship made the Pirate Round, crossing over to a new ocean past the Cape of Good Hope, they left all which was known and sacred behind.

The ones who did not, would not survive long enough to tell the tale of their misguided honour.

One might think that, with the Empires busy in the Americas, these waters would be ripe with easy bounty. Unfortunately for the Pirates, that kind of reasoning would be a sure-fire shortcut to an untimely demise. Whereas the kings and queens of Europe would protect their national interests and trade, their unethical practices were infantile compared to the exploits of the Dutch East India Company, also known as the VoC.

Widely accepted as the first real mega-corporation, the VoC was so powerful that sovereign states recognized their rights to declare wars, establish colonies and strike their own coin. Armed with seemingly infinite resources, manpower and influence – this was the ever-present face of oppression and danger for Pirates in the Indian Ocean.

The year is 1721.

Skull and Bones places you at the helm of a ship in the midst of these turbulent times, just as the most unyielding Caribbean Pirates have refused the King James’ Pardon and once again braved the Pirate Round. No longer being able to easily prey on the Empires’ bountiful merchants, captains now found themselves in a sea where only the apex predators live long enough to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

This is where your story begins. A new captain with a war-torn crew, on the cusp of the grandest adventure yet to be had. What awaits is violence, plunder, treachery, friendship and maybe, at the end of the road, a legend of your own.