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Something to look forward to: After almost a decade of development, Ubisoft's Skull & Bones hit a significant milestone indicating an imminent release – unveiling the PC system requirements. When it launches this November, it may be the first game to include Nvidia DLSS, AMD FSR, and Intel XeSS.
On Thursday, Ubisoft shared a rundown of the PC system requirements and features for its upcoming pirate sandbox game Skull & Bones. It's one of the first major releases to forego supporting the last-generation consoles, so its demands on PC are understandably a step up from what many users may be used to.
Many AAA games over the last few years, including Spider-Man Remastered, have listed the GTX 1060 – currently the most popular GPU on Steam – as the recommended card for playing at 60 frames per second in 1080p at high settings. For Skull & Bones, it and AMD's Radeon RX 570 are the minimum for 1080p 30fps gameplay at low settings. For 1080p 60fps at high-settings, Ubisoft recommends an RTX 2070 or an RX 5700 XT.
Interestingly, the top specification that Ubisoft lists – 4K at 60fps with ultra settings, takes DLSS and FSR into account. Those image reconstruction algorithms significantly increase framerates with minimal image quality loss, but most games that support them don't incorporate their effects into system requirements. At 4K, Ubisoft suggests a 3080 using DLSS Balanced Mode (upscaling from 2227 x 1253) or a 6800 XT using FSR Balanced Mode (2259 x 1270) for 60fps gameplay. The PC version's implementation of ray-traced global illumination is likely the principal driver of these harsh system requirements.
Ubisoft expects users to have 65GB of free SSD space for Skull & Bones, as well as 16GB of RAM for everything but the lowest spec, which recommends just 8GB. The rest of the requirements are as follows:
1080p 30fps Low settings
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB) / AMD Radeon RX 570 (4GB)
- CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 / AMD Ryzen 5 1600
1080p 60fps High settings
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 2070 (8GB) / AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT (8GB)
- CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K / AMD Ryzen 5 3600
1440p 60fps High settings
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 (8GB) / AMD Radeon RX 6800 (16GB)
- CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K / AMD Ryzen 5 5600 X
4K 60fps Ultra settings (DLSS/FSR Balanced Preset)
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (10GB) DLSS Balanced / AMD Radeon 6800 XT (16GB) FSR Balanced
- CPU: Intel Core i5-11600K / AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
Skull & Bones will also support XeSS, Intel's take on image reconstruction which works similarly to DLSS. However, it might be easy to miss XeSS in the list of the game's PC features, since Ubisoft only mentions it in the description of the PC spec trailer on YouTube.
Only a handful of other titles advertise support for all three reconstruction methods, but none have implemented all three yet. Depending on when a XeSS update comes to games like Death Stranding or Ghostwire: Tokyo, Skull & Bones could be the first, finally giving users an opportunity for a three-way comparison.
Currently, only Intel's Arc GPUs can use XeSS, but the company plans to bring the feature to other hardware using DP4a instruction. The entry-level Arc A380 is available now, while Intel hopes to launch higher-end models like the A750 later this year.
Ubisoft's high seas sandbox game has had a tumultuous nine-year development cycle that included multiple delays and significant changes to its structure. It launches on November 8 for the Epic Games Store, Ubisoft Connect, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series consoles, Stadia, and Amazon Luna.