12 best pirate games to play in 2024, from Starfield to Sea of Thieves

12 best pirate games to play in 2024, from Starfield to Sea of Thieves
Image via Ubisoft

Written by 

Morgan Truder

Last updated 

4th Mar 2024 13:50

If you're looking for a list of the best pirate games to play in 2024, we have you covered.

Pirate games, despite just how much enjoyment you can gain from them, are few and far between. Ubisoft has finally released Skull and Bones after teasing it for what feels like forever, but aside from that, we haven't seen many pirate games released lately.

Pirate games have the potential to focus on exploration and crafting your journey. Few settings lend themselves to this gameplay style as well as exploring the high seas or even the stars.

Best pirate games to play in 2024

For this list of the best pirate games, we've broken down a selection of titles that are filled with adventure, take you on an epic voyage and allow you to pirate and pillage to your heart's content, be it on a ship in the sea, or a voyager in the stars.

12. Skull and Bones

A ship firing cannons in Skull and Bones.
Click to enlarge
Image via Ubisoft

Skull and Bones details & key features:

  • Release date: 2024
  • Developer: Ubisoft Singapore
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
  • Key features:
    • Naval warfare
    • Multiplayer functionality
    • Ship customisation and upgrades

The latest addition to the list is a controversial one, as it's not a game that was received very well by a lot of players and critics alike. However, there's a lack of pirate games on the market, and Skull and Bones is one of a few that lets you make your own ship, hire a crew, and set sail to plunder and explore a vast world.

It's not for everyone, but if you're specifically after a game with naval warfare and in-depth ship customisation, this game might be worth trying out.

11. No Man’s Sky 

A Leviathan in No Man's Sky
Click to enlarge
Image via Hello Games

No Man's Sky details & key features:

  • Release date: 2016
  • Developer: Hello Games 
  • Publisher: Hello Games
  • Platforms: PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Nintendo Switch 
  • Key features:
    • Procedurally generated universe
    • Receives frequent large updates
    • Space exploration is fun and expansive

I know what you’re thinking - No Man’s Sky is a space game, not a pirate game. However, one of the most important things about being a pirate is going on the rob - which is something you can do in No Man's Sky. There are also hostile pirates in the world that you’re going to need to watch out for.

If you want to explore space, steal from a space fleet or cargo freighter, or live your life as a space pirate, then fewer games can deliver on that dream as well as No Man’s Sky. You may not be embarking on the ocean, but if we’re being honest, space is just as good - if not better. 

10. One Piece Odyssey 

Straw Hat pirates ship flying in one piece Odyssey
Click to enlarge
Image via Bandai Namco

One Piece Odyssey details & key features:

  • Release date: 2023
  • Developer: ILCA
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco 
  • Platforms: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, PC
  • Key features:
    • Based on a legendary anime
    • Play as iconic characters
    • Learn the story of the series

One Piece Odyssey is a RPG inspired by the incredibly popular, and long-running, manga and anime series that’s now 25 years old. One Piece is the ultimate anime about pirates, so a game inspired by it is a shoo-in for a list of the best pirate games. 

You play as Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirates, who embark on an adventure after they’re shipwrecked. You’re going to need to reunite them and get them back on the high seas. If you want a pirate adventure, look no further than One Piece Odyssey - especially if you're a fan of anime, this is certainly a must-play. 

9. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean 

Two LEGO characters fighting with swords in LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean
Click to enlarge
Image via Disney

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean details & key features:

  • Release date: 2011
  • Developer: TT Fusion | Traveller’s Tales
  • Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
  • Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC 
  • Key features:
    • Recognisable LEGO comedy
    • Based on the film series
    • Can be played solo or co-op

This is the second licensed game on the list and is also one of the most family-friendly pirate games around. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean includes everything we have come to expect from LEGO games, as it follows the first four films with a huge plethora of playable characters to choose from. 

What will help LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean stand out on this list is the split-screen co-op. This means you can play the game with a pal, your children, or anyone who's sat next to you. Also, because this game is licensed, the score is delivered by Hans Zimmer with some of the most memorable music tracks in modern media. 

8. Return of the Obra Dinn 

Hand holding a compass in Return of the Obra Dinn
Click to enlarge
Image via 3909

Return of the Obra Dinn details & key features:

  • Release date: 2018
  • Developer: Lucas Pope
  • Publisher: 3909
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Key features:
    • Intriguing mystery
    • Stylised graphics
    • Emphasis on story

In the introduction, we spoke about pirate games needing exploration, freedom and a sense of adventure. Return of the Obra Dinn has all of these but in a slightly different way. You won’t be exploring the ocean, but instead a singular ship, searching for clues that allude to where The Obra Dinn disappeared, how it has returned, and what happened to everyone on board who is missing. 

Few games, on this list or in general, look the way Return of the Obra Dinn does, and the mystery at the heart of the game is gripping. The more you progress, the more questions are answered, and the more questions you need to ask as the story unravels before you. If you love detective games in unique settings and haven’t played Return of the Obra Dinn, it’s time to correct that. 

7. Starfield

A ship on a planet in Starfield
Click to enlarge
Image via Bethesda

Starfield details & key features:

  • Release date: 2023
  • Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, PC 
  • Key features:
    • Space pirates
    • Expansive universe
    • Hop from planet to planet

The latest RPG from Bethesda is the newest game you will find on this list and another pirate game that has swapped out the Seven Seas for the mysterious unknowns of space. Whilst you're exploring the world of Starfield, you will come across the Crimson Fleet - a faction of pirates.

You can get involved with the Crimson Fleet, if you so fancy, which will encourage plenty of robbing and piracy in the stars. Starfield is certainly one of the best pirate games of recent years - even if it has a less traditional setting.

6. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire 

Pirates fighting on a ship on the cover of Pillars of Eternity 2, one of the best pirate games
Click to enlarge
Image via Obsidian Entertainment

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire details & key features:

  • Release date: 2018
  • Developer: Obsidian Entertainment 
  • Publisher: Versus Evil, Obsidian Entertainment
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC 
  • Key features:
    • Iconic RPG series
    • Recruit engaging companions
    • Inspired by Dungeons & Dragons

In the second Pillars of Eternity, you will be chasing a god across all kinds of terrain, including the ocean. On your journey, you will captain your ship, choosing companions to join you on your adventure, as you embark on a deep and rich role-playing game (RPG). If you dream about having the best ship on the ocean, then Pillars of Eternity is for you, as you upgrade both your ship and crew in a bid to survive. 

Pillars of Eternity 2 is heavily inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, so there is a massive emphasis on choice, customisation and exploration. Things that every pirate game needs, so if deep RPGs are your thing, it may be time to explore the region of Deadfire. 

If you enjoyed Baldur's Gate 3, and want another adventure of that ilk but with a little more pirate, this game is a must-play.

5. Sid Meier’s Pirates! 

The Sid Meier's Pirates! cover art
Click to enlarge
Image via 2K

Sid Meier's Pirates! details & key features:

  • Release date: 2004
  • Developer: Firaxis
  • Publisher: 2K
  • Platforms: PC
  • Key features:
    • Same creator as the Civilisation series
    • Aged well
    • Complete pirate experience

Sid Meier’s Pirates! Is the oldest game we have included, and it is an absolute classic - a must-play for anyone who loves pirates. Up until recently, there was an argument to be made that it was the best pirate game around. It delivers everything you want from a pirate game, and fully captures the swashbuckling sense of adventure, with vast oceans to explore on your ship. 

You can hunt treasure, get into battles with other ships, explore, pillage, and so much more. Even though the game is now nearly 20 years old, there is still plenty on offer here, and if any game on this list deserves a modern remake, this is the one - especially when you consider how scarce great pirate games are. 

4. Return to Monkey Island 

Return to monkey Island cover
Click to enlarge
Image via Devolver Digital

Return to Monkey Island details & key features:

  • Release date: 2022
  • Developer: Terrible Toybox
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital 
  • Platforms: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Key features:
    • Point-and-click adventure
    • Long-awaited return of the series
    • Great comedy

A point-and-click puzzler also may not be what you expect from a pirate game, but few games capture the essence and atmosphere we have come to expect of pirates, as well as Return to Monkey Island. Realistically, this entry should be seen more as an entry for the Monkey Island series, but the return of the series should be celebrated. 

During your adventure, you will encounter plenty of different characters, all of which have something to offer and are memorable. As you explore the island, you’ll encounter plenty of different puzzles to try and resolve as you uncover the mysteries of the island. 

3. Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew

The ship in Shadow Gambit the Cursed Crew, one of the best pirate games in 2023
Click to enlarge
Image via Mimimi Games

Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew details & key features:

  • Release date: 2023
  • Developer: Minimal Games GmbH
  • Publisher: Minimal Games
  • Platforms: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
  • Key features:
    • Recent pirate release
    • Focus on stealth
    • Supernatural powers

If Skull and Bones just didn't do it for you, there's a pirate game from 2023 that you might want to take a look at instead - Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew.

This game is focused on stealth tactics, seeing you take control of a motley crew as they embark on missions across the high seas. Your crew will include plenty of interesting characters, all with their supernatural abilities, whilst also giving them all a home on the Red Marley. Shadow Gambit was one of the sleeper hits of 2023, and could very much be considered the best pirate game in quite some time.

2. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag 

Edward Kenway in Assassin's Creed Black Flag
Click to enlarge
Image via Ubisoft

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag details & key features:

  • Release date: 2013
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC 
  • Key features:
    • Considered one of the best in the series
    • Blend's Assassin's Creed gameplay with pirate tropes
    • Epic ship battles

Even today, 10 years later, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is considered one of the best Assassin’s Creed games, as well as one of the best pirate games around. You explore the Caribbean uncovering the story of the game's protagonist Edward Kenway, who finds himself wrapped up in the Assassin’s Creed’s drama. 

You can take control of your ship, which has full naval combat and allows you to raid other ships as they pass by, with your dual cutlasses and flintlock pistols. As is expected from Assassin’s Creed, real historical figures also feature here, so prepare to do battle alongside Blackbeard on your journey to becoming both the best pirate around - as well as a Master Assassin. 

What is the best pirate game to play in 2023?

1. Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves ships sailing in a fleet
Click to enlarge
Image via Microsoft Studios

Sea of Thieves details & key features:

  • Release date: 2018
  • Developer: Rare
  • Publisher: Microsoft Studios 
  • Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
  • Key features:
    • Receives frequent updates
    • Playable solo or co-op
    • Encounter other players or PvE dangers

In the last five years since Sea of Thieves was released, no other game has managed to capture the freedom and experience delivered by Rare. You play as a pirate, alongside your friend or solo, and explore the open seas where you will encounter other players doing the same as you. Here is where the choice arrives of letting them pass in peace, or going full pirate and sinking their ship. 

You can choose the size of your ship, customise your character, and even get pets as you set sail looking for treasure. Sea of Thieves is a game that thieves play with others, but there is plenty to sink your teeth into if you’re going alone. There are still fresh expansions still being released today, too. Right now, Sea of Thieves is the ultimate pirate experience excluding buying a big boat and being a pirate for real. 

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If you're itching for more pirate games, be sure to take a look at everything we know so far about Skull and Bones, and for more great games on our list homepage check out the best games like Starfield or best games like Dark Souls for even more recommendations.

Morgan Truder
About the author
Morgan Truder
Morgan is one of the Guides Writers at GGRecon. He first started writing about games for fun whilst doing his BA (Hons) in History and Film. Since then he has turned this passion into a career and was previously an Editor at VideoGamer before joining GGRecon. Despite enjoying all sorts of games, he can often be found playing Football Manager, Red Dead Redemption 2 or Sekiro.
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