Sea of Thieves, the upcoming shared-world pirate game from Rare, has a mysterious kraken which roams the game world before popping up to attack ships. Rare has kept this mechanic close to its chest so far, showing off a kraken fight in video form to press but not releasing footage or screenshots.

Now, images of a kraken fight have leaked - and I can report they are legitimate.

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The images first appeared on 4chan, but made their way to ResetEra. The first thing to note is the hugeness of the kraken. Its tentacles tower over ships, and can take on multiple ships at once.

You might notice black spots on the images. Rare has an internally-developed system designed to help identify the source of images and footage of Sea of Thieves. This displays an identifying marker that moves about the screen. It's supposed to make photoshopping this marker out of any footage or image harder than it would be if the marker were static. In this case, it seems the person who leaked the images took them with a phone camera and simply blotted the marker out in Paint.

During a recent trip to Rare, I got to see the kraken in action and talk to developers about how it works. Players can't predict when or where the kraken will strike, but they will get a heads-up that it's bubbling under the surface. You'll know the kraken's about when water turns murky. When you see this oily fluid effect, that's your window of opportunity to peg it. Or, you could sit there and wait, if you're feeling confident.

If you don't escape in time, the kraken will emerge and attack. It can wrap its tentacles around ships, rock ships and punch holes into into them. It can also pick players up from the deck, throw them or dump them under water and drown them. It's all very Cloverfield.

To defeat it, you have to attack the eight tentacles and its central brain that controls everything. But there's a risk reward element to the fight, too. You could sail past another ship that's being attacked by the kraken, or dive straight in to help, or perhaps pick off the stragglers from the wreckage and nab their treasure.

"The kraken is this true force of nature in the world, and who knows when and where it's going to strike?" design director Mike Chapman said.

Rare staff said the launch version of the kraken is just the beginning. The developers may grow the monster over time, and there was mention of the potential addition of a trading company based around kraken hunting.

I sailed along to Rare to find out more about Sea of Thieves' cool-sounding endgame, its premium pet shop and its unexpected character creator options - and there's more from the trip to come.

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editor

Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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