Rare's multiplayer pirate extravaganza Sea of Thieves is currently enjoying a discount of 50% on Xbox One and PC, ahead of its massive, game-changing Anniversary Update, due at the end of the month.
Sea of Thieves' Anniversary Update is an absolute belter, introducing, among many other things, a brilliantly raucous, quick-fire competitive mode known as The Arena. This is completely standalone to Sea of Thieves' existing mode, which will be renamed Adventure Mode come the update's arrival on April 30th, meaning combative sorts have a new place to let off steam.
Adventure Mode, meanwhile, will receive Sea of Thieves' first hand-crafted story campaign as part of the update - a sizeable offering spanning nine chapters, in which fearless crews must roam the seas in search of a mysterious island known as the Shores of Gold.
Sea of Thieves is, I think, a phenomenal story generator - and excels in delivering the kinds of unpredictable encounters that can so frequently turn a routine play session into a genuinely unforgettable one.
As someone who ordinarily only tolerates Sea of Thieves' PvP side, rather than proactively engages in it (although, to be clear, I will send you to Davy Jones' Locker if you try and mess with my sloop), I was a little apprehensive when Rare first announced that its multiplayer pirate extravaganza would be getting a new competitive-focussed standalone mode.
UPDATE 16/4/19: As part of its latest Inside Xbox showcase, Microsoft officially unveiled its combination Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass service - known as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate - confirming several reports that were swirling around earlier this month.
Sea of Thieves is one today, don't you know, and, to celebrate, Rare has unveiled the multiplayer pirate adventure's next big free content expansion. It's called the Anniversary Update, and is coming on April 30th.
Prior to unveiling its official title, Rare has referred to the expansion as a "mega update" and, based on today's reveal, that seems entirely apt. The Anniversary Update is split into two main segments - the new standalone PvP-focussed Arena mode, and a sizeable update for the core Adventure mode, known as Tall Tales: Shores of Gold - with plenty going on in both.
Observant sorts scrutinising the trailer below will no doubt notice that fishing (both on boat and on land) very much appears to be in, and Rare's accompanying Anniversary Update webpage explains that this, along with cooking, is part of the new Hunter's Call Trading Company, offering special rewards and a new path toward Pirate Legend.
Happy birthday, Sea of Thieves - my most-played game of 2018, and, would you believe it, my most-played game of 2019 so far. Today, Rare's piratical multiplayer sandbox adventure celebrates its first 12 months upon the waves, and - having brought the likes of giant killer sharks, marauding skeleton ships, and even a fiery hell pit of a new region beyond the Devil's Shroud - it's been quite the year.
If you're on the final straight toward Pirate Legend, you may momentarily cease the chest-stashing, skeleton-bashing grind and rejoice: Sea of Thieves' inaugural Gold and Glory event unfolds this weekend, offering gold and reputation boosts as part of its first birthday celebrations.
Sea of Thieves' latest update is here and it shakes things up a bit with a new limited-time event, encouraging slightly different ways to mess around in its sandbox after what's been a particularly dry spell.
Rare has announced that, for a limited time, existing Sea of Thieves players can invite their friends to download and experience the piratical multiplayer adventure for free.
UPDATE 7.45pm: Microsoft says this evening's sign-in issues on Xbox One, as well as problem accessing previously purchased content, should now be "resolved".
Rare has announced that, following player feedback and lengthy internal discussion, it will be making Sea of Thieves' currently mandatory Xbox One and PC cross-play optional in a future update.
Picking Sea of Thieves feels like a bit of a cheat. After all, the ever churning innards of Rare's multiplayer pirate adventure are expressly designed to generate memorable adventures. But in a year packed with wow moments (that first glimpse of Subnautica's bountiful choral reef, for one) and full-on WTF moments (why hello there, Fortnite's inter-dimensional butterfly), no other game has, for me at least, managed to create so many wonderful, lasting memories as Sea of Thieves.
Rare has released a brand-new update for its multiplayer pirate extravaganza Sea of Thieves, primarily aimed at bug fixes for the recent Shrouded Spoils expansion. However, it's also managed to sneak in some seasonal treats too, just in time for Christmas.
Version 1.4.1, as the new update is known, keeps it subtle as far as the festivities goes, but players logging into the game will find a few welcome sprigs of holly at outposts, alongside some rather charming seasonal renditions of familiar shanties in the taverns.
That's lovely and all, but most players will likely be more interested in their special Christmas gift, which can be acquired by speaking to Bilge Rat representative Duke in any tavern. Pirates are then able to select a Gilded Voyage from Duke's stash, which, once undertaken, will grant a festive heap of gold and rep for the quest's aligned trading company.
A mere two months after Sea of Thieves went positively volcanic with the introduction of its deadly new Devil's Roar region, the multiplayer pirate adventure's next major free content update, Shrouded Spoils, is here.
Shrouded Spoils is a bit of an interesting one, all told, and it's exact nature has been tricky to pin down prior to its release, thanks to Rare's uncharacteristic secrecy regarding its contents. As it turns out though, it's a pretty meaty update - although the focus this time around is very firmly on fleshing out the existing experience rather than piling on flagship new features.
If anything could be considered the headline act though, it's the addition of fog banks, which billow around the world as a new environmental hazard, restricting visibility - and bolstering the ocean's general spookiness - at the most inopportune of times.
Rare has announced that its multiplayer pirate extravaganza, Sea of Thieves, will be getting a "fast-paced" standalone PvP mode called The Arena, and it's due to arrive early next year on PC and Xbox One.
Microsoft's X018 event takes place in Mexico City this weekend, and the publisher will be streaming a two-hour Inside Xbox special from the show, bringing with it a variety of new announcements for the likes of Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves, and Forza Horizon 4.
More specifically, X018 - an fan event that Microsoft has previously dubbed "a global celebration of all things Xbox" - unfolds on November 10th and 11th. For those that can't make it to Mexico City in person, the two-hour Inside Xbox live stream (which will hopefully be less exasperatingly paced than previous efforts), begins at 9pm on Saturday, November 10th in the UK. That's 1 PM PT/4 PM ET for our US pals.
Xbox One's social media channels have been teasing a few details of what we can expect during Saturday's live stream, including Crackdown 3, Minecraft, Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, and Forza Horizon 4 announcements. Additionally, Microsoft has promised "big" PUBG news, a look at Shadow of the Tomb Raider's upcoming The Forge expansion, plus "a surprise or two", including "over a dozen game announcements for Xbox Game Pass."
Sea of Thieves' latest update is here, bringing with it the appropriately Halloween-y Festival of the Damned - alongside a variety of limited-time treats, new face paint, and, most importantly of all, coloured ship lanterns.
As Sea of Thieves' current Foresaken Shores campaign begins to wind down, Rare has shared first details on Shrouded Spoils - the next major content expansion for its multiplayer piratical adventure, due to arrive in November.
Speaking in Sea of Thieves' latest developer video, executive producer Joe Neate described Shrouded Spoils as a collection of content and features created in response to ongoing player feedback. And while full details will come later, Neate did reveal that it brings expanded ship customisation options - enabling players to change the likes of the wheel, cannons, and capstan - alongside unique Commendations and goals for those that have reached Pirate Legend status.
Shrouded Spoils' most significant addition though, as revealed so far at least, comes in the form of billowing fog - a new emergent weather type that can sweep across islands or oceans at any time. As you can probably imagine, it dramatically reduces player visibility both on land and at sea - making navigation far more perilous, and bringing the potential for very different kinds of PvP encounters. Quite apart from the challenges of battling in fog, braver pirates could, for instance, take advantage of the reduced visibility for more stealthy assaults.
Rare's piratical multiplayer sandbox game Sea of Thieves has now reached the midpoint of its current Forsaken Shores campaign, signalling the arrival of a new addition to the game's divisive Merchant Alliance faction: Cargo Runs.
Cargo Runs are designed to introduce a bit more variety to the Merchant Alliance, expanding on the faction's existing animal transportation missions (which I've personally always liked, given that they're both relaxing in their subdued rhythms and lucrative as hell) with a selection of delivery quests themed around some particularly finicky items.
Accept a Cargo Run via an outpost's Merchant Alliance representative and you'll be asked to collect a number of crates from another NPC on the island. Once gathered, the quest is removed from your list but remains active, meaning that you can stack up multiple Cargo Runs, or do them in tandem with other quests - something that players have long hoped would be implemented for the original Merchant Alliance animal runs.
Today sees the release of Forsaken Shores, Sea of Thieves' most ambitious content expansion yet. Not only does it add an entirely new, extra-challenging, area of the world to explore, alongside rowboats and more, it marks six months of post-launch updates for Sea of Thieves since the game's arrival on Xbox One and PC in March.
Sea of Thieves' latest content expansion, Forsaken Shores, lands this Thursday, September 27th. And with scant time to wait before the Devil's Shroud parts to reveal a whole new area of the world, Rare has detailed exactly what is coming (and when) during its latest piratical campaign.
In something of a departure from past events, Forsaken Shores will stagger several new features across the length of the event. Come Thursday, Sea of Thieves will lift the deadly veil on the Devil's Roar, an entirely new area of the map that's designed to offered a hearty challenge for fearless pirates. There's the ever-present threat of volcanic activity - with eruptions unleashing lava, falling debris, and geysers of steam from the bowels of the earth, and superheating nearby water - but voyages in the area will offer greater rewards.
Thankfully, Thursday also introduces the new rowboat, designed to make your time in the Devil's Roar a little less treacherous. Rowboats can be found on islands across the world and attached to any ship - be it sloop, galleon, or brigantine - and will make ferrying treasure from shore to ship considerably easier in the superheated waters of the new land.
Rare has announced that Forsaken Shores, the major new content update for multiplayer pirate adventure Sea of Thieves, has been delayed. It was originally due to launch this Wednesday, September 19th, but is now scheduled to arrive next week, on Thursday 27th September.
Sea of Thieves' executive producer Joe Neate first warned of a potential delay to Forsaken Shores in a progress update on the game's official forum late last week. At the time, he noted that, "our last couple of updates have seen issues introduced into the build (such as the unfortunate spyglass incident) or have required emergency maintenance immediately following release. With Forsaken Shores it's our priority to make sure this doesn't happen again."
To that end, the decision has now been made to officially delay the content update, with Neate explaining in a follow-up post that, "Our priority is to ensure we deliver a stable, polished and bug-free experience that all our players can enjoy. We have just had a weekend of Pioneer testing, which has highlighted a memory issue in the build." This, says Neate, is "resulting in an unstable build where a large number of our Pioneers were experiencing crashes." Rare is currently working to resolve the "complex issue", but does not "feel in a position to release Forsaken Shores to our players with confidence this week."
Sea of Thieves' next major content update, Forsaken Shores, is right around the corner, launching on September 19th. In the run-up to its release, Rare has unveiled a brand-new cinematic teaser trailer, highlighting and hinting at some the new additions that the update will bring.
It's a bit of a dramatic one too, intercutting the ultimately disastrous attempts by an unknown crew to penetrate the Forsaken Shores' fiery new biome, the Devil's Roar, and the sorrowful song of a lone survivor. For those less concerned about Sea of Thieves' narrative fancies, and more interested in Forsaken Shores' new features, it offers a good few teases too.
As a quick aside, the below trailer is an unofficial rip; the version that briefly appeared on the official Xbox YouTube channel has now been removed, with Rare's Twitter feed explaining that it's delayed release while it fixes issues related to today's new maintenance patch. Evidently the internet's 'record' button was easier to reach than Xbox's 'delete' button.
UPDATE 5/9/18: Last week, fans were delighted to receive Sea of Thieves' latest update - partly because it permanently introduced skeleton ships and cursed cannon balls to the game, but mostly because an unexpected glitch inadvertently gave players proud, majestic spyglass wangs.
So far, Rare has been relatively quiet about the unfortunate (but mostly hilarious) incident. However, during an in-game Sea of Thieves developer livestream yesterday, executive producer Joe Neate finally explained just how things had managed to get so lewd.
According to a falteringly straight-faced Neate (who was being dogged by a lime green skeleton player with a telescopic dong at the time, making for two priceless bugs in a single livestream), Rare accidentally overwrote a number of animations for two of Sea of Thieves' eight body sizes when compiling its latest build.
UPDATE 22/8/18: For the benefit of those that missed yesterday's special Gamescom edition of Inside Xbox, Rare has released a new developer video packaging up all of the details it shared regarding Sea of Thieves' next big, free content update, Forsaken Shores.
It's definitely worth a watch if you haven't yet seen where your piratical escapades may lead you next, with the video showcasing some brief gameplay footage (around the 2:40 mark) of Sea of Thieves' perilous new Devil's Roar biome - complete with spectacular volcanic activity - that comes to Xbox One and PC as part of the Forsaken Shores update on September 19th.
ORIGINAL STORY 21/8/18: As part of today's Inside Xbox livestream, Rare has detailed Sea of Thieves' next major content update, Forsaken Shores, which comes to Xbox One and PC on September 19th.
Rare has a few treats in store for Sea of Thieves fans watching Microsoft's Inside Xbox livestream tomorrow, August 21st - including the chance to get hold of a rather nifty Joanna-Dark-inspired figurehead to spice up their ship's bow.
Swashbuckle simulator Sea of Thieves has passed five million players, developer Rare has confirmed.
Sea of Thieves' second big content update Cursed Sails is coming next week, July 31st - and in the run up to its arrival, Rare has taken some time to more thoroughly reveal the piratical splendours within.
The big stuff, of course, has been detailed before: that's the new skeleton ships AI threat, a co-operative inter-crew Alliance system, and the three-man Brigantine ship - the latter of which, as Rare explained in its latest developer video, is designed to offer a balance between speed, manoeuvrability and weapon power, and makes for a "nice introduction to the world".
There's plenty more besides Cursed Sails' core offerings, however. For starters, the update will unfold as a three week event, combining lore elements, challenges, and a variety of rewards. Unlike May's Hungering Deep update though, whose brisk story portion felt rather halfhearted, Cursed Sails' narrative will unfold gradually, with new things to do and earn each week.
Rare has announced that Sea of Thieves' second major content update, Cursed Sails, will release for PC and Xbox One on July 31st - and there's a brand-new trailer to accompany the news.
Cursed Sails brings significant additions to Rare's swashbuckling multiplayer pirate adventure, some of which the developer has shared in its latest blog post. Top of the list is a new roaming AI threat in the form of "fortress-like" ghost ships manned by literal skeleton crews - which, judging by the new trailer below, will haunt the Sea of Thieves by bursting up from the depths of the ocean, ready to unleash hell.
"All that sustains these grinning terrors," says Rare, "is a thirst for battle that leads them to terrorise Outposts and call out defenders to face them on the tides...". That line about Outposts is especially intriguing; if skeleton crews have, say, the ability to lock-down the game's safe zones until defeated, that's going to make turning in treasure a particularly fraught endeavour.
Sea of Thieves' latest update is here, bringing with it another two-week-long Bilge Rat Adventure - this time in the form of the mysterious The Sunken Curse.
Sea of Thieves' regular weekly update has arrived, this time bringing with it a special limited-time figurehead to celebrate the 20th birthday of Rare's platform classic, Banjo-Kazooie.
'D-do you fancy playing some Sea of Thieves later tonight?' I ask, although not sure how I managed to stutter seeing that it was a WhatsApp message. I waited for a response, feeling actually pretty awkward. Oh god, blue ticks but no reply.
Sea of Thieves' second time-limited event, Gunpowder Skeletons, does exactly what it says on the tin.
Sea of Thieves' latest update is now live and marks the start, at long last, of Rare's regularly scheduled live events and smaller-scale activities for the piratical multiplayer adventure.
With The Hungering Deep now over, and the ancient megalodon now returned to the depths of the ocean, the Bilge Rats, which were briefly introduced in the last update, have now become a fully fledged faction in Sea of Thieves - joining the likes of the Merchant Alliance, Gold Hoarders, and Order of Souls.
The Bilge Rats work slightly differently to the base game's Trading Companies, however; rather than offering a never-ending supply of quests for purchase, the Bilge Rats present one activity to complete for a fixed duration, with new activities being introduced every week or two. As you progress through the current activity, you'll earn commendations, titles, and a new currency: doubloons - which can be spent on items in the Bilge Rats' store.
Rare has shown off some of the new piratical delights coming to its multiplayer sandbox game Sea of Thieves in the coming months - all wrapped up in one rather eventful trailer.
We can all agree there are reasonable criticisms to be levied at Sea of Thieves; its launch state was slender, even for a "service" game (and its long-promised, much-needed programme of regular weekly events is well overdue), its regular patches are desperately in want of better quality control, and its misuse of the term 'sloop' is deeply suspicious. Yet I still love it, all the same.
It's the the pirate game I always dreamed of, and I still haven't tired of its swashbuckling charms; I love the pure tactile pleasures of traversing that glorious heave and heft of ocean, the hypnotic delights of carefree meandering, of ferrying livestock, and digging for gold; I love the ever-present threat of looming disaster from all sides, and the slapstick chaos when it all comes together - when storms and sea monsters and player encounters collide in unscripted, unbridled mayhem.
There's a problem though. When I enthusiastically wrote about Sea of Thieves at launch, I hoped that Rare would be able to maintain a steady flow of new ingredients to ensure that the kinds of unpredictable stories and meaningful players interactions so crucial to its success kept coming. But with the developer's attention focussed on fixes and feature improvements (such as much-needed private crew options), that simply didn't happen.
Rare's first big content update for Sea of Thieves, The Hungering Deep, is here, and available to download on Xbox One and PC now.
The Hungering Deep is, by Rare's own admission, the smallest of the six Sea of Thieves content updates planned throughout 2018. It still offers a decent amount of stuff, however, including a major new AI threat, new tools to facilitate more varied interactions between crews, new cosmetics, a new instrument, and an intriguing, if brisk, new campaign quest binding the whole thing together.
The flagship new feature of The Hungering Deep is undoubtedly the new AI threat. At this point - given the plethora of pre-release teases and blatant iconography surrounding the update's launch - it's probably not a spoiler to suggest that it's very much on the enormous shark side of things, albeit with a somewhat fantastical Sea of Thieves twist.
UPDATE: While I was writing all that below, Rare sneakily released full details on next week's The Hungering Deep content expansion, due on May 29th - so much of the speculation down there is now confirmed.
According to Rare, its "medium-sized" Hungering Deep update (compared to those due later this year) consists of two distinct parts: there's the quest-like limited-time campaign event, and a bunch of new items and features which will remain in the game permanently.
The permanent stuff comes in the form of the new drum instrument, the new Speaking Trumpet (enabling crews to be heard at a distance and to "find other crews on the same voyage"), plus customisable flags for the top of your ship, so that you might signal your intentions from afar. Additionally, there are new personal customisation options in the form of tattoos and scars, plus, of course, the new (probably megalodon-like) AI threat.
Rare has unveiled a teaser trailer for The Hungering Deep, Sea of Thieves' first proper content update, which is due to launch on Xbox One and PC on May 29th.
The Hungering Deep has previously been described by Rare as a "medium-sized" update for its multiplayer piratical escapade, and is the first of six content expansions scheduled to arrive this year. It's set to bring a new enemy AI threat, plus new tools, mechanics, and rewards, but will be a little smaller in scale compared to 2018's other updates, which includes this summer's Cursed Sails and Foresaken Shores.
Rare's newest trailer is a little light on actual details, merely hinting at things to come, and takes the form of a tall tale told by "grizzled old soul Merrick" - the pirate whose portrait recently appeared in the ship wreck found on the uncharted island at map coordinates L14.
UPDATE 16/5/18 9.44pm: A fix to address the frequent disconnection errors plaguing Sea of Thieves since the deployment of its weekly update yesterday is rolling out now, Rare has announced.
UPDATE 8.30pm: Following on from today's sizeable Sea of Thieves cosmetics update, Rare has released a brand-new developer video, further detailing its content creation plans for the weeks and months ahead.
Becoming a Pirate Legend in Sea of Thieves is incredibly difficult to do. Well, it's actually not that difficult - it's just a very, very long process of maxing out your merchant reputation.
Rare has, after much reasonable clamouring from the community, offered first details on the new content coming to its marvellous piratical multiplayer playground Sea of Thieves over the next few months.
You should perhaps calm your immediate expectations; the studio's focus for the remainder of April, it says in a new post on the Sea of Thieves website, will continue to be on "addressing the top feedback points" from the community. However, that focus will shift toward releasing new content as it moves into May.
Explaining the rationale behind its new content plans, Rare says it wants to prioritise elements that bring players together and encourage different players encounters, that enrich the world of Sea of Thieves, and that offer new ways to play, alongside additional goals and rewards. It also plans to broaden the journey to Pirate Legend and beyond.
Sea of Thieves has some of the best-looking sunsets, ocean waves and tropical islands of any game I've played. But this wasn't always the case.
In an upcoming and hugely welcome change, Sea of Thieves will soon let you choose whether your crew is publicly joinable or private.
Update, 7.12pm: Prod1gyX has successfully managed to reach reputation rank 50 across all three merchant guilds (although his methods remain controversial), and is the first Sea of Thieves' player to attain legendary status.
Rare's jolly old pirate game Sea of Thieves has become Microsoft's fastest-selling new IP of the Xbox One generation, and is already the best-selling Microsoft Studios game on Windows 10. More than a million people played on launch day, and more than 2 million in launch week.
UPDATE 28/3/18: Rare and Microsoft have now fixed the issue which was blocking many Xbox Game Pass owners from playing Sea of Thieves last night.
Still, the issue took seven hours to resolve - too late for anyone to play in the UK - and followed several hours of downtime. If you got any time on the game at all yesterday, you were lucky.
There's no word of any compensation for lost Xbox Game Pass subscription time.
Rare has ditched plans to implement a penalty upon dying in Sea of Thieves.
Put down the controller and close your eyes: there is no better game on earth to listen to. What do I hear? The creak of timbers, the flap of a sail, the thud and shudder and boom of the ocean.
So many of my very favourite things in Sea of Thieves are sounds. There's the wonderful snug internal clonk of the ship's wheel settling back into its full-ahead position (so subtle you have to really listen for it; at times I think I am imagining the whole thing). There's the strained, buckling groan of your hull reacting to a dropped anchor when it still has sails filled with wind. Best of all there's the neat, arresting, confirmative thwack of a shovel digging into sand and hitting - something! Something good! A treasure chest! Clonk, groan, thwack. This is a game you play with your ears as much as your eyes, and while your eyes get the glorious rolling, thrashing drama of the waters to look at, your ears get so much else besides. Your ears get the detailing that really sells the fiction.
Sea of Thieves
Rare's done it - Sea of Thieves has topped the UK games chart in a busy week for new releases.
Sea of Thieves offers players a vibrant, cartoon world of stories big and small - but perhaps none of them are as significant as the tale of developer Rare itself. It's hard to believe that Kinect projects aside, it's been over nine years since we last saw a full game from the studio. Much has changed since then, with the studio's reliance on custom, per-game engines replaced by a shift towards Unreal Engine 4. But this game is a title quite unlike any other built on the Epic middleware - Sea of Thieves is beautiful and unique.
Pirate simulator Sea of Thieves will be offline for five hours tomorrow, Saturday 24th March.
I've been playing a lot of Sea of Thieves this week and so far it feels very much like being in an exciting new relationship and not being able to work out why your friends aren't as happy for you as you thought they would be - a heady combination of being incredibly enthusiastic, with just a slight creeping sensation that you're making a fool of yourself. I'm not overly bothered, mind you - I'm still having a lovely time - but it did get me thinking about what exactly draws me in so strongly while putting others right off.
Rare has posted a candid new developer video, addressing the various issues that Sea of Thieves players have faced since the game's launch yesterday.
The ten-minute update, presented by studio head Craig Duncan and Sea of Thieves executive producer Joe Neate, highlights the main problems that players have experienced since launch, and attempts to explain why they're occurring and what the studio is doing to tackle them.
Top of the list are the connection issues dogging Sea of Thieves, with many players still struggling to get into a game during peak times. These, says Rare, are predominantly a matter of scale; although Rare attempted to prepare for launch day through its various pre-release scale tests, it says that the "unprecedented" number of players has caught them by surprise.
UPDATE, 21/3/18: It looks like Sea of Thieves' servers are shipshape and open to all players once more.
Shiver me timbers! Sea of Thieves only set sail this morning but already the legendary Kraken has been found, and killed.
Sea of Thieves has just gone live on the Microsoft Store for Xbox One and PC, and we're setting to the high seas to bring you our review as soon as we've had plenty of time with final code on fully stressed servers. Before then, though, here's some early impressions from time with the various betas and a small while with final code.
Jolly pirating game Sea of Thieves will get a Day One Patch - an, wait for it, eyepatch!
It was an opportunity for a joke British developer Rare could not miss, said a Reddit member named Jefabell in a post nearly three weeks ago - and it appears to have caught Rare's eye.
Spotted in the Sea of Thieves clothes shop ahead of tomorrow's launch was a Day One Patch with the number one emblazoned onto it. "A message in a bottle from Jolly Jefabell washed ashore," the item's description reads. "Eye patch makers read it and said 'aye'."
Microsoft has announced that all purchases of an Xbox One X next week will include a free copy of Rare's imminent multiplayer pirate extravaganza, Sea of Thieves.
Rare has unveiled Sea of Thieves' final launch trailer in anticipation of the game's release next week, and it offers a first glimpse of its long-teased kraken in action.
The kraken is one of several launch features that have yet to be shown in Sea of Thieves' numerous pre-launch stress tests and betas. And in its livestream last night, Rare took the opportunity to detail a few additional features coming to the swashbuckling multiplayer pirate adventure at launch and beyond.
Sea of Thieves' third quest-giving guild, The Order of Souls, is already known quantity. It's the PvE-focussed portion of the game, and revolves around collecting skull from unfortunate undead bounties. However, these missions will introduce a couple of previously unseen opponents at launch, adding a bit more strategic variety to proceedings.
In Sea of Thieves your pirate can climb into a cannon and be fired out of it, so what better way to promote the game in real life than to do the same? And why not attempt a world record in the process?
Update, 26/3/18: Rare has announced that its Sea of Thieves-inspired hunt for four golden bananas is now officially over, with the winning crew named as 'Herr Crew' from France. More than 10,000 players apparently signed up to take part, vying for the 18-carat, £80,000 prize.
Arrrr you ready for the final Sea of Thieves beta before launch? Well, good news, you scabrous sea-turnip! It's now live and open to everyone on Xbox One and Windows 10.
You can hoist anchor and set sail for a weekend of piratical japery as of right now, and the final beta will draw to a tearful close on Sunday, March 11th, at 10am GMT.
The first important thing to note is that this is an expanded version of the game, with a feature list closer to Sea of Thieves' final launch day build than that seen during alpha and the more recent Xbox One and PC stress tests.
As Sea of Thieves' draws ever closer to release on March 20th, Rare is steadily filling in the remaining blanks regarding the features that wannabe pirates can expect to see at launch. Latest on its list are further details of customisation, both of the personal and ship variety.
If you've been been missing the roar of the waves and the sway of the ocean this week, and generally suffering from severe Sea of Thieves withdrawal, there's some excellent news: Rare is holding yet another beta-style Scale Test on PC and Xbox One this weekend.
Those that yearn for a plundering will be able to raise anchor in the latest Scale Test form tomorrow, Friday March 2nd at 10am GMT (2am PST). It's as brisk as ever though, and you'll need to hang up your hook on Sunday March 4th at 10am GMT (2am PST).
If you'd like to get involved, you'll either need to have pre-ordered the game or to have signed up to the Sea of Thieves Insider programme. Unless things have changed over the last seven days, you should still be able to register for the latter.
There are still a few weeks to go before Rare's multiplayer pirate extravaganza Sea of Thieves officially launches on Xbox One and PC, but the developer is already reshaping the game's world to honour the achievements of its players.
Rare has announced that it's having another beta-style Scale Test this weekend for its delightful multiplayer pirate extravaganza Sea of Thieves.
This latest Scale Test is happening right now on both Xbox One and PC, and will run until 10am, Sunday 25th February in the UK.
If you want to get involved, the same rules apply as in previous beta tests: you'll either need to have pre-ordered the game or to have signed up to the Sea of Thieves Insider programme. I belatedly signed up last weekend and still got access - so there's a good chance that you'll be able to join in the latest shenanigans if you're swift.
With Sea of Thieves' launch drifting ever closer, Rare has offered a closer look at Skeleton Forts - one of the new "emergent" activities that wannabe pirates will be able to encounter come release day and beyond.
Six years ago, we asked "Who Killed Rare?" Fast forward to 2018, and Sea of Thieves is about to set sail on a journey its creators hope will secure the future of the legendary video game developer for years to come.
A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.
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.
Rare's swashbuckling pirate simulator Sea of Thieves will drop its gangplank again this weekend for another trial run.
Everyone who had access to Sea of Thieves' recent closed beta will once again be granted entry (that's 332,000 people) while Rare conducts some behind the scenes testing.
Will some of the fancy new features spotted in recently-updated game files be available? Alas, it sounds unlikely.
Earlier this month a Sea of Thieves datamine unearthed word of a premium shop. As you'd expect, the revelation sparked a number of questions.
In so many games, you create characters using a raft of customisation options, tweaking sliders to pick from a variety of faces, body types and skin colours, among many other things.
While the Sea of Thieves closed beta answered many questions about Rare's big new shared-world pirate game, it left many questions unanswered. Chief among them, perhaps, was, is this it?
The currently inaccessible Sea of Thieves has been updated again and datamined again, and this time there's reference to an open beta - something which hasn't yet been officially announced.
The Order of Souls was mentioned in conjunction with the open beta, according to the Sea of Thieves subreddit, suggesting we will be able to run quests for this faction during it.
The Order of Souls, we know from a previous official video, will be one of three factions in Sea of Thieves. The other two factions are the Gold Hoarders, which were in the recent closed beta, and the Merchants' Alliance, which will send us off collecting snakes, chicken and pigs.
Sea of Thieves is a big game for Microsoft and Xbox but how popular will it really be? Last week's closed beta might be an early indicator and the signs are good, with more than 332,052 people logging in to play, Microsoft has said.
It's not a colossal figure, not 'over 9 million' like Star Wars Battlefront 1's beta in 2015, but whereas that was open, the Sea of Thieves beta was closed and most people had to pre-order for a code.
Perhaps more importantly, Sea of Thieves was a big hit on Twitch (and Mixer), apparently reaching the live-viewer top spot while the closed beta ran. I wonder if Rare had expect as much?
An update to the currently inaccessible Sea of Thieves closed beta has been datamined, revealing new content added to the pirate game.
The most eye-catching finds revolve around ye olde oversized octopus or squid, the Kraken, which has long been linked with the game. Let's face it, it wouldn't be a proper pirate game without it.
The files, rummaged by the Sea of Thieves subreddit, mention defeated animations for the Kraken as well as a roar and underwater powerslam, which sounds interesting and, clearly, as though we'll fight it. There is a sound effect for hitting the Kraken with a cannon, too, and individual tentacles can apparently die.
How should you play Sea of Thieves? Think about what we've seen so far of the game, what the message has been: play with your friends, take control of a pirate ship and hunt treasure and other players on the high seas. But what if you don't want to play like that? What if you want to play alone? And what if I told you some of the best experiences I've had in the Sea of Thieves closed beta were while playing solo?
Size matters on the Sea of Thieves, but when you're up to your berringed earlobes in pirate gold, cunning is king. Earlier this week myself and three other buccaneers spent an hour chasing a single, wily captain in the game's closed beta. Our target led us a merry dance, steering his nimble sloop in amongst the looming rock spires by the aptly named Shipwreck Bay, but eventually he made a break for the open sea, and with the wind behind us and our galleon's sails at full spread, we quickly closed the distance.
UPDATE 11:30 AM GMT: The issues are now resolved. Rare tweeted as much and the game works for me again.
ORIGINAL STORY 9:30 AM GMT: I have been happily bobbing along on the foaming waves of the Sea of Thieves closed beta, which is scheduled to end tomorrow, but was told this morning I couldn't log in.
"Sorry," the game said, "but you are not authorised to play Sea of Thieves right now."
UPDATE 26/1/18: Rare has extended Sea of Thieves' closed beta after its "Too Early" bug locked out some pre-order customers from playing.
The closed beta test will now last another two days, and conclude on Wednesday, 31st January at 8am UK.
"We know your gaming hours are precious and our number one goal is to get everyone with Closed Beta access into the game as soon as possible," Rare stated in a new blog post.
I am being somewhat facetious with that subheading, not to mention self-indulgent. (For the uninitiated, it's a reference to my predecessor Tom Bramwell's classic, stinging editorial on Microsoft's misguided plans for how Xbox One software would work - plans that would eventually be ditched.) With yesterday's announcement that all first-party exclusive games would be added to the Xbox Game Pass subscription service on release date, Microsoft is not killing game ownership. It's not even trying to.
Rare wants to know - and I do too, because I'm struggling - if you can come up with an Achievement for Sea of Thieves. That's name, description and all.
All Microsoft Studios games will launch on Xbox Game Pass at the same time as in shops, Microsoft has announced.
Rare has announced that its piratical multiplayer adventure Sea of Thieves is getting a Closed Beta at the end of the month.
The Closed Beta will run from 12pm January 24th to 8am January 29th in the UK (that's 4am on January 24th to 12am on January 29th PST) and will offer "a full five days of sailing, shanties and shenanigans" according to Rare. Participants will only get to see a selection of the final game's offerings, however, with the studio keen to hold plenty back for release.
If you want to join the Closed Beta, you'll either need to have signed up to Rare's Sea of Thieves Insider Programme before December 1st last year, or you'll need to have pre-ordered the game. The only additional caveat is that an Xbox Live account is required to play on Windows 10, and an Xbox Live Gold membership is needed to play on Xbox One. If you meet those requirements, you can download the Closed Beta client in preparation.
UPDATE 8/1/18: Remember that lovely Sea of Thieves Xbox controller? (You're reading an article about it, so you should.) Well, a new product page has revealed it includes exclusive costume DLC.
Near the end of tonight's The Game Awards 2017, Sea of Thieves got another new trailer. But there was something unexpected at the end: a 20th March 2018 release date!
It was a sudden and surprisingly low-key reveal clustered in among other ads and trailers, for a game which has now been shown at three E3s. Still, it's nice to see it finally coming out.
Developed by UK stalwart Rare, the social pirate sandbox is now just over three months away - that's not avast wait.
Sea of Thieves, Rare's piratical multiplayer sailing adventure, has almost reached the end of its year-long Technical Alpha. However, one last testing phase is scheduled before the game launches early next year - and everyone's invited to come aboard.
Rare has confirmed Sea of Thieves will feature cross-platform play across PC and Xbox One.
During Microsoft's gamescom show yesterday, PC design lead Ted Timmins and executive producer Joe Neate announced Windows 10 PC players can play with Xbox One and Xbox One X players when the multiplayer-focused pirate adventure game launches early 2018.
In a post on the Sea of Thieves website, Timmins went into more detail on how the cross-play will work, stressing Rare is mindful of maintaining balance across both platforms.
Microsoft has announced plans for a live show at Gamescom in August during which it'll make Xbox One X-related announcements.
During Ubisoft's E3 2017 media briefing, the company unveiled a new pirate game due out in autumn 2018: Skull & Bones. The news didn't exactly come as a surprise to the developers at Rare, makers of fellow 2018 pirate game Sea of Thieves, but they'll have watched the detailed gameplay trailers with interest nonetheless.
During its E3 2017 media briefing, Microsoft faced pressure to convince the gaming public to fork out its hard-earned cash - £449 in the UK to be exact - on an Xbox One X, née Project Scorpio. With the specs out of the way, it was all about the games. And so the games came - 42, 22 of which with rather vague "Xbox console exclusivity" attached. But while we saw some lovely little games as part of a different side of Microsoft (The Last Night, Artful Escape and Ori 2 spring to mind), where were the big first-party exclusive new game announcements? You know, the kind of announcement that gets early adopters fumbling over themselves to pre-order? There weren't any.
Microsoft has released some new Sea of Thieves gameplay that gives us an updated look at the game.
Sea of Thieves, from UK developer Rare, is described as a shared world adventure. You play a pirate alongside other pirates and seek treasure from all sorts of mysterious nooks and crannies.
The new video, below, shows off a number of players who work together to solve clues, dodge sharks and find some loot, before escaping a cave, fending off skeletons and then a rival pirate ship controlled by enemy players amid a storm.
Project Scorpio will cost $499 - according to Geoff Keighley.
UK developer Rare is auctioning a load of cool stuff for charity Special Effect, including an official Sea of Thieves-branded Xbox One S.
Sea of Thieves developer Rare has released a new development diary in which senior designers Shelley and Andrew Preston explain their decisions behind the game's unique co-op structure.
Last month Sea of Thieves developer Rare launched an Insider Programme allowing excited fans the chance to partake in early alpha and beta tests for the in-development pirate game. Now Rare has confirmed that the first "Technical Alpha" will go live from 16th-18th December.
Sea of Thieves developer Rare is looking for player feedback on its upcoming open-seas multiplayer pirate game. How will the studio get feedback for a game that isn't out yet, you ask? Simple: it will offer prospective players early access to the in-development title should they sign up for the just announced Sea of Thieves Insider Programme.
Oh Gamescom you beautiful, sweaty maelstrom you. No matter how many trips to Cologne you have under your belt, Gamescom always manages to teach you something new - cherished lessons like 'oh gosh it's humid here' or 'that cathedral looks nice' or 'turns out bag thieves on the Eurostar are really efficient and now I have no camera' (that last one actually did happen to me once).
Greetings Eurogamers! We're back from European videogaming convention Gamescom laden under the weight of both opinions and captured gameplay from upcoming titles.
Our Tom Phillips managed to get a quarter hour hands-on with Rare's upcoming title Sea of Thieves, an open-world multiplayer game about pirates.
It starts off a bit like Monster Hunter wherein you can meet up with fellow players and grab some grub before setting off for adventure. Only instead of ingesting some fine cuisine, you guzzle grog which makes everything a wee bit wobbly.
There's a bit of faffing about in the beginning as Tom and his merry crew find their sea legs, but things eventually pick up with a couple of rousing naval battles set against a shimmering sunset and an enchanting moonlit sky.
E3 week is always a hectic affair. Typically speaking nobody has had enough sleep, everyone's had far too much caffeine and there's never not a huge stack of things on which to report. Small wonder, then, that it often takes for the show itself to close before we get the chance to reflect and realise just how weird E3 actually is.
The first flock of games to support Xbox Play Anywhere have been listed. These are the games that will be cross-buy on Windows 10 and Xbox One, which means if you buy one version, you get the other free, and your saved games and add-ons work with both.
We've decided to take a slightly different tack with our E3 awards this year. Rather than pick a single game of the show, or nominate games to other sub-categories based on genre or achievement in some specific area of technology or design, we've simply picked five games that particularly impressed us this week and presented them with our Editors' Choice Awards.
Sea of Thieves lets you and a group of friends sail pirate ships in a huge open ocean. You can drink grog. You can play the accordion.
Rare's mysterious shared world pirate game was first shown off at E3 last year via a brief snippet of in-engine footage. The teaser posed more questions than it answered - chief among them, for many, was how the game would be monetised.
Job listings with experience in free-to-play business models were spotted among fans, who also pointed to the game's online massively multiplayer nature as evidence Rare was planning to monetise Sea of Thieves with free-to-play mechanics or in-game transactions.
Now, at E3 2016, Rare has finally laid the matter to rest. Sea of Thieves is not free-to-play.
Rare's Xbox One and Windows 10 pirate game Sea of Thieves will be released in or around February 2017, Microsoft has said.
Microsoft's E3 media briefing was strong, I thought, although its impact was dulled by a pretty spectacular set of leaks that not only revealed the existence of the Xbox One S and Scorpio ahead of time, but the running order of the show.
Sea of Thieves has had its highly-anticipated gameplay reveal, shown via a compilation video of four friends playing together as part of a single crew.
Together, the team works together to to set sail, steer a pirate ship and plot a course.
You can quaff grog and get drunk, take on enemy vessels and patch holes in your hull as your ship starts submerging.
Kinect Sports developer Rare - the British studio Microsoft did not decide to close this week - has an update for its fans.
Hot on the heels of announcing the delay of Scalebound to 2017, Microsoft has committed to a 2016 release for a raft of Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive games.
In a post on Xbox Wire, Xbox marketing chief Mike Nichols announced a number of meaningless statistics about player engagement and time spent doing this and that on Xbox and Windows 10 devices. But the good stuff is in a list of already-announced games due out on Xbox this year, which comes complete with release dates and windows.
Here it is:
Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country developer Rare is currently working on the Xbox One and PC pirate adventure Sea of Thieves, but it almost made a completely different pirate adventure nearly two decades ago with a game called Dream: Land of Giants.
Rare has announced Sea of Thieves, a new IP for the studio, at Microsoft's Xbox conference.
The pirate-themed multiplayer game, described as Rare's most ambitious title to date, allows players to group together to explore islands, seek out treasure and fight enemies. The reveal trailer showed a colourful and cartoonish tropical world, with dense jungle and a harbour area.
Player names appear over their avatars, suggesting an MMO-like experience.