Sea of Thieves is out next week and, I gotta admit, this game was quite the gamble for publisher Microsoft Studios. I mean, sure, the game is developed by Rare, the folks that made GoldenEye 007, and yeah, Viva Pinata was pretty cute, too. But was this the right company to make a Pixar-lite multiplayer open-world pirate simulator? What fun could there be had in angling cannon shots off the port bow, tacking against the wind, following dotted lines to red X's on treasure maps, and being boarded by bigger and badder crews of other player pirates?
If you said, "That does sound like a lot of fun," then I like the cut of your jib, shipmate.
But what all happens in Sea of Thieves? I mean, besides the insane white-capped water graphics, the black-sails-on-the-horizon spikes of fear, and the plug-up-the-cannonball-sized-hole-in-the-hull panic? The video above fills in a lot of blanks.
You're pulling out your concertina for an improv sea shanty on deck. You're scanning for hostiles and sea shoals through your spyglass from the crow's nest. You're crossing your cutlass with captains and cowards. You're solo in your sloop, or juggling the helm with a three- or four-person crew (with Xbox One and Windows 10 crossplay) big enough to push a galleon. There's the "Infinite Pirate Generator" for customizing your character, adventurous locations to discover with riddled maps, and loot to hoard or cash out. Finding treasure is only half the battle. Keeping it? Aye, there's the rub. It's a shared online open world after all. PvPvE is the new hotness. So if you aren't up for some player-vs-player-vs-environment, then there's nothing for you here in this beautiful, unpredictable game world.
Sea of Thieves is out on PC and Xbox One on March 20.