The truth about pirate games is that no matter how recent the last good one was, we’re always looking out for the next one. Ever since Sid Meier’s Pirates! gave gamers a taste of the salty life (and arren’t they on about being salty these days), they’ve been a recurring theme that hasn’t been too overdone. Some times they’re about the pirating, and sometimes they’re about the romanticism that surrounds that era where exploration and exploitation went hand-in-hand.
From the safe jokey pirates of Monkey Island, to the honourable assholes of Black Flag, and all the Sea Dogs and Risens and Puzzle Pirates in between, it’s been a pirates life for many a gamer. It’s hard to narrow down what it is about the pirate world that attracts in the way it does, but there have to be many factors.
My own personal favourite came from a heavily modded Pirates of the Caribbean game put out by Akella Studios (of Sea Dogs and other pirate games) which turned it into a very open world experience that had even less to do with its filmic namesake. Guiding my ship toward the setting sun, watching the waves gently rock my journey, it all compounded to a very relaxing experience. I’d stock up my ammunition reserves with chain-shots to immobilise pursuit from those that wanted to interfere with my trade runs.
That brings us to Rare’s Sea of Thieves, the next pirate game over the crest.
This was the standout game of the Xbox presentation for us. The characterisations and art style firmly place the game’s tone in a daytime take on Pirates, though the environments and ships and outfits all capture that notion of pirates pirating, doing piratey things while being super piratey.
Aside from the characters, the environment affects don’t shoot for the too realistic side, but still carry enough of the atmospheric elements we might expect from a modern animated movie that they still transport to the place.
As shown in the trailer, Sea of Thieves isn’t a solo affair. You’ll be able to sail around with your friends (or acquaintances of convenience), search for treasure, hoist the sales and fire cannons.
Every ship you see is said to be another group of players, so it’ll be especially interesting to see that plays out, as players have a tendency to be a little more violent than AI. You’re gonna need a bigger boat if you want to make a dent on theirs, or you’ll be sleeping with the fishes before long.
It’s still very early days, but it looks like it could be fun. The trailer shows off things like skeletons, day cycles, Krakens, and of course, plenty of ship-to-ship battles. There’ll be quests, more creatures, and artifacts to find.
The game will be exclusive to Windows 10 and Xbox One, and allow cross-play between those two platforms. No news on release date as yet, but this is one we’ll be watching out for.