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Sea of Thieves will feature plenty of references to Rare classics like Banjo-Kazooie

Rare is trying something new, but that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten about the past

Banjo Kazooie v. Mario 64

As shown off last month at E3, Sea of Thieves is quite different from anything that U.K. developer Rare has created before. That doesn’t mean the studio is completely forgetting its past, however.

In a panel today at Comic-Con, Sea of Thieves art director Ryan Stevenson revealed that the new game will pay homage to titles that earned Rare so many fans. One way this will be accomplished is through the use of unique figureheads that players can equip on their ships.

One of the shipheads shown featured a pirate-ized version of Joanna Dark from the Perfect Dark series. Another was a ferocious bear holding a crest that displayed a bird — a clear reference to the lovable duo from the Banjo-Kazooie games.

While Sea of Thieves is distinct from Rare’s past works, Stevenson said the developer felt that the game truly encapsulates the Rare style. "We wanted to reimagine what a Rare game is today with all of our knowledge and embracing all the technology available to us," he said.

In addition to its own past works, Stevenson said that the Monkey Island games are a major inspiration for Rare’s approach to pirates. He also showed off some of the non-player-controlled enemies that seafarers will face in the game, including Ray Harryhausen-esque skeletons, mermaids and ghost pirates who pilot their own phantom ships.

Sea of Thieves is planned for launch on Xbox One and Windows PC in 2017. You can explore more of Rare’s past in Rare Replay, a collection of 30 games that we ranked from worst to best last year.

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