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Rare's next game is a multiplayer pirate adventure

Sea of Thieves promises emergent gameplay on the high seas

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Sea of Thieves, the latest game from Rare, featured prominently during Microsoft's E3 press conference. Fans finally got a glimpse of the online, multiplayer game that pits bands of pirates against one another above, and below, the high seas.

Rare's Craig Duncan was on hand to unveil the game's first proper demonstration, an organic experiment pitting two teams of players who had never played the game before against one another around the same deserted island. The game features a playful style art style and exaggerated, almost cartoon-like physics. Players had to work together to hoist up the sails, navigate the ship and aim the ship's guns in first-person.

"What you've just seen represents the breadth of our pirate world," Duncan said, following a montage of scenes from the game that included underground caverns, fiery skeleton pirates, merfolk and a kraken.

At one point in the demo, a player ship began to take on water. As the lower decks filled, the ship began to keel over, floating upside down while players made their way through flooded compartments to safety.

While no release date was given, it was revealed that Sea of Thieves would be part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program, which features both cross-play and cross-buy functionality between Xbox One and Windows 10.

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