Venerable British game developer Rare has showed off the first footage from Sea of Thieves, the ambitious freeform pirate game it announced last year. A freeze-framed trailer gave us an idea of the nautical theme as it panned around a galleon in the midst of a ocean-bound battle, but it was a short clip of in-game action that gave us more of an insight into what players will actually be doing in the game — working together to take to the high seas, crew pirate ships, fire cannons, and presumably swab the poop deck.
Players work together to crew their boat
Players without any knowledge of the game were brought in and given free reign to work out how to play, eventually joining forces together to crew the game's hefty boats on its beautiful sea-green waves. After boarding their ships, the players unfurled sails, turned rudders, and climbed riggings to move between a series of tropical islands, climbing ashore to explore the new locations. But a pirate's life is not all exploration: after a happy afternoon of in-game time playing around in the sand, the players came into contact with enemy pirates, and turned their cannons against each other.
Those cannons can tear holes in the hulls of other ships, forcing their crew to repair the damage, or face a death in Davy Jones' Locker. As a last resort, players can ram each other, their pointy prows tearing holes in enemy ships. Microsoft didn't give an indication when we can expect Sea of Thieves, but that may be a safer option than selecting a date — Rare has had some issues delivering its ambitious games on time in the past.