Sea of Thieves to get 3 player ships, rowboats, AI skeleton crews

Following Sea of Thieves' launch back in March, the game's developer has been hard at work on future updates. With launch issues subsided and "The Hungering Deep" expansion now available, Microsoft is discussing what's next for the pirate-themed adventure game.

Speaking on the "Inside Xbox" live show as a part of E3 2018, design director, Mike Chapman, has shared more details on the newly announced expansions. "Cursed Sails" and "Forsaken Shores" are set to launch this summer, debuting various new content for its world.

One of the biggest features of the "Cursed Sails" update is skeleton crews – new AI-controlled galleons packed with hostile foes. These will sail the seas among other players, adding a new element of combat to consider. Cursed cannonballs are also arriving, which are found throughout the world and bestow status effects on ships. Taking damage from these cannonballs can introduce modifiers, such as increased weight or disruptions to player voice chat.

The update also marks the long-awaited arrival of Sea of Thieves' brigantine – a new three-player ship offering a middle ground between the sloop and galleon. This two-sail vessel will allow crews to leverage a larger ship, without the complexity of a full galleon. The new ship will be added with the release of "Cursed Sails" in July, alongside skeleton crews and cursed cannonballs.

Chapman also touched on the following August update, titled "Forsaken Shores." Bringing the first expansion of the map with the "Devil's Roar" area, players will sail into a "geologically unstable" world full of fire and ash. This land will be filled with new threats, including an active volcano ready to spew hot ash.

A fourth boat is also coming in this update, in the form of a deployable rowboat. This will allow players to dock away from islands and sail smoothly into the shore. This vessel can also be used to quickly transport treasure between land and your boat in larger batches.

Wrapping up, it was confirmed that three new expansions are planned after Forsaken Shores – with more to come in 2019.

Since its launch earlier in 2018, Sea of Thieves has crossed four million players and launched its first DLC pack, The Hungering Deep. The game is available to play as part of the $9.99 per month Xbox Game Pass subscription, or on its own for $59.99 (though it's currently on sale for $29.99 at Amazon with Xbox Play Anywhere support. And if you have an Xbox One X, the game is enhanced to run in 4K.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.