Surprisingly announced during Microsoft’s explosive showcase on the digital stage of the latest E3, A Pirate’s Life is the result of a creative partnership as unexpected as it is exceptional. The third season of Sea of Thieves will open with an expansion that will lead the protagonists of Pirates of the Caribbean to visit the world of Rare, the stage of a crossover destined to leave an indelible mark on the history of this ever-expanding universe. A few days after the inauguration of the new content, we were able take a sneak peek at what’s new on June 22nd, when Captain Jack Sparrow will cross the borders of the “Sea of Thieves” to engage the players in a new, spectacular undertaking. In the meantime, you can check out our Sea of Thieves Anniversary review.
A stellar crossover
Anyone who has spent some time sailing among the majestic waves of Sea of Thieves, especially after the debut of Absurd Stories, has certainly happened to fantasize about the potential of a crossover between the Rare game and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. On the other hand, the Jack Sparrow saga represents an important source of inspiration for the imaginary modeled by the British studio, like timeless cult like The Goonies or Monkey Island. A thematic twinning that did not fail to attract the interest of Disney itself, which during E3 2019 intercepted some Rare executives to put on the table a dry heart attack proposal: the idea was to break down the boundaries between two universes to build something unique and special, a celebration of that ideal of freedom at the basis of both worlds. Two years after that meeting, after 15 months of intense work made even more difficult by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, A Pirate’s Life is finally ready to make its debut in the world of Sea of Thieves, with an Absurd Story in five acts (published simultaneously) which, according to the team, represents the largest and most ambitious content ever developed by the Twycross studio.
For Rare it is not simply the realization of a dream, but also the celebration of a creative vision that over time has conquered millions of players, giving life to one of the most close-knit communities in the current gaming scene.
Putting aside the background of this extraordinary collaboration, the time has come to answer a question that many will have asked in the queue for the announcement trailer of the expansion, namely “what the hell is Jack Sparrow doing in the world of Sea of Thieves? “. To begin with, the developers have confirmed to us that the story of A Pirate’s Life represents a sort of ideal continuation of the cinematic adventures of the Captain of the Black Pearl, and in fact this element of continuity represents the trigger of the events at the center. of the new campaign.
During his latest misdemeanor, the brave Jack managed to steal the greatest treasure of the sea from Davy Jones: a treasure chest capable of opening a passage to the pirate’s paradise, a place where every buccaneer can spend eternity between raids and boardings without ever having to fear death. Sparrow then crossed the horizon to reach Rare’s “Sea of Thieves”, to finally conquer the long-coveted immortality. Unfortunately the captain of the Flying Dutchman is not the man (so to speak) to leave such an outrage unpunished, and has every intention of evening the score by condemning – again – the opponent to wander forever inside his casket.
With that goal in mind, Jones reaches the ocean of Sea of Thieves only to discover that in this eden the fate of the sailors is in the hands of someone else, an entity just as grim but far more benevolent. Kalypso’s helmsman then decides to storm the Spooky Carrier ship, to overthrow him and conquer the power of life and death over the merry freebooters of this world, snatching them the freedom to have a good time until the end of time. Faced with this terrible threat, the buccaneers of Sea of Thieves must therefore join forces with the legendary Captain Jack Sparrow and with what remains of his crew, in order to preserve “the life of the pirate” and continue to roam free in the waves. , far from the shadow of the definitive passing away. This is briefly the narrative framework of a campaign that, according to the words of the development team, should have a much more “cinematic” cut than the previous Rare Absurd Stories, with a rdown payment punctuated by cutscenes and modeled dialogues to convey that sense of light-hearted epicity that over the years has made the fortune of the Disney series, arm in arm with the phenomenal charisma of its protagonists.
To build characters that were as faithful as possible to their film counterparts, the studio used the collaboration of Jared Butler and Robin Atkin Downes (the stars of Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones in all the video games taken from the Pirates of the Caribbean series), while the role of Joshamee Gibbs will be reprized by Kevin McNally, the actor who played the boatswain of the Black Pearl in both films and titles inspired by the saga. Rare confirmed how the contribution of these artists was essential in bringing their polygonal alter egos to life, which should fully meet the expectations of fans of Disney’s pirate universe.
The life of the pirate
Beyond the narrative assumptions, A Pirate’s Life brings with it a mass of respectable content, among the meshes of an adventure clearly designed to further thicken the ranks of an already decidedly large community. For this reason the expansion was designed to be an ideal entry point into the world of Sea of Thieves, so as to allow new users to become familiar with the key dynamics of the gameplay in a mainly “story driven” context. While waiting to verify firsthand the actual degree of challenge of the campaign (which should last between 8 and 12 hours), we know that the developers have tried to make the progression as linear and intuitive as possible, for example by calibrating the puzzles in so as not to place too complex obstacles in the path of the players, with the declared aim of not interfering with the flow of the story.
Statements that, as veterans of the title, do not worry us too much, especially considering the unquestionable potential of the playful plot composed by the English team. About this, the package includes two completely new macro-areas, the Sea of the Damned and the Underwater Realm, both instantiated and accessible only during the course of Absurd History.
The first is a sort of mystical limbo built on the memories of the spirits trapped inside it: crossing its borders, the players will therefore find themselves crossing a ghostly and changing scenario, composed of a mosaic of naval cemeteries, port citadels and forts with the typical style of Spanish colonial architecture. The Underwater Kingdom is instead a realm that has long been hidden in the depths of the ocean, built with the wrecks of ships sunk by the people of mermaids, an underwater civilization as ancient as it is dangerous. The creatures that populate the Kingdom are in fact very different from the fish-men who come to the aid of the missing sailors, but are in effect a ferocious addition to the Sea of Thieves bestiary.
On these notes, A Pirate’s Life introduces three new categories of opponents to the game world: the ghosts, the frightening fish crossings in the pay of Davy Jones and precisely the sirens. Each monstrous host then hosts a fair variety of fearsome subspecies, each with particular abilities that promise to amplify the situational diversity of the gameplay. The list includes, for example, disgusting anthropomorphic molluscs capable of releasing a dense cloud of toxic fumes (to be dealt with at a safe distance), human-eel hybrids capable of launching lethal electric shocks and mermaid warriors equipped with a trident that emits powerful spheres of energy .
This weapon, called Trident of dark tides, can be added (temporarily) to the war equipment of freebooters, and also used on land to stem the virulence of old and new enemies. Although the new areas are in fact inaccessible outside the borders of the countryside, the enemies and mechanics introduced with A Pirate’s Tale will enrich the playful profile of Rare’s shared world. Speaking of unprecedented dynamics, the peculiarities of the Underwater Kingdom and its inhabitants, which inevitably place the emphasis on exploration and underwater combat, have prompted the developers to arrange underwater geysers around the abyss that will allow players to recharge your oxygen supply.
Between new mechanics, unpublished scenarios and a narrative thread closely linked to one of the pillars of modern pirate imagery, the new expansion therefore promises to give the public a large banquet of memorable adventures, supported by the emerging gameplay of a world so much as stimulating as it is wonderful. As for the artistic direction of the content, the excerpts shown during the presentation returned to reaffirm the studio’s talent and passion, delighting us with a kaleidoscope of lively colors and scenarios overflowing with details. Undoubtedly, the directorial approach of the expansion deserves a mention – really promising – is the excellent modeling of its protagonists, Jack Sparrow in primis.
Much like the movie saga, Rare’s adventure draws on the iconography and (surprisingly broad) lore assembled around one of Disneyland’s most celebrated attractions. Between main missions, side quests, side activities and an avalanche of cosmetic items (many of which are offered as rewards during the Absurd Story),
A Pirate’s Life aims to tease fans with a rich assortment of quotes and winks, which may also include some unexpected references. The developers have in fact invited fans of the aforementioned Monkey Island to pay particular attention during the campaign, which could welcome more than a hint of the extravagant epic of the “fearsome pirate” par excellence. It is impossible to overlook the additions to an audio sector which, shortly thereafter, will be expanded with new tracks and seafaring songs, reworked starting from that sensory riot that is the soundtrack of Pirates of the Caribbean.
In short, less than two days after the debut of A Pirate’s Life, we advise you to start assembling the crew, polish your guns, and don your best boarding outfit, to better prepare you for what could be your greatest privateering feat. Can’t wait to get your hands on the new free expansion? In the meantime, you can admire the incredible artwork of the DLC.