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Rare has four teams that are all working on new content updates for the online multiplayer pirate simulator Sea of Thieves, and after releasing The Hungering Deep in May, the development studio is following that up with the Cursed Sails on July 31. This is the second major content update for Sea of Thieves, and it introduces enemy ships crewed by computer-controlled skeletons and more.

Sea of Thieves is one of Microsoft’s biggest games so far in 2018. It has had more than 4 million players, and it is one of the marquee titles in its Netflix-like Xbox Game Pass service.

Cursed Sails adds skeleton crews to the world of Sea of Thieves, but it also comes with a time-limited narrative campaign that will introduce this threat to players starting at the end of the month. Players will also have a chance to get limited-time cosmetic loot for their characters to show that they participated in this event. They can also track down some new story-driven sidequests that reveal where the skeleton ships are coming from. After a few weeks, Rare will pull that storyline from the game, but you will still find the undead ships sailing the high seas.

In addition to the skeleton crews, Rare is also adding the new brigantine ships as an option for players. This is a mid-size vessel that the studio designed specifically for three-player crews. This means that trios should have less of a disadvantage in fights against four-person galleons in the future.

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Cursed Sails is, of course, part of Rare’s efforts to continue introducing new ways for players to interact with its world. With The Hungering Deep, Rare added a new underwater threat and ways for crews on different ships to communicate and work together. In my conversation with Sea of Thieves boss Joe Neate at the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show, he told me that Hungering Deep’s features cut the rate of ship-to-ship combat in half. Now, with new enemy ships on the sea, player behavior could go through another big shift.

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