Rare surprised Sea of Thieves fans by announcing it had partnered up with Disney to bring the swashbuckling world of Pirates of the Caribbean into the game. While Rare had previously shied away from such crossovers, the move makes sense – and not just because both properties revolve around pirates. Sea of Thieves was always designed with the philosophy of giving players the freedom to forge their own paths and make a name for themselves on the high seas. That defines the pirate’s life, and that freedom is what Captain Jack Sparrow values even more than the shiniest trinket, making him the perfect fit for the adventure.
A Pirate’s Life launches June 22 as a free expansion that kicks off Season Three of Sea of Thieves. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned player or a curious newcomer enticed by the idea of sailing alongside cinema’s most famous pirate. Rare says anyone can immediately jump into A Pirate’s Life, even describing it as a great starting point for newcomers. If you’re considering taking the plunge, Rare provided a deep dive into the expansion’s narrative premise, its large new areas filled with fearsome foes, and the movie-themed booty players can earn.
This Is A Tale…Of Captain Jack Sparrow
A Pirate’s Tale unfolds over the course of five large story quests, or Tall Tales, which themselves are divided into smaller chapters that can be played solo or with friends. Jack Sparrow has stolen perhaps the greatest treasure imaginable: a golden key to other lands and a ticket to true freedom. Jack uses it to open a portal that transports him to the world of Sea of Thieves. Unbeknownst to Jack, he’s followed by the villainous Davy Jones, who discovers he has no dominion over the dead in this unfamiliar world. That doesn’t sit well with Davy, who wants to control these new oceans, threatening the pirate’s life for everyone.
A Pirate’s Life is an original story that combines elements from every Pirates of the Caribbean movie with Rare presenting their own take on these classic characters. While obviously a kick for fans, Rare also says you don’t need to have watched every film to grasp what’s happening. But for enthusiasts who want to know, the studio also says to assume that this Jack Sparrow has already survived the events of the 5th film, Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Jack is voiced by Jared Butler, who portrayed the character in Kingdom Hearts III. Rare is going all out to make sure their version of the pirate remains accurate to the source material. For example, the studio hired Johnny Depp’s stunt double for the 4th film, On Stranger Tides, to perform Jack’s movements (in full make-up and costume no less) while providing plenty of expert insight into his quirky mannerisms.
The reveal trailer confirmed other familiar faces such as Jack’s first mate, Mr. Gibbs, and there’s also hints pointing at the presence of Jack’s rival, Captain Hector Barbossa. It doesn’t stop there, as Rare says players will meet other members of the Black Pearl’s crew. Does this mean Elizabeth Swan and/or Will Turner make an appearance? Rare doesn’t want to spoil anything but didn’t confirm or deny either way.
While you can’t play as Jack yourself, he becomes a full-fledged member of your crew. He’ll aid in combat (like manning ship cannons) and accompany you during missions. Jack will even pose for selfies. Rare describes Jack as a fun though unpredictable partner. If the films are anything to go by, it wouldn’t be shocking if fans suffer betrayal or three from their charismatic though self-serving companion.
Another important new face is the Castaway, a mysterious storyteller who serves as the keeper of the Tales you’ll experience. There’s also the Cursed Captain, a talking, disembodied skull. Players find him early on and he provides guidance and exposition about the worlds of A Pirate’s Tale. He’ll also spout witty commentary for just about everything happening around you, including when you dance or play music for him. You can also just abandon him on the ground, though he likely won’t be a big fan of that.
An Expanded Horizon
Players begin A Pirate’s Life in the Sea of the Damned, a special realm that connects Sea of Thieves’ main world to the expansion’s areas as well as anywhere else Rare could want to go in the future. Unlike most of Sea of Thieves’ locations, only you and your crew will occupy this zone, allowing Rare to craft more cinematic moments that unfold here. This eerie realm features haunted grotto caves, a ship graveyard, all blanketed by the ghostly glow of an ominous lighthouse. Given its name, expect to face plenty of pirate ghosts eager to make you a permanent resident.
Another new area is the Sunken Kingdom, an undersea domain ruled by the sirens. They construct their homes by attaching gigantic chains to ships, then drag them under to break apart to use the salvage to build new structures. Thus, the area is littered with sunken vessels surrounding the otherwise colorful, coral covered kingdom. Unfortunately, the Black Pearl herself fell victim to the sirens, and one of the Tales tasks players with diving to below to search the Pearl in search of Jack’s trusty compass. Diving plays a larger role in A Pirate’s Life thanks to networks of underwater cave systems where players will explore deeper than ever. To facilitate that, Rare is adding air-bubble producing plants to allow players to stay under longer.
While Rare wouldn’t reveal every new locale in A Pirate’s Tale, it describes each zone as being substantially large and filled with activities outside of the critical story path. Areas contains meaty sidequests, plenty of hidden lore to find, as well as secrets to keep an eye out for.
On that note, A Pirate’s Life is not only inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean films but also by the iconic Disney ride that gave birth to them. Disney Park fanatics will likely recognize recreated scenes from the ride, such as the pirate band and the skeleton captain sitting atop the treasure pile. Rare even included original audio from the attraction to bring these scenes to life while adding nostalgic authenticity.
Fierce Adversaries Requires A Powerful New Weapon
A Pirate’s Life brings many new dangers in the form of never-before-seen foes. Sirens may be the deadliest adversaries. These mythical terrors evade players with swift, graceful movements, using their siren song to attack from afar. Their speed also allows them to quickly move in to unleash a barrage of vicious scratch attacks. Worse of all, a gemstone in their chests allows sirens to create a healing sphere that can restore their vitality as well as damage players. Siren leaders are tougher versions with more potent healing abilities and carry weapons called the Trident of Dark Tides.
Other enemies include Ocean Crawlers, a class of crustacean-like creatures that come in several types. One is a clam-headed humanoid that can spew poison, burrow underground, and charge at players using its rock-like shell head. Crab Ocean Crawlers are hulking tanks with sturdy armor and immense strength. The electric variant may be the most dangerous. They fire lightning bolts, can quickly dash around, and generate electric shields that damage players and their teammates should they attack it. If you think you’re safe outside of the expansion, think again. Rare states that every new enemy will dynamically populate Sea of Thieves’ larger world and are not confined to A Pirate’s Life.
Thankfully, players can also wield the aforementioned Trident of Dark Tides. This mystical staff fires powerful magic bolts but can also be used as a melee weapon. While you’ll gain access to the weapon simply by playing A Pirate’s Life, they can be found anywhere within Sea of Thieves’ larger world washed up on beaches, within shipwrecks, and in other locations. It simply serves as another tool for players of all types to use as they wish.
Rewards And Cosmetics
As with every previous season, A Pirate’s Life brings its own set of tiered rewards that are unlocked simply by playing. Those who complete 100% of each Tale by finishing every objective and finding every secret will be rewarded with a special sea shanty of a certain famous pirate tune from the films that you’ll be able to play with your crew.
Premium Pirates of the Caribbean cosmetic items can only be purchased from the Pirate Emporium. You may not be able to control Jack Sparrow, but you can buy his outfit and masquerade as him as well as other Black Pearl crew members. The famous prison dog, complete with cell keys in his mouth, can be bought as a pet. And, of course, you can outfit your ship with cosmetic items based on the ships in the film, such as the tattered sails of the Black Pearl.
A Pirate’s Life is Sea of Thieves’ biggest expansion yet, both in sheer size and depth and due to the magnitude of collaborating with Disney on such a beloved franchise. The studio has spent almost two years toiling away on A Pirate’s Life in secret; it considers the fact that it didn’t leak prior to its reveal a feat in itself. While it gives long-time players a fun new bone to chew on, this is probably the best lure yet for getting new players on board. Pirates of the Caribbean remains a popular franchise and taking on Davy Jones’ Flying Dutchman with Jack Sparrow at your side is a potent draw. It’s also a great time to get new eyeballs on Sea of Thieves to show off the significant improvements Rare has made since its lukewarm launch in 2018.
Best of all, Rare says A Pirate’s Life isn’t going anywhere even after Season Three concludes. Its content will remain in the game for as long as it sees fit. That’s good news if you can’t dive on day-one. As someone who was pretty mild on Sea of Thieves and has been waiting for a good excuse to check out its current state, A Pirate’s Life is the most alluring reason yet to set sail one more time.