Sea of Thieves Articles RSS Feed | Sea of Thieves RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Microsoft Announces Xbox One S All Digital Console Wed, 17 Apr 2019 11:35:48 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Microsoft announced the long-rumored Xbox One S All Digital system during its pre-E3 Inside Xbox presentation April 16. It was accompanied by a press release detailing the rationale for the system.

The system is set to launch May 7.

As the name suggests, the Xbox One S All Digital (XB1SAD) is a completely digital system. It has no disc drive and, thus, does not support physical media. Instead, games must be downloaded from the Microsoft Store or accessed via the Xbox Game Pass.

The XB1SAD still includes Netflix, browsing, and 4K support, though

The system will retail for $249.99 and comes with three pre-installed games: Minecraft, Sea of Thieves, and Forza Horizon 3, along with a trial period for the Game Pass.

Jeff Gattis, General Manager, Xbox Product Marketing, said the decision for a digital-only console came in response to what the company sees as shifts in the gaming industry. According to Gattis, gamers want their media digitally, just like with books, music, and film.

The parody trailer accompanying the announcement echoes that sentiment. The idea presented is that progressing to an all-digital system is not only simple, but it's also the next logical step in hardware development.

Gattis says the new Xbox system will better accommodate players who feel the same way, those who only download their content and need their saves to be secured in the cloud instead of on their system. The system's lower price point is also meant to remove entry barriers to Xbox gaming as well.

However, as many others also pointed out after the announcement, the savings might not be quite as beneficial as they first appear.

Digital-only means few or no discounts and no access to pre-owned games. When users want to buy a new game ($60), then the $50 overall console savings disappears immediately.

Moreover, many retailers offer special bundles of the traditional Xbox One S with a pre-installed game for less than the XB1SAD's price point.

It appears the move might be less in response to changes in the market and consumer habits than it is with shifts higher up in the industry.

With the digital-only XB1, Microsoft is ultimately one step closer to entering the looming streaming wars with Google and its Stadia, carving out its own identity separate from Sony's PlayStation 4 and Nintendo's Switch.

Inside Xbox Coming April 16, Promises Rage 2, Pre-E3 News, and More Thu, 11 Apr 2019 11:36:41 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

The next Inside Xbox presentation is set for April 16 at 5 p.m. EDT, according to a new Xbox Wire blog post, and it promises a wealth of new information, along with pre-E3 news.

Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief, Will Tuttle, says the episode will last an hour.

One of the focal points of the presentation will be the upcoming Anniversary Update for Sea of Thieves, which also features in the "Road to E3" trailer provided with the Xbox Wire blog post.

In an extra bit more Sea of Thieves news, Tuttle mentioned that thanks to high demand from fans, the Ebon Flintlock will be making its way back to the game, though he didn't mention when.

However, he also promised exclusive Rage 2 footage in the upcoming presentation, new details about the game, a look at the Warhammer Chaosbane beta, and "exciting Game Pass news."

On top of that, there will be some backwards compatibility news and additional announcements Tuttle says are being held back for the presentation as well.

Rage 2 is getting a special tie-in with the presentation. Those who watch the Xbox Live presentation via Mixer while logged into their Microsoft account will receive a unique avatar item for the game.

Rage 2 is one of the year's more anticipated titles. It's a follow-up to 2011's Rage, developed by Bethesda. The game divided fans and critics with its seemingly bland presentation and overall lack of content, among other things.

However, early Rage 2 impressions suggest id Software and Avalanche have taken note of those problems and provided a more seamless world full of content — and vehicles.

Those interested in watching the April 16 Inside Xbox livestream can do so in a variety of ways. Along with viewing it on Mixer, it can be seen on Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube.

Black Friday 2018 Video Game Deals Roundup Fri, 09 Nov 2018 15:29:21 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Black Friday is just around the corner, and of course, that means it's time to start planning your shopping list. With so many retailers and so many games to choose from, it's difficult to know just where to start. Except when you have our handy Black Friday 2018 guide at your fingertips!

We've put together a list of the major retailers' upcoming Black Friday sales including console sales and price drops, and we've broken them down by price and platform, making your Black Friday shopping easier than ever before.


Walmart's putting out a variety of deals this year, including the $199.99 PS4 Spider-Man bundle. But, there are plenty of other smaller deals the retail giant's offering, and here are some of the best ones. Not all items in the ad are available online, so in-store would be your best bet, and the sale is good for Thanksgiving night and Black Friday only.

  • Xbox One X, 1TB: $399.00 ($70.00 off all other XB1X bundles)
  • Xbox One S, 1TB Minecraft Bundle: $299.00 (All other XB1S bundles priced at $229.00)
  • Nintendo Switch, Neon Joy-Con, Mario Kart 8 Bundle: $299.00
$35 Games

PlayStation 4

  • Soul Caliber VI
  • We Happy Few
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey

Nintendo Switch

  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  • ARMS
  • Kirby Star Allies
  • The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
  • FIFA 19

Xbox One

  • Sea of Thieves
  • For Honor: Marching Fire
  • Forza Horizon 4
$25 Each

PlayStation 4

  • God of War
  • Call of Duty: WWII
  • Detroit: Become Human

Nintendo Switch

  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
  • Rocket League

Xbox One

  • Far Cry 5
$17 Games

PlayStation 4

  • Diablo III
  • Monster Hunter: World

Nintendo Switch

  • LEGO Worlds
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Nintendo 3DS/2DS

  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf--Welcome Amiibo


Target's Black Friday ad is huge, but it's game selection isn't quite so impressive. Still, you can pick up some good deals on hot titles and older favorites.

  • PlayStation 4, 1TB, Spiderman Bundle: $199.99
  • PlayStation VR Bundle (includes Creed: Rise to Glory and SuperHot VR): $249.99; save $100.00 on all other PSVR bundles
$35.00 Games

PlayStation 4

  • Soul Caliber VI
  • NHL 19

Xbox One

  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Forza Horizon 4
$25.00 Games

PlayStation 4

  • Call of Duty: WWII
  • God of War
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ

Nintendo Switch

  • Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  • Nickelodeon Kart Racers

Xbox One

  • Far Cry 5
  • LEGO The Incredibles
$15 Games

PlayStation 4

  • The Evil Within 2
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
  • DOOM
  • Overwatch

Xbox One

  • Star Wars Battlefront II
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)
  • Starlink: Battle for Atlas Nintendo Switch Starter Pack: $39.99

Best Buy

The tech king's putting on some pretty good sales this year, including console bundles. These sales start Thanksgiving night and continue into Black Friday.

  • PlayStation 4, 1TB, Spiderman Bundle: $199.99
  • Xbox One S, 1TB, Minecraft Bundle: $199.99
  • Nintendo Switch, Neon Joy-Con, Mario Kart 8 Bundle: $299.99
  • Nintendo 2DS Super Mario Maker Edition: $79.99
$29.99 Games

PlayStation 4

  • Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
  • FIFA 19
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • LEGO DC Super Villains
  • Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker

Nintendo Switch

  • LEGO DC Super Villains
  • Hello, Neighbor
  • Overcooked! 2
  • Nickelodeon Kart Racers
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ

Nintendo 3DS

  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

XBox One

  • FIFA 19
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
  • LEGO DC Super Villains
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker
  • For Honor: Marching Fire
Save $20 on Select Switch Games
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns: Tropical Freeze
  • Kirby Star Allies
  • Bayonetta 2
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4
  • Scribblenauts Mega Pack


As usual, GameStop offers a wide variety of discounts and deals, including a buy 2 get 1 free on all preowned products from November 23-26.

  • PlayStation 4 Pro, 1TB: $349.99
  • PlayStation 4, 1TB: $199.99
  • $100 off all PSVR headsets
  • Xbox One S, 1TB: $299.99
  • Xbox One S, 1TB, Middle Earth: Shadow of War Bundle: $299.99
  • Xbox One S, 500GB: $189.99
$30 Games

PlayStation 4

  • Persona 5
  • Yakuza 0
  • LEGO Ninjago Movie

XBox One

  • F1 2017: Special Edition
  • Project Cars 2
$25 Games

PlayStation 4

  • Dragon Quest Heroes II
  • NieR: Automata

Xbox One

  • The Witcher III: Wild Hunt Complete Edition
  • Tekken 7
  • Dirt 4
$20 Games

PlayStation 4

  • Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 Remix
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
  • World of Final Fantasy
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
  • Knack II
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration Edition
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Everybody's Golf

Xbox One

  • Dead Alliance
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Golf Club 2
  • LEGO City Undercover
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
$15 Games

PlayStation 4

  • Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
  • The Last of Us

Xbox One

  • Wolfenstein: The Two Pack
  • MS Vs ATV Supercross Encore 2017 Track Edition
Save $20

Xbox One

  • Cars 3: Driven to Win
  • NHL 18
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Forza Motorsport 7
Save $10

PlayStation 4

  • Batman: The Telltale Series--The Enemy Within
  • NBA 2K18

Xbox One

  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  • LEGO Worlds
  • Super Lucky's Tale
  • Disneyland Adventures
  • Outlast Trinity


That's it for now, but be sure to check back for more sales updates as they become available. And if you're looking for what to get for the young ones on your list this year, check out our family-friendly buying guides.

Sea of Thieves Guide: How to Get to a Volcano Mon, 01 Oct 2018 10:07:52 -0400 Sergey_3847

The latest free update for Sea of Thieves, titled Forsaken Shores, sends you into the unknown area of Devil's Roar full of mysteries and new types of challenges. In this DLC the players are also given a better chance to transfer the loot to their ships via rowboats.

The new Devil's Roar area is remarkable for its extremely dangerous conditions that include earthquakes, geysers, and volcanic eruptions. If you want to know how to safely venture through this area without getting killed too fast, then follow our step-by-step guide below.

Step 1: Go to Morrow's Peak Outpost

In order to start Forsaken Shore commendations you need to sail to the eastern part of the map where the new Devil's Roar biome is located. There you will find the Morrow's Peak Outpost in your map located in the center of the new area.

When you arrive at the outpost speak to Duke who will ask you to explore the islands of the Devil's Roar and uncover the locations of the five members of the alliance.

Step 2: Set Foot on Five Islands

Now follow the instructions below to uncover the locations of the five skeletons of the Forsaken Shore Alliance:

  1. Fetcher Farley. Located on top of the western hill at the Fetcher’s Rest island.
  2. Flintlock Bert. Located on the northern shore of the Flintlock Peninsula island.
  3. Ruby Carter. Located under the bridge in the center of the Ruby’s Fall island.
  4. Hepzibah Jones. Located in the center of the Forsaken Brink islands, inside a shelter.
  5. Old Coop. Located in the northern hills of the The Devil’s Thirst island.

You will easily find these islands in your ship's map.

Step 3: Surviving the Volcano

Most of the islands you'll be visiting in the course of the Forsaken Shores DLC are large islands that will surely have active volcanoes. These volcanoes erupt regularly within a certain time range.

As they erupt the volcanic rocks will shoot out into the sky and land all over the islan'ds surface and beyond potentially damaging your ship. So here are a few essential tips on how to survive the volcanic eruptions:

  • If you're approaching the volcanic island while it's in the process of eruption, then just stay away as far as possible until the eruption is over.
  • If the volcano started erupting after you landed on the shore, then either sail back to your ship using the rowboats, or find a cover on the island that will protect you from the falling rocks, such as caves and tunnels.
  • If the eruption is over, stay on guard as very soon it may start erupting again. The periods are random: it can be a long while, but at times it can start erupting again within 10 minutes.


That is all on how to reach volcanic islands in the Forsaken Shores DLC, and for other Sea of Thieves guides at GameSkinny, please see the list below:

Sea of Thieves Cursed Sails Guide Fri, 03 Aug 2018 11:01:28 -0400 Sergey_3847

During this year's E3 conference Microsoft announced two new updates for Sea of Thieves: Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shores. Cursed Sails has just been released and will last until August 21, while Forsaken Shores is scheduled for a date in September.

In order to unveil the mystery of the Cursed Sails, you will need to travel to quite a few places on the map. So follow our step-by-step guide for all the information you need in order to reveal Wanda's secrets.

Step 1: Speak to Wonda

The new quest begins at Golden Sands Outpost, one of the six possible locations where you can spawn. Find the Shipwright Shop at the docks and speak to its owner -- Sharon.

She will tell you to speak to a new owner of the Weaponsmith's Shop -- Wonda, a Wanda's sister, who was the original owner of the shop before certain strange things started happening.

Step 2: Investigate the Clues

Wonda won't tell you much about the destiny of her sister, but you will notice a note on the table speaking of some person named "Salty." This is your first clue to revealing the mystery of Wanda, and to your left you will see the second clue in the form of pendant.

The third and final clue is the skeleton footprints outside the shop that will lead you to the shoreline. There you can investigate the footprints that show the direction to the Crescent Isle.

Step 3: Speak to Salty

As you arrive at the Crescent Isle you will see Salty, who turns out to be a skeleton parrot, sitting on a barrel. Talk to him and he will tell you about his adventures with Wanda.

The conversation will reveal the names of several locations that contain the following hints, and where you should travel after speaking to Salty.

Step 4: Read the Journals

Now you need to locate three journals that speak of the Wanda's search for tresure. You can find them all in the following locations:

  1. Mermaid's Hideaway (at the campfire on the northeastern shore).
  2. Thieves' Haven (near the shipwreck on the eastern shore).
  3. Sunken Grove (inside the cave at the waterfall at the very center of the map).

After you've located all three journals, go back to Salty and speak to him once again.

Step 5: Find Wanda's Hideout

After speaking to Salty, you will need to travel to Wanderer's Refuge. In the middle of the isle you will find caves that go under the isle, and that's where Wanda's secret hideout is located.

Look around inside the lair and inspect five items:

  • Evil Pirate Code (on the table)
  • Cannon Base (right from the table)
  • Tools (behind the table)
  • Apron (on the bed)
  • Scroll (on the wall near bed)

Finally, return to Sharon at the docks and tell her everything about your findings. As a reward you will be given three gorgeous sails.


That is all for the Cursed Sails quest walkthrough, and for other Sea of Thieves guides at GameSkinny, see the links below:

Skull and Bones: The Bloodthirsty Pirate's Treasure Trove Thu, 14 Jun 2018 11:39:22 -0400 Zack Palm

Skull and Bones was first announced during Ubisoft's 2017 E3 conference, and ever since then its been looking like it's going to shape up to become the pirate game many people have always wanted to play. It takes a lot of cues from how Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag played, and though it leans on this familiarity, there's plenty of new to make it feel like a different experience.

Some may think upon this game's release it will directly challenge Sea of Thieves. Though the two sit in the same genre, they offer two completely different playing experiences. Here's some insight into what Skull of Bones will become upon release, and how these two games stand out from one another.

Here's the latest gameplay footage Ubisoft released at E3, for those who haven't seen it:

Gameplay Expectations Set For Skull and Bones

Ubisoft wanted to highlight the multiplayer playground in Skull and Bones called Hunting Grounds. This mode features an open world where players can run into one another while attempting to take down AI ships sailing across the world. There's a lot going on in this world and having other players nearby doesn't make it easier. Because players can team up with one another to tackle larger ships, it also means they can turn on each other at the last moment to try and make off with the largest portion of the loot.

There's a delicate balance the developers will need to find, such as ensuring players who are just starting out don't continually get taken down those who have much more experience. How this happens was not disclosed at the event, and likely won't get answered until we closer to the release date of Skull and Bones.

Regardless, the development team behind Skull and Bones took the best aspects of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and went a step beyond what was already there. They expanded it greatly with the amount of customization a player can go into on their ship. Not only can they change the type of cannons they have, but they can also modify the sails, helm, and the crew aboard the vessel.

As of right now, Ubisoft have not gone into detail about what variety of single player gameplay this game will have. If they do allow players to play offline, there may be clear differences to how this game plays as a lot of the more challenging mechanics seem to take place with the looming threat of other players sailing nearby. 

Familiar and Unfamiliar Gameplay

The ship to ship battles looked intense and intricate. Though, they were something we've seen before.

The cannon firing system looks like it was pulled directly from Black Flag, but with several new mechanics in place. In the gameplay trailer, posted above, you can see that at 2:20 the player starts firing on the ships in front of them they have a set amount of shots available before the cannon hits a cooldown.

There's plenty going on that makes it feel different from Black Flag, from the focus to naval combat, to the levels of customization. And this will surely make it far more appealing to many who always wanted to command a ship and loot every last piece of treasure they can. Though, players will have to think about how they approach other ships in the Indian Ocean. You won't want to shoot at every enemy you sail across, or you may find yourself getting overwhelmed far more than you initially expect.

Despite this difficulties, there's plenty going in your favor, and all of the pirates have a hub area they can visit. In this hub city, you're given the opportunity to customize your ship, speak to a fortune teller to learn about the current weather conditions, and learn where the various AI factions are sailing right now to find the best locations for you to loot.

And there's going to be plenty of loot for you to plunder. During the gameplay trailer, we saw a brief glimpse of the person running the demo receiving a "Legendary Chest" from taking down the ship. 

This tells us two things. The first being you may not always know what you're going to get when you go after a ship. You'll probably know the quality of the cargo a ship is carrying, but you won't know the exact details until you take it down and loot its murky corpse.

The second is that there are specific tiers of chests available for you to find. Each tier of chest may carry a variety of different options for you, such as an "Epic Chest" carrying special cannons or sails, whereas a "Legendary Chest" gives you double the loot with some really key items you need to survive the worst of encounters. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn't go into deep details about what a chest can hold, but given the diversity of customization in this game, you won't run out of things to look for to improve your ship.

This feels like a game you sit down and play for a few hours, focusing on sailing the Indian Ocean and facing off against multiple ships at a time. What makes this different from Sea of Thieves?

Key Differences Of Sea of Thieves and Skull And Bones 

When you place the two titles side by side, one immediately thinks these two will compete against one another in the market. Both of them are pirate games. Both of them want players to set sail and command a pirate ship. Both of them have plenty of inspirations from the same culture. Yet, when you sit down, you're in a different mindset when you play either game.

For Sea of Thieves, you've probably had a long day. You don't want to think too hard about what you're going to play, and you were probably invited by a bunch of friends to get online and join them! In Sea of Thieves, you're exploring and commanding a ship with a bunch of people. Sure, you can jump in and command your own ship; but you're missing out on a key mechanic when you don't have others manning the stations helping you plunder the other ships in the sea. There's a cooperative mechanic you can't get in Sea of Thieves, and things are a lot more light heartened. 

With Skull and Bones, you're thinking about every voyage you're going out on. Instead of multiple people on your ship, you can handle everything on your own. Your only concern is where other people are in the world around you; do they want what you're after? Do they want to agree to a brief alliance in order to take down a much larger foe, splitting the loot half and half? They may betray you at the last moment in the hopes they can make off with everything you both worked hard to achieve. There's a lot more risk involved with Skull and Bones and you're going to be doing a considerable amount of ship to ship combat.

Additionally, there’s a lot more player versus player combat in Skull and Bones. You’re expected to find other ships, take them out for their loot, and then move on to your next victim. You want to fight every ship you’re capable of.

In contrast, Sea of Thieves drives players to work together on their ship. They’re working different stations to keep their ship afloat and when something goes wrong, it’s all hands on deck to make sure you can make it through it. You’re exploring as a group, you’re traveling together to find something unique and experience it, together.

These two titles offer completely different experiences. Both will appeal to audiences for different reasons, and those reasons will make them stand out. Just because two titles have a similar setting doesn't mean they're going to compete against each other. 

However, Skull and Bones’ appeal to hardcore players who love to grind out loot may bring in a wider audience. This will certainly set the two apart and make them stand out for anyone forced to choose between them. They offer unique experiences and many will have to keep that in mind when Skull and Bones releases sometime in 2019 or 2020.


We have plenty of time to wait for Skull and Bones, and if you're feeling really eager, make sure you sign up for the game's beta. You can do so from this website and you have to use your Ubisoft account, or make one if you're new.

For more information about Skull and Bones, keep it here at GameSkinny.

How to Catch Chickens in Sea of Thieves (With Chicken Locations) Tue, 27 Mar 2018 11:08:01 -0400 Anthony Merklinger

Earning coin in Sea of Thieves can require some extensive legwork. Plundering unsuspecting ships, recovering chests for the Goal Hoarders association, and felling notorious undead captains for the Order of Souls all carry a considerable risk of death; however, for more pacifist pirates, shipping cargo and captured animals are equally worth their weight in gold. We’ve provided a quick reference guide to help you catch elusive chickens and secure them on board your vessel to help you unlock more rewarding voyages, cosmetics, and equipment items.

A man stands in front of a map at the Merchant Alliance in Sea of Thieves

Purchasing a Voyage from the Merchant Alliance

Pirates can begin their Merchant Alliance adventure by speaking to a faction representative at any of the Outposts and browsing their wares. Available quests will include shipping cargo, so be sure to purchase the voyage that involves capturing animals.

Visit your ship’s voyage table to propose the mission, as doing so will unlock access to the coop. Merchant Alliance missions have a time factor that necessitates expediency, so you can track your progress via your pocket watch located in the inventory panel (hotkey “Q”). If a voyage requires several animals to be captured, you will ultimately need an equal number of coops on board.

Note: Just as there are different pigs and snakes in Sea of Thieves, chickens also come in variety: White Feathered, Red Speckled, Black Plumed, and Golden. Be sure to capture the correct one for the voyage to be completed.

A caged chicken in Sea of Thieves

Capturing a Chicken in Sea of Thieves

Merchant Alliance voyages that involve capturing animals do not provide locations, as opposed to Gold Hoarders or Order of Souls voyages. Instead, players will need to utilize their vessels to locate animals by searching islands throughout the map. While pigs are more ubiquitous than chickens, both can be found on islands with an abundance of greenery.

Capturing a chicken is relatively simple. Once you’ve anchored, bring your chicken coop onto the island and locate the animal specified in your Merchant Alliance mission. Walk toward the animal and press your activation key. With the chicken safely inside its coop, you can proceed back to your vessel.

Note: Chickens can drown if the cage is held underwater. Keep the animal above the waterline as you travel to your ship. If you accidentally captured the wrong animal, you will need to dispose of it by cutlass or pistol before selecting the correct one. (Sorry, pacifist pirates.)

Turn in your chicken coop to any Merchant Alliance representative to complete the voyage.

a map of The Shores of Plenty in Sea of Thieves

Known Chicken Locations in Sea of Thieves

Chickens can be found at the following islands in Sea of Thieves:

  • Barnacle Cay
  • Cannon Cove
  • Chicken Isle
  • Crook's Hollow
  • Marauder's Arch
  • Old Faithful Isle
  • Salty Sands
  • Shipwreck Bay
  • Thieves’ Haven
  • Twin Groves
  • Wanderer's Refuge


Following these tips will help you earn reputation points for the Merchant Alliance (and gold) and make you a master chicken snatcher. Be sure to check back with GameSkinny for more on Sea of Thieves, and if you haven't already, view our other Sea of Thieves guides.

Sea of Thieves Skeletons Not Spawning? Here's a Quick Fix Fri, 23 Mar 2018 10:42:27 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Just days after launch, some Sea of Thieves players are running into what many consider an irritating bug: bounty quest skeletons aren't spawning. If these skeletons cannot be found in areas such as Devil's Ridge or Shark Tooth Key, it means that certain quests -- like the Order of Souls missions -- can't be completed. 

If you look at any forum around the interwebs, you'll find a mob of angry scalawags readying the plank. However, there's currently an easy workaround for the glitch

As of March 23, Rare knows the issue is causing problems for a subset of players and is working on a permanent fix. Until then, however, they provided some tips on how to make those pesky skeletons respawn.

According to the Sea of Thieves release notes, a potential remedy for skeletons not spawning on any particular island is to leave the island, sail away, and then return to the island. This should activate the area's Banner trigger and make the skeletons show up again. 

Some players have also said that quitting Sea of Thieves and re-loading the game resets the skeleton spawning algorithm. However, that means that your current quest will get canceled -- and you'll most likely lose any progress from your last save point.  


Have you found a different fix for the skeletons not spawning glitch in Sea of Thieves? If so, drop us a comment below and we'll add your method to this guide! And if you're looking for other tips and tricks for this swashbuckling adventure, make sure to check out our other guides here.  

How to Set Up Voice Chat in Sea of Thieves Thu, 22 Mar 2018 14:10:44 -0400 Anthony Merklinger

For budding captains in Sea of Thieves, utilizing the in-game chat function efficiently can spell the difference between a successful plunder and bailing water out from a fractured hull. We’ve developed a quick reference guide to help you get started on issuing crew commands via voice chat for a thrilling pirate adventure. Did somebody say, “Parley?”

Initial Setup

Sea of Thieves will prompt players to grant microphone access during character creation. If a player accepts, then voice permissions should be enabled during gameplay; however, if access is denied, players can authorize microphone usage by following the steps below.  

Windows screen with option to toggle microphone settings

Updating Windows 10 Privacy Settings

First you must ensure your privacy settings are adjusted to allow Sea of Thieves to access your microphone. From the Windows Start menu, enter your settings and locate Privacy. Click Microphone from the side panel, and toggle Let apps use my microphone On. You can now enable microphone access for Sea of Thieves.  

Relaunch the game to begin chatting with your crew. Reconnecting your microphone may be required for new driver installations.

Xbox PArrrty Chat

Players who set up a party chat can invite other crew members to join them. If a friendly player fails to accept the invite or joins the crew late, they may not be added to voice chat right away. Reconnect the device and ensure the microphone is not muted. You may also have to adjust your Xbox privacy settings, which can be found by logging into your account from the Xbox website and selecting Privacy and Online Safety under Xbox settings.

A pirate from Sea of Thieves standing on a dock

Using In-Game Voice Chat

To configure your Crew Chat Output, access the Audio Settings from the in-game menu by pressing the Escape key and clicking Settings. You can also adjust Crew Chat Volume, Proximity Chat Volume, and toggle Push To Talk, which allows you to speak by pressing and holding down a preset key. Push To Talk is a viable option for larger crews, so several orders are not being issued at the same time. Additionally, this feature will prevent enemy players from detecting your presence nearby. The default Push To Talk key is Alt Left and can be edited from the Keyboard and Mouse menu in the in-game settings.

If you’re not a fan of voice chat or simply cannot use it, you can use Sea of Thieves’ non-verbal communication methods by pressing Forward Slash and typing a message, selecting a common phrase from the radial menu, or choosing an emote by pressing the hotkey “Z.”

Understanding Chat Bubbles

Sea of Thieves uses proximity chat, so anytime a player speaks, friendly and enemy players in the vicinity can participate in the conversation. When a crew member displays an isolated gamertag over their avatar, the player: a) has no microphone connected; b) is not speaking; c) is muted.

However, when a chat bubble is displayed with a gamertag above the crew member’s avatar, the player is speaking. As of March 2018, a known bug prevents crew members from hearing other players speak. Try reconnecting your device or adjusting your privacy settings.  

If a chat bubble is displayed with a gamertag and features a slash through the symbol, the player is currently speaking in an Xbox party chat, or you have muted or blocked the player.


Following these tips will help your crew communicate better and give you the advantage when enemy players attack your vessel. Be sure to check back with GameSkinny for more on Sea of Thieves, and if you haven't already, view our other Sea of Thieves guides.

Sea of Thieves Beginner's Guide Wed, 21 Mar 2018 11:01:40 -0400 Anthony Merklinger

Looking to start your voyage in Rare’s Sea of Thieves? We’ve gathered the best tips and tricks to help feeble pirates get their sea legs as they embark on an unforgettable journey beyond the horizon. Whether you sail in the company of nefarious scallywags or brave the tide by your lonesome, our beginner’s guide will help you navigate the starting outpost, launch your vessel, and complete quests to earn some much-needed coin.

A pirate ship docked by a shore

Character Creation

Rare’s approach to character creation is atypical from traditional online games. The importance of player identity hearkens back to the notoriety of pirate legends who once plagued the sea, such as Blackbeard or Davy Jones, so modification tools to adjust hair, facial structure, weight, height, and other body appearance options are nonexistent to prevent two similar models from engaging in the same lore-based adventure. Recognition is king.

Players are introduced to eight unique, albeit randomly generated, character models via the character creation panel. Here, the “bare bones” of a character are chosen, as numerous customization features can be purchased using in-game currency from Outpost vendors or accessed using the vanity chest later.

Players can favorite particular styles and regenerate models to narrow their search and compare; however, it is worth noting that once a character has been made, it is bound to the Microsoft account’s gamertag and cannot be changed unless deleted.

Tip: Need to delete your pirate? Open the settings from the main menu and select “pirate settings.” A single option will be available, so you can restart with a clean slate. No more grogginess! 

Models hold shovels, cutlasses, grenades, hurdy-gurdies, pints of grog, and other pirate paraphernalia, though this is not indicative of the model’s role. Additionally, hitboxes are normalized, so larger and smaller pirates will have equal performance during combat.

ship selection screen in sea of thieves

Selecting Your Crew

In the absence of a central storyline, Sea of Thieves strictly relies on player engagement and cooperation for its open-world setting. From the starting screen, pirates can choose their ship class -- galleon or sloop -- and preset their group configurations:

  • Full galleon crew (four players)
  • Small galleon crew (three players)
  • Small sloop crew (two players)
  • Solo sloop crew (one player)

If you choose a full galleon crew as a solo player, you may be paired with other pirates from cross-platform play. Be ready to use the in-game chat and/or voice functions to coordinate voyages. 

Choosing Your Ship

There are two vessel types pirates can utilize to navigate: galleons and sloops. Sloops have a competitive advantage with respect to speed and tacking and are perfect for smaller crews, as the proximity of the ship’s wheel, anchor, sails, and cannons are within jumping distance. Though it provides less protection and cargo space than the galleon, the sloop is a viable option to make quick escapes or for sailing solo.

Conversely, the galleon is more open and requires more hands to prepare and defend the ship. Galleon crews can enjoy faster speeds when sailing with the wind but will be outmatched against sloops moving against the wind.

Navigating the Starting Outpost

When a player enters Sea of Thieves, they will emerge from a drunken stupor in the Outpost’s Tavern. The first objective is to become familiar with the basic hotkeys, prompted by the in-game tutorial demonstrating inventories, quest logs, and weapon cycling that can be adjusted in the keyboard and mouse or controller settings. When you have found a comfortable setup, explore the town to gather your bearings. Try sprinting, aiming, or charging up your cutlass' plunge attack before venturing into uncharted waters.

There’s a myriad of supplies stored in barrels throughout the Outpost. Stock up on bananas to replenish your health, planks of wood to repair your ship, and cannonballs to defend yourself in case of attack. You can also visit the armory box to swap your pistol and cutlass for a blunderbuss or rifle.

As a pirate newcomer, you'll be pretty strapped for coin, but you can visit the Outpost’s shops to browse a vendor’s wares or engage in conversation for some plundering incentives. Each shop -- weaponsmith, clothing, equipment, and shipwright -- sells alternate cosmetic items players can purchase to enhance the appearance of their character, equipment, or vessel.

Voyages available for purchase

Purchasing a “Voyage”

In Sea of Thieves, quests, or "voyages," can be purchased for gold from one of the three reputation factions located in the Outposts. Players can retain a combination of up to three quests at a time for the Gold Hoarders, Order of Souls, and Merchant Alliance -- the first quests, or starter voyages, are free. Completing voyages earns a player gold and reputation points for that association, which are marked by milestones that will unlock hidden areas and more significant equipment; however, the higher the reputation, the more complex and difficult the voyages become.

Players, in their quest to become "pirate legends," can plunder armaments to tackle more significant challenges, such as Skull Forts -- Sea of Thieves’ raid equivalent. You can also find hidden treasure maps along island coastlines, stashed away in green bottles. 

Steering a pirate ship in nighttime waters

Launching Your Vessel

Head to the Outpost dock when you're ready to launch, and interact with the ladder to climb aboard. From here, you’ll want to plot your course. Select the voyage you and your crew want to undertake (indicated by the voyage table below deck), and determine your heading by consulting the map table. Raise the anchor, drop the sails, and man the wheel as your ship carries you to your destination. Move the sail angle to catch the wind for increased speed.

Be extremely careful to avoid crashing into other objects, as your ship can sink -- along with any valuable treasures on board -- if repairs are not made immediately. If your vessel takes on water, grab your bucket and dump it overboard.

Tip: Consider reducing your speed and be ready to drop the anchor as your vessel approaches land. Also, be aware of approaching storms -- your ship and your character can be struck by lightning.

light blue smoke emerging from a flare at sea

In the event your pirate ship sinks, a mermaid will be positioned nearby holding a flare with a great plume of smoke that you can interact with to return to an Outpost (or your ship if you’ve become separated).

Completing Voyages

Voyages can be exceedingly vague or blatantly obvious, though the trick to completing them is using the resources provided, and perhaps a little bit of luck. Quests for the Gold Hoarders association involve hunting down and recovering treasure, whereas quests for the Order of Souls requires, well, skulls of the undead. The Merchant Alliance is a bit more elaborate, as pirates may not only be responsible for delivering cargo but may also have to catch wild animals, which requires securing a cage from the representative prior to launch (and after the voyage has been selected).

Use your equipment wisely. Activate your lantern during the evening, maintain strong supplies of wooden planks and bananas, and ensure your pistol has sufficient ammo. You can even load your ship’s cannons prior to setting sail. There is no doubt you will encounter ill-intentioned characters along your travels, whether they be other players or enemy NPCs. Sea of Thieves excels at removing a player’s sense of security, so be prepared for intensive combat and note your quickest escape route.

During combat, especially as a solo player, felling enemies is much easier when a considerable distance is kept, as aimed shots can result in a kill. If you run out of ammo, take advantage of the cutlass’ charged ability.

Tip: Pirates who encounter snakes can sustain damage over time if hit by their venom. Additionally, skeletons wielding blunderbusses can deplete a player's health significantly at close range. Take advantage of your ship's stockpile of bananas. 

a treasure chest in Sea of Thieves

Once you’ve completed a voyage, bring the contents to your ship and secure them below deck. Crews only get paid by selling the quest item to the association representative, who will divide the shares.

Larger crews should consider leaving a member behind to guard the ship, as vessels can be hijacked by other pirates. You can also douse the lamps for heightened secrecy. 

fog enshrouding the deck of a ship


The pirate life is not for everyone, and unfortunately, you may enter an encounter that takes a turn for the worse. Don't worry. If you're defeated, you travel to the Ferry of the Damned: an eerie ship captained by a pirate ghost (plus, you don't have to pay to get off!). Merely enter the portal located beneath the helm to return to your ship.

Defeating the Kraken

If your vessel comes under attack by the dreaded Kraken, specified by a dark mass underneath the ship, it is important for crews to remain calm and focused -- don’t dive in the water! Load the cannons and fire at the base of the Kraken’s tentacles. If an arm manages to capture a crew member and lift them from the deck, players should equip their cutlass and swipe at the tentacle as it closes.


Following these tips will help secure your advantage on the open sea and make you a seasoned, swashbuckling pirate. Be sure to check back with GameSkinny for more on Sea of Thieves, and if you haven't already, be sure to check out our other Sea of Thieves guides.

Sea of Thieves Error Fix Guide: Lavender Beard, Opening Journal, and More! Tue, 20 Mar 2018 13:48:25 -0400 Ty Arthur

New Sea Of Thieves players are in for some rough waters as the game leaves port for official launch, with a storm of "matchmaking has failed," "launch issues," "services unavailable," and "stuck on loading screen" errors ready and waiting to sink your hopes of a bug-free experience.

At least Rare uses more interesting error codes and bug names than your average game, with Sea Of Thieves glitches like Cinnamon Beard and Fishbeard scrolling across your screen instead of just a string of numbers and letters.

   I definitely don't want avocado in my beard, so the error name checks out

Sea of Thieves Error Codes and Glitches

Having trouble with these Sea Of Thieves matchmaking errors? We've got a full rundown of how to resolve all known issues so far, along with a list of which ones will have to wait for a patch to be resolved.


This particular Sea Of Thieves bug seems to be a server problem that is happening often as large numbers of players log in just after launch. Turns out they weren't prepared for so many people all at once! A patch is currently being worked on to resolve the issue, but for now your only real options to resolve the Fishbeard error code are to play solo or log out and wait awhile before trying to connect again.

Checking Pirate Roster: (Trimmedbeard, Kiwibeard, Fluffybeard)

Similar to Fishbeard, this glitch occurs when you try to join a game, and it simply means the servers are full and there's no room for another player to join in. This should be resolved in the coming days, but in the meantime, you may also see an associated error message like Kiwibeard, Trimmedbeard, or FluffyBeard. They all mean the same thing.  


This error code appears to involve getting stuck while trying to wait for matchmaking, and unfortunately there isn't a clear resolution at the moment. According to the developers, a fix is in the works. A few players have reported that a full system shutdown occasionally resolves the problem, but this seems to be luck and not anything that works consistently.

Lavender Beard

This one is caused by your antivirus or firewall settings interfering with the game. You can typically solve this issue by typing "firewall" into the Windows search, selecting "Allow an app through Windows Firewall," and then choosing the Sea Of Thieves program.

Cinnamon Beard / Bronze Beard

These two errors typically include a "matchmaking has failed" message, and this is usually a problem with your Xbox being unable to connect to the server. Thankfully, there's an easy fix here. You just have to fully close the program and then restart it.

Simply exiting out doesn't cut it, though, as the Xbox One keeps games running in the background. Highlight the Sea Of Thieves pin on the dashboard and hit the Menu button, then select Quit to fully close it down. From there just re-open the program, and you should be good to go.

Opening Journal Error

This insidious problem involves getting stuck on the loading screen or welcome title screen. Here's the thing -- it's not eternally stuck, just temporarily. If you wait six to seven minutes, whatever is causing the loop gets resolved, and it will eventually load, but if waiting isn't your strong suit, there is an official resolution to this problem on the PC edition.

To fix the opening journal/stuck on loading screen bug, tap the "Windows" and "I" keys simultaneously to pull up the Settings menu. Click the "Time And Language" option, and then navigate to the "Region & language" tab. Change the default language to English (United States) and the location to United States, then restart your computer.

It isn't clear why this particular time and language issue is causing the problem, but at least there's an easy fix!

 Changing Language And Region Options

Have you come across any other Sea Of Thieves launch issues or gotten hit with "matchmaking has failed" or "services unavailable" error messages? Let us know what loading screen issues you are experiencing, and we'll find a fix for you!

Sea of Thieves: How to Fix the KiwiBeard Error Wed, 21 Feb 2018 09:08:13 -0500 Craig Snyder

Sea of Thieves is set for its official release on March 20th, but you may be one of the lucky few that gets to playtest the game or participate in the current Sea of Thieves scale test.

If you've been playing Sea of Thieves as part of their scale test to test stress against their online servers recently, chances are that you've encountered some strange errors behind some pretty funny names. These errors, called ThingBeard errors, are most common on the Xbox One console, but some can appear on the PC client.

One of the most common errors that people are running into is one called KiwiBeard.

What Is the Sea of Thieves KiwiBeard Error?

The KiwiBeard error is caused by any of the following conditions:

  1. Sea of Thieves is not running a play session when you tried to log in, so you can't play right now.
  2. You have more than one Gamertag signed in to your console. Sign all other accounts out of the console, and only launch the game with the account that has been invited to play.
  3. You have not been invited to play the Sea of Thieves Technical Alpha. If you're registered as an Insider, you may be invited in the future.

Run down this list of possibilities and you should come across the one that's causing the game to throw this error. If you don't meet any of these error conditions, give the game a few hours to solve these online issues itself and give it another try. If you're still having trouble, send a message in to Sea of Thieves support. If you're signed into one Gamertag and you've been invited to their Technical Alpha, there's a very good chance that the servers are down.

What Are the Other ThingBeard Errors?

Although KiwiBeard has appeared as one of the most common error messages when launching Sea of Thieves, there are plenty more. Here's a quick rundown:

  • AshBeard: You must be signed into Xbox Live to play Sea of Thieves.
  • AvocadoBeard: When playing on an Xbox One console, you need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play online.
  • AlabasterBeard, AlmondBeard, and CyanBeard: Your connection to Xbox Live and/or the Sea of Thieves services has been disrupted or lost.
  • BeigeBeard: Your game client is out of date and you need to check for updates.
  • DaffodilBeard: Something has happened on Sea of Thieves' side of things, and you'll need to wait for them to fix the issue.
  • FluffyBeard: Either the servers are down for an update, or a playtest is not currently running at this time.
  • LavenderBeard: This can be caused by antivirus/firewall settings or misconfigured proxy servers and other network management settings.
  • LazyBeard: You have been removed from the active game session due to lack of activity.

There's also BronzeBeard and CinnamonBeard, two other very common errors you may experience. Although I haven't found any information on what it is that triggers these errors, they're easily fixed by pressing the Guide button, quitting Sea of Thieves, and then relaunching it.


If you come across any other ThingBeard errors, drop me a comment below and let me know, and I can try to help walk you through it. Be advised that Sea of Thieves isn't in a release state yet, so errors like this should be expected and very likely will occur at some point during your playtest of the game.

Looking for more Sea of Thieves content? Check out these:

5 Reasons Why Sea of Thieves Will Be A Huge Success Wed, 14 Feb 2018 15:53:33 -0500 Andrew Krajewski

Sea of Thieves is due to come out in March, and after a successful closed beta, most people are excited for it. Microsoft needs Sea of Thieves to succeed for them, and as of right now, it looks like it will, in fact, be a success. Let's take a closer look at the different factors that are helping to position Sea of Thieves to be the best game it can be.


Microsoft doesn't have as large a pool of exclusive games as Sony does, and that makes a difference when people decide what platform they use to play games. Fortunately, Microsoft and Phil Spencer have been making several good decisions in a row to benefit gamers. After the cancellation of titles like Scalebound and Fable, Microsoft redoubled their efforts to bring new first-party titles to Xbox and PC. Titles like Gears of War, Halo, and Forza have kept Microsoft afloat long enough to obtain new exclusives that include PUBG, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Sea of Thieves.

In addition to refocusing on more first-party content, Microsoft has doubled down by promising to provide these titles via Game Pass on day one for free. This is huge for a game like Sea of Thieves, which might not have enough pull to bring in an audience of its own. Sea of Thieves can expect a much bigger player base at its beginning, which will ensure a stronger community, which is essential to multiplayer games. The larger player base will almost certainly lead to more financial success for the game, as more people without Game Pass will either opt-in to Game Pass to try it or buy the game in full to join their friends already playing the game.

Sea of Thieves should be a big hit on Game Pass

Microsoft has also done a nice job of providing players with the Looking For Group feature so players can find other people to play games with.

Pirates and Whimsy!

There have been a surprisingly low number of pirate-themed video games that have come out compared to other subjects, like ninjas or mechs, for example. There are even fewer successful pirate games that have made their mark. I want to quickly mention four that stand out:

All four of these games are about pirates, and they did something that made them a success. These titles captured a different aspect of pirates that people find so whimsical. Sid Meier's Pirates! brought a complete pirate experience, from navigating waters  to sword fighting. Its open nature provided players with multiple ways to play the game, and Sea of Thieves is no different, giving players the freedom to go where they please. Sea of Thieves improves on this formula with its riddle-based treasure hunting that doesn't simply give players a waypoint to go to. The fun is in the journey, not necessarily the destination, and Sea of Thieves nailed that part of the experience. 

If we look at LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and the movie franchise itself, we come away adoring the silliness of pirates. Sea of Thieves is a tremendously silly game. Coordinating with friends to make sure your ship doesn't sink is an endeavor sure to bring about laughs. If that's not enough, the ability to load yourself into a cannon further adds to the fun.

Black Flag made waves (excuse the bad pun) when it came out in 2013. While treasure hunting (which I think Sea of Thieves refines) was fun and ship combat was cool, people remember the sea shanties more than anything else about the game. Now in Sea of Thieves, everybody has a musical instrument in their inventory so they can sing and dance with their friends! Black Flag also had a ton of customization options, which Sea of Thieves should take note of going forward. It'd be a ton of fun to customize our boats and pirates like we could in Black Flag.

Puzzle Pirates is THE pirate game in my opinion, unless Sea of Thieves can prove me wrong. It offered players the opportunity to run their own ships, be part of a crew, run different shops on their own islands, go on raids against sea monsters, and even engage in massive PVP ship battles. It had a fantastic community and great support from the developers. If Rare follows the Puzzle Pirates example and truly makes their game open world, where players can do almost anything they can think of as pirates, then Sea of Thieves will be set for a rewarding multiplayer experience.


If you gave the Sea of Thieves Beta a shot, you'll have noticed that the game is beautiful. The cartoonish look of the game is pleasing to look at -- especially the water. It's the best water I've ever seen in a game, which is really important for a game about pirates. Any game that draws your attention is much more likely to bring people into it, and every bit of polish that helps make a game stand out graphically certainly helps.

Co-op Gameplay

From navigating with your compass and physically pulling down the sails to patching holes and dumping out water with a bucket, Sea of Thieves wants you to work with other players. Sure, you can head out in a tiny ship on your own, but the cooperative experience the game offers makes it shine. Like Overcooked, the chaotic and silly nature of working with others will make this game stand out against its competitors. YouTubers and other content creators swarmed to play this game on their channels during the beta. Games with the support of these influencers often have much longer lifespans. Garry's Mod and Minecraft probably wouldn't have the success they do if people didn't continue to make content about them. As long as Sea of Thieves keeps entertaining via YouTube -- in addition to its own gameplay -- it will have a consistent stream of people checking it out.

The Unknown

There's supposedly a lot of content we did not get to see during the closed beta for Sea of Thieves. If there is one thing the game needs, it is more content, and hopefully we'll get a lot more of it upon release. If players are able to reach some kind of end game or obtain cool new weapons, ships, and even cool cosmetics, the game will further its chances at success. The gameplay of this title feels solid, so the only thing that will limit it is what players can or can't do. This unknown part of the game, if properly handled, should help build hype for the game and ultimately lead to more sales.


It is with all these different things in mind that we go into Sea of Thieves. So grab a friend, old or new, drink some grog, and set sail! Treasure and adventure are on the horizon, and it's up to us to get there!

Sea of Thieves is expected to come out on Xbox One, Game Pass, and PC March 20th, 2018.

Sea of Thieves Beginner's Guide: Tips for Getting Your Sea Legs Fri, 09 Feb 2018 14:44:44 -0500 <Mitten>

Is there anything better than smelling the fresh saltwater with cool wind blowing in your hair and seagulls chirping up above? Well, how about a jam-packed article on how to dominate Sea of Thieves with your fine mateys? Aye! Grab your booty and parrot and get readin'! 

Getting Your Pegs Wet

As of now, there's no telling how the game will start out when you first log on with your friends; there's expected to be a lot of changes between the ending of the beta and the launch day. But what is certain when you and your mates board your very own ship is how to sail like a boss! *cough* I mean, uh, pirate lord? So how do you and your crew take on the daunting task of commanding a ship? It's gonna take a lot of teamwork, quick thinking, and resource management to keep yourselves afloat. 

Pick a trustworthy crew or it could mean the end of a pirate's life.

Now, to traverse the seas at a high level of efficiency, there's certain roles the crew must first assume the responsibility of. Preferably, you'll want a maximum crew count of four players, but these roles can be shared amongst smaller crews as well.

Captain Cool

Starting off with a no-brainer, you need a captain to steer your ship and issue out the commands. This is your undisputed leader of the vessel, and as such, this position needs a microphone to discuss strategies, request sail adjustments, or even assign jobs.

As the captain during the beta, I typically decided whether or not we would attack a ship we spotted, when to cash in our chests, or when we'd go restock our supplies. You always want to be a leader and make the important decisions. 

Eagle Eye

Next is a spotter. Spotters need to be very flexible depending on what needs to be done and are just as vital as any other position. Whether locating yourself at the top of the crow's nest, behind the captain, or at the tip of the ship, you must constantly communicate with crew members on important points of interest. Such points include resource barrels floating alongside your ship, sharks lurking near swimmers, loot-able shipwrecks, hazardous rocks and cliffs, and especially enemy ships! If you fail to mention any of these details to your crew, you may find yourselves at the bottom of the ocean in no time.

During beta gameplay as a spotter, I would typically be the one to check the map to make sure we were headed the right way. It's hard to see past your ship's big sails as a captain, and they'll definitely need the directional help. 

The Brawn

Now, we're on to the side-help. This aren't sexy roles like captain or spotter, but they're just as important. These guys are the cogs of the whole ship and determine how fast and how safe your ship will be. This position usually lowers and raises sails, as well as angles them according to the wind direction. Also on the sides are cannons. Use cannons to clear out skeletons before approaching an island, slay sharks before diving in water, or (obviously) sink opposing ships. 

This is a very busy position in my opinion. I'd recommend this spot to the players who don't mind PvP, resource management, and taking commands.  

Ahead of the Pack

With the basics out of the way, we can dive into my more advanced tips that will give you the advantage over other starting pirates.

Anchor and Attack

This process is actually pretty difficult to pull off, but if you can perfect it before other crews do, you'll have the upper hand in every ship-to-ship battle moving forward.

If you find yourself in a situation where you see a ship coming after you from the opposite direction, you'll typically reach a stand-off. Both ships will pass by each other, and the crew will fire cannons off the sides, trying to sink the other first. Once your cannon is out of line with the enemy, you're going to have to take a big, long turn to be within range again. 

Stand-offs are a very common occurrence sailing the seas.

The most efficient way that I found to turn a ship in the heat of battle actually involves stopping the ship. How do you do this? Well, the second your cannons are out of line with the target, have your crew drop the anchor while the captain turns the wheel all the way to the left or the right. This will stop your ship, yank its direction in whatever way the wheel is facing, and essentially perform a drastic pivot. Immediately send three crew members to raise the anchor while the captain straightens the ship. Now you're tailing the enemy ship and have the upper hand in firing first.

This trick is also useful when an enemy is trying to escape from you or when you've passed a point of interest and want to quickly turn around. 

Sword Diving

There's a mechanic in Sea of Thieves where your character can hold RT and charge up a powerful sword lunge. Its purpose is probably for breaking someone's defensive stance or swiping at a target slightly far away. But there's another trick that you can perform by using this move.

If you stand on an elevated platform, such as a dock, boulder, side of a ship, or even crow's nest, face the direction of water and charge up your sword lunge. You'll suddenly fly through the air, dive through the water, and swim between 20-30 feet in a matter of seconds. It's a great way to get from point A to point B fast. I've personally used it to dive to my friend's defense with a shark nearby in the water, but it's great for getting back to the boat quickly, too. 

Human Cannonball

Shoot yourself out of cannons for quick travel.

This game mechanic is probably my favorite in Sea of Thieves, and it's what makes playing it so fun. You can shoot yourself out of cannons! I often used the cannons to shoot myself either onto enemy ships or onto parts of the island I thought had treasure. It saves you a lot of time hiking!

The Master Baiters

If you're lazy like me and want all the other pirates in the sea to do the looting for you, then listen closely. In order to gain currency, you have to turn in the chests you find on quests at nearby outposts. One of my favorite ways to pass time was to camp at one of these outposts, drink a couple beers at the local tavern, and wait on enemy ships to come by looking to cash in on their hard day of work. 

Once the enemy docked and exited their boat with precious treasure, my crew ambushed them and stole all the booty! After they were all dead, we took the chests to the quest master, and he rewarded us for a job well done! Is this super cheap and infuriating to other players? Yes! But that's what being a pirate is all about. 

God Save the Bananas

When diving under water, especially while searching sunken ships for abandoned treasure chests, you'll have a limited amount of time before your character can't breathe anymore. The screen will get darker, and you'll hear yourself suffocating. It's actually quite a terrifying experience!

Bit by bit, you'll lose health as you're drowning, and eventually death greets you. But if you're smart, your pockets will be filled with bananas! Yes ... bananas. These bad boys can be eaten underwater and keep your health from hitting rock bottom. 

Suddenly run out of bananas while deep sea diving? The sunken ship you're scavenging should have barrels inside them full of bananas that you can use to restock.

Call the Repairman

When your well-respected captain makes some questionable steering mistakes, your ship is gonna get walloped. If the ship hits the beach or a rock, and especially if it gets shot, your hull is gonna burst open with holes. This allows a huge amount of water to build up in the bottom deck of the boat and will soon sink it if no one repairs it. Gather up some wooden planks stored in your boat to board up the holes quickly. I always kept myself fully stocked on wooden planks so I didn't waste precious time going to get some. Make sure to pail out the water on the deck fast!

Wind Fighting

When our crew found themselves going against the wind, it was hard to determine a correct sailing angle. If you put your sails towards the wind, your boat will be going extremely slow. If you push them all the way left or all the way right, your whole boat will lean towards one side.

A way to find a happy medium is to aim the front and back sails one direction, and then aim the middle sail the opposite direction. This way your sails aren't fighting the wind, but your boat also isn't tipping towards a particular side. You still won't be going that fast; however, it's the better alternative to fighting the wind. 

Aye, You're an Expert!

Now that you've got all my tips down, you'll surely have a huge advantage on release day of Sea of Thieves. If I missed any tips or if there are ways to improve upon my own, feel free to comment and share your advice!

Sea of Thieves Chest of Sorrow Guide Thu, 25 Jan 2018 13:55:20 -0500 Ty Arthur

The closed beta for Xbox One/Windows 10 exclusive Sea Of Thieves sails onward as players discover more secrets across this long-awaited cooperative pirate sandbox experience.

What would a pirate simulator be without digging up chests of loot on forgotten islands? While there are plenty of your standard gold treasure chests (or even chests filled with grog!) a handful of extremely rare chest types are now being discovered by players.

One such ultra rare Sea Of Thieves chest is the appropriately named Chest Of Sorrow, which behaves much differently than your standard loot chest sold back at an outpost.

Finding the Chest of Sorrow

These are even more rare than legendary chests, so don't expect to find them often, but you can come across a Chest of Sorrow while digging up sandy areas on islands on a quest for gold, while exploring island caves, or sometimes by checking out shipwrecks while sailing.

Unlike your typical Sea Of Thieves treasure chest, the elusive Chest of Sorrow seems to be alive, but it isn't exactly happy about that fact. The chest will intermittently cry, which actually causes water to pour out of the sides.

Picking up Chest Sorrow in Sea of Thieves  Picking up a Chest Of Sorrow in Sea Of Thieves (special thanks to YouTuber JuJu BoJingles for the screenshot)

If you're on an island, that doesn't matter much, but that can be a big deal while transporting the chest in your ship. Have a bucket handy, because you can actually flood your ship (just as if it had a ruptured hull from combat) if the Chest of Sorrow cries long enough!

Remember that just like any other Sea Of Thieves treasure chest, you've got to manually carry it back to your ship using both hands (so you will be defenseless) and then sell it at an outpost for your gold reward. It can also be stolen by another pirate crew if they attack and board your ship -- or lost due to any of the other typical nautical hazards -- so defend it at all costs!

Keeping a Chest of Sorrow hidden somewhere safe on your ship isn't really an option like it is with a typical chest, since the crying will be audible and the leaking water is clearly visible.

 Clearing out a flooded hold as the Chest of Sorrow cries

Have you come across a Chest of Sorrow yet or found any other interesting uses for it besides turning it in for gold? Let us know in the comments section below!

Preorder Sea of Thieves and Get Your Fair Share of Loot Mon, 22 Jan 2018 15:17:37 -0500 Nicolas Entrabartolo

Yarr, it's time for some premium loot! Sea of Thieves doesn't come out until March 20th, but that shouldn't stop you from looking for exclusive treasure in the meantime. Here is what you should know for a fair chance at loot!

Microsoft is not offering a limited or collector's edition of Sea of Thieves, but you can order a limited-edition Xbox controller, decked out in all the pirate loot you could desire. This controller is to be released separately from the game itself on February 13th this year. But if you do preorder the game, you'll receive exclusive in-game items in the "Black Dog Pack" and access to the closed beta.

Sea of Thieves is a new multiplayer game developed by Rare and produced by Microsoft Studios, taking an action-adventure route to the exploring genre. You'll travel or battle with other players for treasure and booty on the high seas, and you'll command ships, brave perils, and unlock your inner pirate with exploration and tactics.

Sea of Thieves is to be released on PC and Xbox One. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Microsoft and Sea of Thieves news!

Sea Of Thieves: A Saving Grace For Xbox/Windows Exclusives? Mon, 21 Aug 2017 10:00:01 -0400 Stephen Brown

Announced back in E3 2015 at Microsoft's conference, Sea of Thieves made quite the impression with its first trailer. Marketed as one of the Xbox One's main future exclusives, it initially looked like it was set to be one of the most visually and mechanically unique games for Microsoft's console.

However, the swashbuckling adventure game was forever having its release date pushed back. With the game now being set to release some time early 2018, I want to highlight some of the pros and cons to this divisive title.

Sea of Thieves shows a lot of promise in some areas

What draws me to this game is the explorative focus that RARE are working hard to create. Being able to sail the seas with friends, exploring islands, and seeking hidden treasure are unique and exciting prospects for many gamers. (The multiplayer aspect is limiting, which I will touch on later.) In some ways, this reminds me of Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag, where you take your crew and sail across the ocean, doing battle against enemy ships, and finding loot and treasure, all the while listening to sea shanties (which was the best part of that game). 

The fact that the game is being made by the people behind games like Banjo-Kazooie and Conkers Bad Fur Day definitely helps provide relative hype and excitement since these games are such well received classics. RARE have the experience and comic expertise to deliver a fun and uplifting game set with an intriguing premise. 

The art direction is both playful and colorful, which reminds me a lot of Overwatch. It's not trying to be gritty and realistic, as this would not work well with the feel and style of the game. The graphics look beautiful and are stylistic enough to seen as next-gen. The art direction also goes well with the developers style, as their games usually go for fun and cartoon-like graphics.

There are some limiting factors to Sea of Thieves

Sea of thieves primary feature––the multiplayer aspect––is one that sets the game apart. RARE may be taking it too far, limiting the audience and gameplay. It is a multiplayer-only game, making it is a necessity for you to play with friends to get the whole and proper experience.

You can play solo, but you will not be able to man the big ships and go up against other player teams. For any average gamer, there is hardly any time where you and 3 to 5 other friends are free to play together. Therefore, it is a hugely limiting factor that will prevent a lot of people to pick this game up and play it properly. It would have made a bit more sense to have a system that allowed solo players to have a similar experience, such as having an A.I. controlled crew. At least this would allow players whose friends aren't available to still play the game.

Another issue I have is that we haven't seen any side quests so far. I understand that this is not that type of game to have side quests. However, what worries me is that nature of the exploration will become repetitive if there are hardly any story content whatsoever. For me, it seems that there will quickly come a point  where the novelty will wear off and the game becomes boring. Not much info has been given on what else there is to do outside of ship battles and exploring islands.

Final Thoughts: 

At the moment, I'm uncertain whether Sea of Thieves will be able to live up to the hype it has so far garnered. It's a divisive game, and I believe it will only have a small audience that is able to really play it due to the limiting functionality of its multiplayer.

I could be wrong, what's been shown looks promising, however there are aspects that look like they could stop the game from selling well. I think it is possible that it will not be another hit for Microsoft and their exclusives. With Scalebound being cancelled (which was a huge disappointment among people who followed that game since its announcement), Microsoft can't keep falling short with its AAA exclusives.

Xbox One X and So Much More: Microsoft's E3 Conference Recapped Mon, 12 Jun 2017 09:46:45 -0400 Zantallion

Microsoft and Xbox were the first of the Big Three console developers to present at this year's E3, and the company came prepared with a swath of new things to show off. With 42 different games shown at its conference, Microsoft put a lot on the table this time around. 

The conference kicked off with a flashy neon showcase, with multicolor wireframes slowly becoming characters from some of Microsoft's biggest properties, like Gears of War and Halo. This graphic eventually segued into a visual reveal of the Microsoft's new console -- known until now only as Project Scorpio. Phil Spencer walked onstage shortly after the showcase ended to confirm the console's official name -- The Xbox One X.

Xbox One X

Taking the stage after Spencer was Kareem Choudry, who talked about the specs and capabilities of this new console, breaking it down into three different categories: Power, Compatibility, and Craftsmanship. In the Power portion, Choudry mentioned that the One X has a 6 teraflop GPU, 12 GB of GDDR5 memory, and 326 GB of memory bandwidth. Under Compatibility, Choudry confirmed that all prior Xbox One games would not only be backwards-compatible on the new system, but improved with faster load times and more. Finally, for Craftmanship, he talked about the console's unique liquid-cooled vapor chamber, its new power management system, and that it's the smallest Xbox system to date.

The Xbox One X will be available on November 7, 2017 for $499.

And what about Backwards Compatibility?

Microsoft had a pretty big announcement to make about its catalog of backwards compatible games. A fair number of original Xbox games are being made backwards compatible in an update coming later this year -- including 2003's Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge.

Forza Motorsport 7

With specs done, Microsoft wasted no time diving right into the game reveal. It kicked things off with Forza Motorsport 7, debuting the game with an incredible reveal trailer showing off its visual chops, including dynamic weather and incredible environments on display. Also, in a world first, a new Porsche car made its debut onstage, the Porsche 2018 911 GT2RS. Driver customization was also mentioned briefly, with more details to come later on. Last but not least, its released date was revealed for October 7th, 2017.

Metro Exodus

Following Forza was a new title by 4A Games -- Metro Exodus. The trailer showed off a gas-mask-wearing protagonist exploring the ruins of a post-apocalyptic civilization, fighting bat-like humanoid monsters as they made their way through a ruined tunnel filled with destroyed cars and human corpses.

After sneaking around and sniping some hostile wolf-like enemies, a creature resembling a bear-crocodile cross bursts through a wooden wall. The protag runs for it after taking a hit from the beast, and eventually manages close enough to a cliffside that they can blast it down into the ravine below. Finally, the protagonist takes a quick zipline trip before hitching a ride on an old-timey train, which sets off into the distance.

Metro Exodus is coming in 2018, with more information on the way later this week.

Assassin's Creed Origins

Assassin's Creed Origins was up next -- and despite it being one of E3's worst-kept secrets, the game still wowed with its full gameplay reveal. As is well known by now, Origins takes place in Egypt and stars Bayek, the last magi (or protector) of his community.

It is said that Bayek will eventually become the founder of the Assassin's Brotherhood, and that Origins will tell that story. The reveal trailer shows off numerous aspects of the game -- with scenes showing off Bayek sliding down the side of one of the pyramids, horseback archery, coliseum-like arenas for fighting, different weapon types, and a gargantuan basilisk-like snake dwarfing Bayek.

The gameplay footage that followed shows Bayek returning to his hometown to assassinate a false oracle. He uses an eagle named Senu to do reconnaissance on the oracle's temple, before infiltrating it himself. The gameplay showed off some of the game's mechanics, such as slowed-down time when firing arrows midair, weapon looting from enemy corpses, and chain assassinations. Origins launches on October 27.

PUBG, Deep Rock Galactic, and State of Decay 2

Next up was Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, which was announced to be exclusively coming later this year to the Xbox One in 4K, with even more improvements coming on the One X.

A new title called Deep Rock Galactic came afterwards, showing off voxel-y dwarves exploring seemingly endless cave systems, mining valuables and fighting against huge hordes of insectoid enemies. 

State of Decay 2 followed, showing off the game's co-op play. Aside from surviving the zombie apocalypse with vehicles, melee weapons and guns, players can also build safe haven communities, dictating where everything goes in their new homes. Different special zombie types were showcased as players raided houses for supplies, with some exploding, some clinging to vehicles, and an armless variant spitting blood. 

New IP: The Darwin Project

A new IP, The Darwin Project, made its debut next, clearly taking a page from The Hunger Games' playbook. With an art style very similar to Team Fortress 2, the game appears to be a multiplayer survival game where the characters are on an in-universe entertainment program, killing each other in a snowy environment with all kinds of implements and weapons -- all narrated by a floating robot head. Different abilities for the characters were also shown off -- one had a protection forcefield, while another could go invisible for a short time. More information on that should be coming soon. 

Minecraft With Cross Play and 4K

Minecraft took the stage next, and revealed that it had a big update on the way. A community marketplace is in the pipes, allowing for user-created skins and servers to be created and shared online with all. Llamas, recently introduced in the PC version of the game, are also on their way -- alongside a gaggle of new block types and a new lighting update.

The biggest announcement however, was cross-play across almost all of the different systems Minecraft calls home. PS4, Switch, Xbox One, VR, and mobile devices were all confirmed to have cross-play functionality. This new update for Minecraft goes live later this year.

Dragon Ball Fighter Z

After being announced with screenshots a few days prior, the Arcsys-developed Dragon Ball Fighter Z made its gameplay debut on Xbox's stage, and its over-the-top nature shows hopes to keep Dragon Ball's legacy intact. The game has a 3v3 team/assist system much like Marvel vs. Capcom, with a 2.5D artstyle much like that of Guilty Gear -- but adjusted to match the visuals of Dragon Ball. Characters shown off include Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Frieza, Cell, and Majin Buu, with more no doubt on the way when the game launches in Early 2018.

Black Desert Online

Black Desert Online took the stage next. An MMORPG with anime-styled visuals, Black Desert looks to have a large variety of different playstyles based on what class and character is chosen -- but the combat shown in the trailer makes it clear that no matter whether you choose a magic or melee class, fighting will be quite the spectacle.

Artful Escape CodeVein

Up next was The Artful Escape, which appears to be a kind of rhythm-based infinite runner or platformer game. The game's paper-like art style lent itself well to the insane and surreal scenes shown off in the trailer, and it's rock-and-roll motif will certainly add to the game's charm.

CodeVein came next. This seems to be an RPG of sorts, with an interesting twist to it. The trailer showed off a handful of characters who appear to be party members fighting in a ruined city -- but what really set CodeVein apart was a system in which characters could apparently spawn metal limbs that doubled as weapons with which they could fight enemies infesting the city.

Sea of Thieves

We also finally got a more in-depth look at Sea of Thieves, and it did not disappoint. The trailer showed off a treasure trove of things that players could do -- like raiding sunken ships, following riddles and treasure maps to hidden booty on islands, exploring puzzle-filled caves, and fighting skeletons rising from their graves to defend their loot. Ship vs. ship battles were also showcased, and the player we were following put themselves into a cannon and blasted aboard the enemy ship, where they were able to take down the opposing crew.

After making a failed desperate leap back to their ship, the trailer ends with a shark eating the playable character, with the promise of there being more footage later, before it's final release in Early 2018.

Cuphead and Crackdown 3

Cuphead also had a quick reel, showing off its gorgeous old-timey cartoon look and finally giving us a long-awaited release date. Cuphead launches September 29, 2017...hopefully for real this time.

Terry Crews made a surprise appearance during the presentation. In a spot clearly reminiscent of his Old Spice commercials, Crews yelled and exploded his way to introducing Crackdown 3, which has fully destructible environments, a ton of different weapon types, mechs, and more. Crackdown 3 hits stores on November 7, 2017.

Lots of Indies & A Few AA Games

Tacoma also made an appearance. The spiritual sequel to popular walking simulator Gone Home, Tacoma follows a faceless player character after they wake up on an empty space station and try to piece together what happened while they were asleep. Tacoma releases on August 2, 2017

Super Lucky's Tale made its debut onstage as well, charming many with its cute visuals and fun-looking characters. The playable character, likely the titular Lucky, is a cute little fox who runs, jumps, and digs his way through a bunch of colorful worlds -- collecting coins and more. The game appears to be a 3D collectathon akin to games like Banjo-Kazooie and the more recent Yooka-Laylee.

We also got a look at Ashen, a very stylized game with a melancholy tone. The trailer showed inhuman grey beasts attacking and killing seemingly helpless and almost featureless humans -- who we were told by the narration are simply trying to find their way to "the light". Hopefully more details on this game come soon.

Before moving into its series of highly anticipated sequels and a brand new IP, an impressive line-up of indie games was showcased in a quickfire reel which included: Osiris New Dawn, Raiders of the Broken Planet, Unruly Heroes, Path of Exile, Battlerite, Surviving Mars, Fable Fortune, Observer, Robocraft Infinity, Dunk Lords, Minion Masters, Brawlout, Ooblets, Dark and Light, Strange Brigade, Riverbond, Hello Neighbor, Shift, and Conan Exiles.

Middle Earth and Ori Sequels, Plus a Life is Strange Prequel

Life is Strange also got its prequel revealed, titled Life is Strange: Before the Storm. Attending school, getting into barfights, lighting fires, and throwing tantrums in junkyards all seem to be involved in what is set to be the first of three episodic installments.

Middle Earth: Shadow of War took the stage next, showing off its expanded Nemesis System. Enemies that are defeated can now be recruited to your army via a new mechanic, and the amount of dialogue in the game looks to be massive -- as each orc appears to have unique dialogue all to themselves. Players can even set what orcs they want to be in what positions in their army before engaging in battle. The showcase ends with the player's prepared army launching an attack on an enemy fortress, with all of their recruited orcs in tow. 

Ori made a surprise appearance at Xbox's conference with the reveal of her new game, Ori and the Will of the Wisps. The trailer showed off much of the gorgeous art that contributed to the original Ori and the Blind Forest being such a hit -- and ends with Ori comforting a small, sad owl looking upon its dead family. Could the cute little owl maybe be a second playable character? We'll have to wait and see.


Closing out the show was EA and BioWare's momentous new IP, Anthem. Taking place in a futuristic city walled off from the rest of the world, Anthem is a cooperative third-person shooter with a massive open world.

Freelancers, the defenders of the walled city and the player characters, climb into flight-capable mechsuits (knowns as Javelins) to explore the wild overgrown world around their isolated city. These javelins can be equipped with all kinds of different weapons and gear, which can be looted from robotic enemies known as Scars. These items also appear to have varying rarity, as the demo shows a character collecting a "legendary" gun.

The world's events and weather are dynamic and unique, and include something called a "shaper storm" -- a storm with high winds and lightning, with a glowing ball of energy at its center. As the Freelancers fly towards the center of the shaper storm, the screen goes white, and the logo for Anthem fades back in, with it's release date listed as "Coming 2018". 


The conference ended with a highlight reel set to music of all the games revealed and more, capping off a seriously long showcase for Microsoft.

So what did you think? Did you think Xbox's E3 briefing was a hit? Or was your favorite title missing from their lineup? Let us know down below, and we'll continue to keep you posted on E3 news as it happens for the rest of the week.

E3 2017: Microsoft Predictions Wed, 31 May 2017 09:33:38 -0400 Curtis Dillon


That wraps up our predictions for Microsoft's E3 2017 showcase. Nothing too crazy, but we're hoping Microsoft really surprises us this year.


The tech giant has a ton of ground to make up if it wants to keep competing with PlayStation and Nintendo, as its console is currently trailing in sales to PS4, and in mindshare to both. The importance of this E3 for Microsoft cannot be understated -- the company needs to prove to fans that there are new exciting games on the way, and at least a few good reasons to buy the Scorpio.


I think it would be hyperbolic to say that this is a make-or-break E3 for the Xbox One. The console has still sold very respectably -- but as far as selling the Scorpio and being a part of the console wars conversation again, it's a little less hyperbolic. As the saying goes, "pressure makes diamonds". And E3 2017 will prove if Microsoft crumbles or becomes a diamond.


What can Microsoft do to win gamers hearts at this E3? Would you be happy with a partnership with Oculus? Want to be blown away by the Scorpio? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 


Make sure to check out our other E3 predictions: 


Halo 6


Halo 5: Guardians released in October 2015 to a decent reception from fans and critics alike, holding a respectable 84% on Metacritic. That being said, the game didn't sell quite as well as past entries -- and it seems that the adoration and reverence for this series is waning fast. Regardless, it seems all but certain that Microsoft's E3 2017 will close with a trailer for the next installment in the franchise, despite the studio saying it won't make an appearance.


It was reported a while back that Halo 6 will feature Master Chief as the sole protagonist, with no other playable characters. This comes as a surefire song to the ears of Halo fans everywhere, as the series has often gotten bogged down with secondary characters like Locke. For a while, it even seemed like developer 343i wanted to replace Chief with Locke going forward. Thankfully, it sounds like that idea has been scrapped.


Halo 6 will definitely make the Xbox's upcoming slate sound a lot better, not to mention it could be a showcase for the graphical power of the Scorpio. 343 Industries has said that Halo 6 will not appear at E3, but developers often lie about these kinds of things, and it's hard to imagine Microsoft not pushing for a CG trailer at the very least.


Cuphead & ID@Xbox


Where the hell is Cuphead? That's a question that's been floating around for a couple of years -- and still no answer.


This highly-anticipated game was revealed at E3 2014, a reported four years into its development (It's worth mentioning that the game started life under the development of two brothers, but now the team consists of almost 20 people).


Cuphead is a side-scrolling shooter -- like Megaman on steroids, with the art-style of a 1930's cartoon. The game is beautiful and was originally intended to be entirely made up of boss fights. But based on fan adoration, Microsoft decided to fund the developers to make the game significantly larger. So the team set about adding in platforming sections, which have, unfortunately, demoed poorly. Now the game is due for release this year and, surely to God, we will get an official release date at E3.


Aside from Cuphead, the ID@Xbox program will inevitably make a return this year to showcase all of its upcoming indie games. We Happy Few, Below, and Tacoma are just a handful of announced games for the Xbox One, with no full release dates as of yet. These games should be showcased at E3, alongside a handful of exciting new titles to play.


New IPs


Without a shadow of a doubt -- even more so than the Scorpio reveal -- the most important thing Microsoft can do at this year's E3 is reveal a new IP. The Xbox One needs at least one new game series very, very badly.


Taking a quick look back, and hindsight being what it is, I think it's fair to say that Microsoft has bungled exclusives all generation long. At first, we had Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome, and Forza Motorsport 5 -- all good games, but nothing mind-blowing. Then came the atrocious launch of the Master Chief Collection, the fun Sunset Overdrive, and the promising Titfanfall.


We didn't know at the time, but Titanfall set a precedent for things to come: Microsoft paid a lot of money for exclusive rights to a game and it ended up selling poorly, thus forcing the developer to put the next game on the PS4 as well. We've seen that happen with Titanfall 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider (kinda), and games from both Insomniac and Remedy.


The pattern here is very clear: Microsoft doesn't have the resources to develop exclusives and instead pays experienced developers to make games for the Xbox One -- which don't sell well. Microsoft only has a handful of internal development teams, and they have been quite literally forced to work on the same franchises year-in year-out: Halo and Gears of War. On a podcast with IGN this year, Xbox head Phil Spencer admitted that creating a development studio takes a lot of work, money and time, so expecting a talented team to appear from nowhere is unlikely.


On a podcast with IGN this year, Xbox head Phil Spencer admitted that creating a development studio takes a lot of work, money, and time, so expecting a talented team to appear from nowhere is unlikely.What does this mean going forward? It means Microsoft sure-as-hell better have an ace up its sleeve. Should we get a new IP reveal at E3 this year, it's most likely going to be another second-party exclusive that Microsoft paid for. One very possible scenario is a


One very possible scenario is a Marvel-superheroes game. Marvel has stormed the industry recently, announcing partnerships with Insomniac, Telltale, and Square Enix -- and one of those announcements is a PS4 exclusive Spider-Man game. That partnership could very well lead to a similar deal with Microsoft and a yet-unknown developer. Maybe at E3 Microsoft will reveal an exclusive Iron Man game or X-Men or Fantastic Four. There's a lot of possibilities there.


Barring any partnership with Marvel, Microsoft needs a new IP that rounds out its exclusive line-up. Right now, it has two shooters and a racing game -- not counting Crackdown, Sea of Thieves, or State of Decay. What does the studio need in order to better compete with Sony? Well, Rise of the Tomb Raider was intended to rival Uncharted, but failed to do so both in commercial success and quality. So the obvious answer is an open-world RPG, akin to Fables or Horizon: Zero Dawn.


More Details on Games Already Revealed


This prediction is as safe as can be: We will see more of the games we already know about. Here's a quick rundown of the major games we know about that should make an appearance at Microsoft's big show.

Forza Motorsport 7

Over the past several years, the Forza franchise has risen to the pinnacle of the racing genre. But for the first time in years, Gran Turismo is back with a major installment in the series. That doesn't mean there is any real pressure on Forza because the two series are exclusive to their respective consoles. However, It does mean that the spotlight will be on Forza Motorsport 7 for the first time in a while -- but I expect Turn 10 Studios to knock it out of the park.

Crackdown 3

Crackdown 3 was revealed two years ago, and we haven't seen anything of it since Gamescom that year. Based on the history of Xbox One games being revealed only to then disappear, this is a little worrisome. Generally, this absence can mean one of three things:

  1. The game had barely started development when it was shown at E3.
  2. \n
  3. The game is almost finished and it's being saved for a quick release.
  4. \n
  5. The game is in trouble and it's being hidden.
  6. \n

Each of these scenarios are equally plausible, and perhaps Microsoft has been saving Crackdown to really showcase the power of the Scorpio. However, if Crackdown skips this E3 as well, you should probably know that it's on the chopping board. Regardless, we will know soon.

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves is an upcoming pirate-MMO from Rare. This game was also revealed at E3 2015 and was lauded as a return-to-form for the ex-Banjo Kazooie developer. Hands-on impressions of the game have been positive but it's difficult to see the game being a big success. That being said, it seems an open beta could be announced at E3 2017, as well as a nice new gameplay clip -- and hopefully a release date.

State of Decay 2

State of Decay 2 is going to be a big deal. Of all the Xbox One games on this list, State of Decay 2 is by far the most exciting. The original State of Decay was a great video game, albeit with a few issues that held it back. This is the reason I expect the sequel to be a fantastic game that builds upon the best elements of the original.


The original title is probably the closest you can get to a true The Walking Dead/zombie survival experience. Undead Labs has hopefully fixed a lot of the bugs from the first game while introducing new gameplay mechanics and better graphics. And that's about all State of Decay 2 needs to be.


Frankly, Microsoft does not have a lot of great games on its roster right now. In fact, I can't recall any time when the Xbox's upcoming slate was this poor. The system badly needs a big new game, especially considering both Halo and Gears of War are no longer the mega-selling franchises they used to be. And with Sony nabbing high-performing exclusives like Horizon Zero Dawn and Nioh, Microsoft really needs to step up its game. 


A Full Scorpio Reveal


This reveal is the only certainty heading into Microsoft's E3 showcase -- but it's also the most newsworthy, and arguably the most important. Just what is Project Scorpio? Well, it sounds like a lot more than a high-powered Xbox One.


Based solely on the innards of the machine, the Scorpio is a next-generation console. However, Microsoft has stressed that it won't have exclusive games, thus making it a machine that merely improves visuals and load times for current gen games. And that begs the question: Why does it need to exist? As is the case with the PS4 Pro, if the Scorpio is solely for visual enhancement, then it becomes a baffling waste of resources.


There are two alternative scenarios here: 


1. Microsoft is lying and the power will be used by developers, eventually leading to the standard Xbox One games running poorly and becoming obsolete. If you create a super powerful machine and developers create games for it, then attempt to scale it way down to work on the original Xbox One, chances are the game will not work properly. This happened with Hyrule Warriors on Nintendo 3DS and the New Nintendo 3DS - it ran very poorly on the older hardware, despite Nintendo saying that would never be the case.


2. All that extra power is secretly for use with Oculus VR. It's no secret that Microsoft has a partnership with Oculus, and all the extra power in the Scorpio could be used to make the Xbox One the best place to play the Oculus. Should that be the case, I think there will be a large amount of disappointed Xbox fans, especially considering Oculus is, so far, the least viable VR platform.


What the machine is, and its purpose, will be revealed sooner rather than later, along with an official release date and price. The latter is also a huge matter for Microsoft and fans -- considering the specs, conventional wisdom puts the price tag around $499 (at best), which makes it twice as expensive as its closest competitor. Microsoft is in a huge bind when it comes to revealing the Scorpio, which makes E3 all the more exciting.


We're a month away from E3, so it's high time we start getting hyped beyond any reasonable measure! All month long we will be making some predictions for each of the big E3 conferences, from Nintendo to Sony and beyond. Thankfully, Ubisoft managed to reveal their entire conference in a recent financial earnings call, so they've done that job for us.


Today, we're talking Microsoft! Heading into E3 2017, Microsoft's conference is without a doubt the most shrouded in mystery. With a huge console upgrade on the way and precious few AAA games to go along with it (for now), Microsoft should have a lot to bring to show-and-tell. That being said, Microsoft's conferences can also be somewhat predictable -- most of the time.


That's where this type of prognostication comes in. We'll be making a handful of (fairly) safe, yet bankable, predictions to give you an idea of what you can expect from the upcoming conference. Microsoft has a lot riding on this year's E3, having fallen so far behind the PS4 and losing a ton of the remaining mindshare to Nintendo. So we're hoping the company comes out guns-a-blazing! 

Looking Ahead: My Top 10 Anticipated Games of (Probably) 2017 Sat, 07 Jan 2017 07:11:02 -0500 Zach Long

Looking at the list of games coming out in 2017 has me very excited to say the least. It's stacking up to be a fantastic lineup of great stories and exciting gameplay to make this a great year for gaming. Here are my top 10 games that(should) be coming to a gaming platform near you in 2017.

10. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Release Date: TBA 2017

Here's the thing about Legend of Zelda games, they're always good. I haven't completed as many of them as I should, but even I know that they are enjoyable when I do get my hands on them. With the dawning of the Nintendo Switch it should be interesting to have a fully open-world Zelda game, both in the living room and in my travels. This one is still a TBD 2017, but hey, with the Switch coming out in a few months, it can't be much farther off than that, right?

9. Sea of Thieves

Release Date: TBA 2017

Another release date that is TBA 2017, but looks like a lot of fun. I haven't always been a fan of pirates, but this one looks like a blast. Joining up with your friends in a custom pirate ship, working to become a legendary pirate against everyone else who wants the same thing. Not to mention, the ship combat looks really well done and like a lot of fun. I can't wait until this game drops, hopefully sooner rather than later.

8. For Honor

Release Date: February 14th, 2017

This one actually has a release date of February 14th. That means, instead of taking your significant other out for a great Valentine's Day date, you can get online and compete to be the best Viking, Samurai, or Knight that you can be. With visceral online combat and game types that are somewhere between team deathmatch and a full-on MOBA, it's looking to be a lot of fun. Hopefully there are more playable characters and enough differences in the characters to keep it from getting stale.

7. Persona 5

Release Date: April 4th, 2017

I played some Persona 4 a few years ago for the first time, and really enjoyed my short time with it. When I found out that it was coming out, I was immediately excited as it's been almost nine years since its predecessor came out. As long as this one keeps up the great story and fun combat, hopefully with a few more modern spins on the latter, then this one will hit my end of the year list high.

6. Mass Effect: Andromeda

Release Date: March 23rd, 2017

With the controversial ending of Mass Effect 3, Andromeda is set to bring people back into the brilliant world of the series, but with some new characters and races.

Moving away from Commander Shepard is a great move with how things went in the end. Having the wonderful story of BioWare's studio and gameplay that was nearly perfected in the last installment, this one will be filling up most of my free time come March 23rd.

5. Detroit: Become Human

Release Date: TBA 2017

I have to admit, I never did play Beyond: Two Souls, Quantic Dream's latest game, but I enjoyed Heavy Rain so much I bought it twice and played through it four times. If the quick-time events can be improved for the modern-day gamer, and the story is anywhere close to Heavy Rain, and it's as varied as the trailer implies, then this one will have me playing through it time and again, hopefully starting sometime this year.

4. Horizon Zero Dawn

Release Date: February 28th, 2017

Coming out soon, February 28th, it looks like a magnificently developed world with a unique concept. Most post-apocalyptic games don't involve giant animal-robots that are out to get you. Add in being able to ride some of them and a quiver of arrows that make Green Arrow's arsenal look like a bag of rocks, and you get gameplay that will have me trying to ride every robo-dino that I can find.

3. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

Release Date: TBA 2017

If you've ever played any Mount & Blade game then you should keep this one on your radar. With no official release date other than "2017", you'll want to find a way to track its movements so you can pounce as soon as it's out. It looks to improve every aspect of its predecessors. From improved combat, to even more ways to earn money and move up the ranks of the social ladder, to an improved map and a modernized user interface, I'm just sitting still until this one has a firm date, hopefully in 2017.

2. Red Dead Redemption 2

Release Date: TBA 2017

The cowboy game of all cowboy games is making its big return sometime in the fall of 2017. With the success of GTA V and GTA Online, Rockstar has a lot to live up to with the game to follow, not to mention Red Dead Redemption is probably my favorite game that they've ever made. Bring on more train robberies and old-west heists, and you've got me sold and plastered in front of my screen for Fall 2017.

1. Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Release Date: TBA 2017

A long time ago, I found this little game on Kickstarter where you are in an open-world RPG in medieval times, but without the fantasy -- it's a down and dirty medieval RPG. I was hooked from the first screenshots and the initial explanation from the lead designer Daniel Vavra. I Kickstarted and eventually got access to the very first Alpha.

The game has come a long way. The combat is spectacular and more brutal than any combat I've ever played. Once you get used to it, it's hard to go back to your standard swordplay. It is similar to For Honor, in that you pick the direction of your attack, only it's even more in-depth than that. The story seems to be coming along quite well and I cannot wait for its full release later this year.

Well, there you have it. These are the games that I'm looking forward to in 2017, hopefully. I'm sure I missed a few and maybe there'll be some surprises that launch out of nowhere and become sleeper hits, like there are most years.

What are your most anticipated games of 2017? Let me know in the comments below!