Sea of Thieves would be a very pretty yet empty game without the numerous dangers and challenges that surround the high seas. Skeletons are one of the biggest dangers and certainly one of the most common, rising out of the ground to protect their treasure and send you down to Davy Jones.
Taking to the internet once again, Rare showed players a more detailed look at how the Skeleton AI functions in Sea of Thieves. The skeletons operate in a way that is very similar to playable characters, after all, they are the deceased, magically charged remains of dead pirates.
In that way, similar interactions that playable pirates will undertake will also be emulated in our skeletal enemies. For example, sounds or damage will prompt them to investigate the area, searching for the source of the disturbance but will not act in an automatic way. If you snipe one from kilometres away, they will not automatically spot you, but instead will look around, trying to find he or she who dares to attack.
This also applies to shovel interactions, because a lot of the treasure in Sea of Thieves will involve the search for buried treasure. A literal ‘X’ does not mark the spot all the time, and a bit of a miss-dig leading to the shovel twanging off a buried rock can awaken them from their buried slumber.
Each individual skeleton is not going to be the same, meaning each encounter will call for different tactics or preparations. Blunderbuss’, Flintlock Pistols, Cutlasses and even bare-bones will test your skills under pressure, as well as providing a gradual difficulty increase – it will not be entirely fair to only have a cutlass and go up against blunderbuss wielding undead. Skeletons can also be gifted with special benefits that make them better than the average undead – a higher proficiency with aiming and faster movement speed are just a couple benefits that will make the gameplay a little more intense.
Not to mention, the skeletons also (strangely) have survival instincts which can see them run away, eating bananas to recover their health, making them stronger than ever.
Skeletons, of course, are not the biggest threat in Sea of Thieves, with other player-controlled pirates filling that category but they are an incredibly varied and nuanced element of the game. Rare has put a lot of effort into how they interact with the world and with us, as players, when we are fighting for our lives, or that precious chest of loot.