Sea of Thieves playtesters used harpoons to pull their ships up mountainsides

Sea of Thieves fans are anxiously awaiting April 30, when the anniversary update is set to arrive bringing a new story-driven campaign, activities like fishing and cooking, and a new PvP mode called Arena. It will also introduce harpoons, which can be used to tether your ship to other vessels, to pull barrels out of the water, and to hook into rocks and islands to let you make sharp turns while sailing.

But in the behind the scenes video above, we learn that Sea of Thieves Insiders—players who are testing the new expansion before it's released—took harpoon maneuvers quite it a bit further than the developers planned. They basically turned their galleons into Spider-Man.

"Players were harpooning up onto rocks," says Shelley Preston, senior designer. "And then, like... we hadn't quite got the weight and physics stuff right. And you could winch your ship up rocks, which was unintended."

"I think the highest mountain in the world, immediately... it seemed like every single Insider had climbed that mountain on a galleon, and then barreled down the island," said Stuart Milne, senior engineer.

Galleon crews being able to winch their ships up mountainsides wasn't the only unexpected result of letting players attach themselves to things with harpoon cables.

"Rowboats turned out to be surprisingly heavy in our game," Milne said. "Which was one of the more amusing moments, as a rowboat pulled a galleon off into the sunset."

"We've fixed that now," he added.

Samuel got a chance to try out Arena and the new campaign recently, and said Sea of Thieves now feels "more like the game I hoped it would've been at launch."

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.