November's Sea of Thieves update has been live for a couple of weeks now, a crackling platter of content designed to keep players toasty as autumn tips over into winter. In addition to new stock for the Pirate Emporium and Black Market, new skeletal skulduggery, new Voyages to undertake for the Bilge Rats and the introduction of firebombs to heat up your arsenal, we've had a team working on a brand new Tall Tales adventure which also dropped as part of this update – more on that just down the page!

As always, you can get the overview from our dedicated page on all things Seabound Soul, the full Content Update trailer and detailed release notes. All those things went live on launch day, so who'd want a news article dropped in at the same time, cluttering up the place? Nobody, that's who. So in keeping with our newly established tradition, we've come back to revisit this update a couple of weeks down the line, roping in Sea of Thieves Design team representation to treat you to some behind-the-scenes insights.

Official Sea of Thieves Content Update: The Seabound Soul

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In terms of special monthly Voyages, it's all change at Bilge Rat HQ this month as Duke gets spooked so badly by the skellies' latest activities that he takes to his heels in search of help. In his absence, Stitcher Jim runs the shop (including the Black Market) and hands out Voyages leading to ancient Ashen Tomes – or at least the Ashen Chests that contain them and the matching Ashen Keys. However, Ashen things being all the rage this month, your search is very likely to be gatecrashed by rampant Ashen Guardians...

Then there's fire! This primarily comes from firebombs which can be thrown or loaded into cannons, leading to either passage on the Ferry of the Damned or a slow plunge to the sea bed if those flames are left to rage unimpeded. It's fine though: your bucket is now reversible for self-drenching, and ships carry water barrels for dealing with bigger blazes.

The Seabound Soul update also restocks the Pirate Emporium with (non-skeletal) Marmoset and Cockatoo pet breeds, new emotes, Thanksgiving-themed instruments and the full Huntress Ship Set, unleashing a certain Carrington Institute champion upon the Sea of Thieves.

Speaking of champions, who'd have expected Sir Arthur Pendragon, hero of four 8-bit adventures from Rare's early life as Ultimate Play the Game, to return three-and-a-half decades later for an encore? That's what transpires in 'The Seabound Soul' Tall Tale, with an Easter egg hatching into raw Sea of Thieves lore as Pendragon emerges, spectral, from the wreck of the Blackwyche. Nothing as simple as death will keep this aristocratic crusader from his soul-saving mission. His arrival triggers the first new Tall Tale since Shores of Gold, the set of nine introduced in the Anniversary Update back in March.

Sea of Thieves Senior Designer Andrew Preston was deeply involved in the making of all the Tall Tales including 'The Seabound Soul', so we went over to find him and thumped insistently on his desk until he coughed up the whole story.

"We've been wanting to create a Tall Tale around Pendragon as far back as Shores of Gold, but it just didn't fit into that overall narrative at the time. Still, ideas kept flying around for exploring the story of the Blackwyche and deepening the connection between Sea of Thieves and Rare's past games. So we came back to it after giving Shores of Gold time to settle and making sure those Tall Tales were received well and players wanted more lore.

"Going all the way back to Blackwyche on the Commodore 64, its story of Pendragon freeing the souls of captains naturally tied in with themes we'd already played with in 'The Fate of the Morningstar' Tall Tale. So that was an easy fit, but we wanted to make sure 'The Seabound Soul' had direct links to our other Tall Tales as well as Pendragon's earlier adventures. That's what led to Graymarrow being the one who'd bound Pendragon's soul to the Blackwyche.

"Making Shores of Gold taught us a lot, and gave us plenty of feedback on what players found good and bad, so 'The Seabound Soul' is the first Tall Tale to be created with all that in mind! We made it to carry a real sense of momentum, constantly moving the player forward with no backtracking or looping around. I also think it has the best presentation of any of the Tall Tales so far, with some incredibly atmospheric music by our composer Robin, a whole new level of polish on the animation, a fantastic ending and just a huge effort from everyone involved."

Check out Andrew stepping in to help with animation reference for Pendragon (and watch the video clip)!

So what next for Tall Tales in the aftermath of this one? Back to Andrew for some carefully considered last words:

"The team tried really hard throughout the development of 'The Seabound Soul' not to give away or even hint at the twist in the Tale. Without dropping any spoilers, we've got lots of ideas around what we want to do with the evil presence newly unleashed onto the Sea of Thieves.

"The reception to 'The Seabound Soul' and the number of players who played and completed it were really encouraging, so we're very keen to continue the story and give Pendragon his shot at redemption!"

This return to the lore-heavy world of Tall Tales also inspired Rare's in-house Video team to craft a standalone trailer for the occasion, steeped in the atmosphere mentioned by Andrew above with musical accompaniment to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

Sea of Thieves: The Seabound Soul - A Tall Tales Adventure Trailer

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All nine of the Tall Tales that make up Shores of Gold are still in the game, so anyone who enjoyed 'The Seabound Soul' or appreciates story-focused gameplay in general should seek them out as a priority! Talk to the Mysterious Stranger loitering in any tavern to take your first steps into that unforgettable adventure.

The Seabound Soul content update – including Ashen Treasures, firebombs, Arena adjustments, 'The Seabound Soul' Tall Tale and more – was released on November 20th and, like all our previous monthly updates, is free to download for anyone who owns Sea of Thieves or plays via Xbox Game Pass. December's update will be upon us presently, so go explore this ghostly lore while it's still fresh from the download queue!