Even though you may have seen these stills during our San Diego Comic-Con panel, we thought you’d like to feast your eyes on a closer study of the Art of Adventure! We recently spent some time with Art Director Ryan Stevenson to glean a few more insights into each of these images. So let’s jump right in, shall we?

Enjoy the serenity of this scene and conjure thoughts of the adventure beyond!

If you look at this beautifully landscaped beach long enough, you might start imagining that island breeze on your skin or smell that salt-tinged sea air. It’s no wonder either, considering that this was one of the first images to bring together the unique art style of Sea of Thieves. The distant rock formation jutting out of the sea and the bright, vibrant colours of the surrounding space invites adventurers to go forth and explore. The curious and cautious might take note of the nearby skull in the sand, suggesting that the island has a history – and some of it may not be so fortunate.

Behold this bold lion heralding the coming of a potentially gold-thirsty gang...

We’ve heard a lot of clamouring for customisation details lately, and we revealed one of the ways in which crews can make their ships appear visually different during our panel: figureheads! Perhaps this proud lion speaks to you with its paw protecting a chest full of purloined coins. As ferocious as he appears, it’s clear that this ship’s figurehead (and maybe even its crew) shows some wear and tear.

Might this agent of darkness be a sign of a cutthroat crew?

To honour our thirty-one-year history of awesome game-making mastery, we wanted to include callbacks to our previous titles but still ensure that they fit within our new pirate world. For example, the above figurehead of a woman brandishing weapons is a worthy ship adornment for any fierce crew, but she’s also a nod to perfect agent Joanna Dark.

The bear's looking ready for a fight! Would you dare to engage this ship in combat?

Last but certainly not the least of our figureheads is the bear and bird! Voted fan favourite on Twitter, this one pays homage to the beloved Banjo and Kazooie. In keeping with the artistic emphasis on providing all items with a sense of history, keen observers will note that this bear is looking ferocious with his lifted claw, roaring mouth and scarred eye. Clearly, he’s got a story to tell…

The trio aboard this ship looks awfully familiar...

And speaking of tales (and the dead men who supposedly don’t tell them), Ryan announced that we’ve got ghosts in Sea of Thieves! These pirates were first seen during our E3 2015 trailer and appear to have had a tough time out on the seas since then. Now shrouded in an eerie green mist, still wielding weapons and playing a musical instrument, these souls show that there’s an afterlife.

He looks pretty jovial for a buccaneer with a bunch of injuries...

Then we also unveiled this ghostly Pirate Lord! If you look closely, you’ll see the gunshot wound in his side and the animal peg leg he dons. Ryan also pointed out that the figurine of the Pirate Lord shows the knives in his back. Doesn’t he seem like the sort of fellow who could spin a yarn or two? We’re not entirely sure that the stories end there, as he’s pictured here in the heart of a tavern, toasting alongside the living, still living the pirate life.

Now that you’ve had a chance to peer at the Art of Adventure, did you notice any other details? Can you spot the brushmarks and appreciate the illustrative feel of each image? Or perhaps you’re pondering the history of the island, the figureheads or the Pirate Lord? Share your thoughts with the crew and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or on our forum.