Microsoft's rapid-fire E3 2017 press conference ran through a ton of games in quick succession, but stopped to shine its spotlight on an extended gameplay demo of Rare's multiplayer, shared world pirate game Sea of Thieves.

At the end of the new footage the game was given an early 2018 release window.

The demo (embedded below) starts underwater, with a group of pirates pillaging a sunken ship for treasure before encountering some sharks.

It's possible to take on the creatures but not advisable, so they quickly head back to the ship.

Back on board they follow some clues, in the form of a riddle, to a new island. Ashore they meet some hostile skeleton locals who began firing on the player's ship.

A little bit of combat and some exploration later, and the pirates uncover a secret treasure.

The escape leaves one player carrying the chest and unable to partake in combat unless they drop it. After a few close shaves, they return to their ship booty in hand.

There's no rest for the wicked of course, and soon the ship is under fire from a rival vessel. A fight ensues, ended when the lead player is fired with the canon over to the other boat to dispatch of their crew.

Sea of Thieves was announced in 2015 to a great deal of fanfare. It was the first sign in some time that Microsoft was going to allow Rare to tap into the undeniably brilliant creative streak that made the UK studio's name.

The game has been developed with co-operative play in mind, and includes elements of resource-collecting, crafting, player vs player encounters and more as players travel across and explore a vast world.

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