The Hungering Deep – Secrets Uncovered

The Sea of Thieves developers gave us some insight into their content plans about a week ago. While it is great to hear that they adjusted their roadmap according to player feedback, the actual content remains a mystery. They didn’t really say anything clear that could give us an idea of exactly what content is coming in the future, or did they? We did some research on the first content update, “The Hungering Deep”, which is supposed to release in May 2018. If you want to know on what other topics they touched on, feel free to have a look at our Roadmap Summary. But for now, let’s take a look at the secrets of the Hungering Deep!

 

What is “The Hungering Deep”?

The first bigger content update (Official video) in May is called The Hungering Deep. It’ll bring some new stuff to the game:

  • A new AI threat
  • New item
  • Timed event
  • New things to achieve
  • New things to unlock
  • A new way to communicate between crews
  • Goal to work with other crews to “almost uncover” this new threat

Now all of those things sound pretty cool, but it still isn’t clear what exactly we are going to see in May. What is the new threat? The new item?

We did some research to try and come up with a logical speculation for the update. Our sources are Rare employees, the lore book, and the art book.

Our thoughts and speculations

When we first heard the name of the update, we immediately thought of a few pictures.

Sea of Thieves artwork Hungering Deep

This was the first one that came to my mind. The name of the update sure sounds like it has to do with the underwater world and that the AI threat is some form of hungering animal or beast, not a human.

Next, we have this Reddit AMA answer from Mike Chapman, Design Director at Rare:

Sea of Thieves AMA tease

As the update will be introduced in form of an event it is safe to say that he is talking about the Hungering Deep.  “New visitors” surely refers to the new AI threat, while “traveling far across the sea, depth of night…” sounds as if they were some form of water creature. The “eyes aglow” hints towards the glowing eyes of the merfolk we can see in the lore book and “crawling the earth cast in shadow” seems to tease that deep water or caves will be involved.

This riddle immediately reminded me of a character shown in the 2016 Sea of Thieves Comic-Con Panel:

Sea of Thieves evil merfolk

This is an evil Mermaid. To understand what they are let’s take a quick look at Mermaid Lore in Sea of Thieves

Merfolk

Mermaids/Merfolk are a kind of creature in the Sea of Thieves world. They have their own language and culture and normally can’t directly communicate with humans. 

Where does the Merfolk come from?

Merfolk is originally pirates tainted by the “Curse of the Drowned“, which gradually transforms them. You can see the transformation in this gif:

There’s a poem in the Lore book with a passage about the curse. It goes as follows:


But if it’s you they’ve chosen
They’ll surround you with their kin
Your legs are bound and frozen
In a wrap of silver skin,

 

Soon you’ll be understanding
All that passes from their tongues
No food you’ll be demanding
Nor fresh air to fill your lungs,

 

And they’ll take you as their brother
Or sister as they please
And you’ll be just another
Of the merfolk in the seas

Note that this is written by a human that can’t understand the Merfolk, there’s a comment by a human that has the ability to understand them:

“..It is funny how people think about mermaids just because they cant understand them.”

What about the Mermaids we already have ingame?

According to the lore book, there are two types of Mermaids. The ones that follow ships around to save people that fall overboard and the ones “who actually run their world beneath the waves that we never see”. The Mermaids currently in the game look like this:

Sea of Thieves Mermaid

So they still have a lot of human features, which suggest they are only in stage 2 of the transformation. It might mean that they still have a human side, which is why they try to save other pirates from the curse of the Drowned, but there is no specific information on that in the lore book.

Where can we find the “evil” mermaids?

The lore book mentions that the merfolk can be found at different locations depending on the time of the year. In the story, they are currently not far from Golden Sands Outpost. The author of lore book mentions both an old fishing village a short haul from Golden Sands, but also another island. An island without a name and that people don’t care about anymore. There’s also some talk about ancient temples, which immediately brought the uncharted islands to our minds.

The Merfolk Lair

Sea of Thieves merfolk lairThe merfolk lair is described like this in the artbook: “Ship graveyard that’s been colonized by merfolk. It’s easy to imagine this growing in size as new victims are lured to their deaths by the sirens on the rocks above.”

We marked some things in the picture above. For one the corals in the top right, and the two temple ruins on the left side. Aside from that, there is, of course, a lot of shipwrecks around. Overall it basically looks like a scene from the uncharted islands with merfolk added.

Sea of Thieves uncharted island wrecks
The waters around the uncharted islands sure look like a ship graveyard.
Sea of Thieves coral reef
Corals and shipwrecks are the main environmental features around them and aren’t present anywhere else in similar fashion.
Sea of Thieves temple ruins
There are pieces of old temples that resemble the ones in the concept art a lot.
Sea of Thieves temple structures
More temple structures.
Sea of Thieves sirens
These little rocks and pieces of land around the uncharted islands look like they a good place for some Sirens. The artbook mentions that the team decided to place them on rocks. Therefore they had a lot of resemblance with sirens from Greek mythology during the concept process.

Uncharted island lore

Aside from the information above it is hard to research anything about the uncharted island lore. However, the isles themselves tell some tales. The temples built by ancient civilizations are long destroyed and under the waterline, but there are a few recently-built structures on there. They show a fishing camp or other small makeshift items.

Sea of Thieves lore

Our speculation regarding those is as follows: The merfolk sirens lure ships into the uncharted islands/ship graveyards. The ships then sink and a part of the crew drowns and possibly turns into merfolk, but some manage to escape onto the island. There they try to survive with all the resources they could rescue from their ship, but eventually run out of food and starve. This image of two skeletons gave us the inspiration for this speculation. Both of them were pirates and both of them died in a comfortable position, with their cutlasses in hand but they can’t have died in combat. Very outstanding is the fact that both of them are holding their stomach. We can clearly see a picture of two pirates stranded on an island without food, waiting with their cutlass ready to defend themselves from the mysterious merfolk until they feel that they are losing their strength and sit down next to a rock where they eventually died.

Sea of Thieves uncharted island skeletons

Other parts of The Hungering Deep

The devs also mention a new item and a new “tools that help with communication with other crews”. We are almost certain they are talking about the speaking trumpet here. It’ll be an equipable item that will drastically increase the range of the ingame proximity voice chat and also add a nice sound effect to your voice. Our sources found some pictures of the item:

Conclusion

While the developers tried to stay as mysterious about the Hungering Deep as possible, there was quite a bit to find out about it. Considering the evidence it is likely that merfolk is the new AI threat and also that the uncharted islands will play a significant role in the event. Right now they are a pretty cool and interesting place to explore and look at and we can’t wait for them to have a deeper meaning. According to the devs, the event will also bring new ways for players to interact and a reason for them to “uncover” this threat together, so we are excited whether the merfolk will require multiple crews to cooperate. The speaking trumpet sounds like a very interesting item and will surely enhance the experience of every police boat out there. What do you think? Do you have any other speculations or want to comment on ours? Please join us in our Discord, which has reached over 1.600 Members and has been a great place for finding crewmates and discussing the game. Come and join us! https://discord.gg/MrsvRdy

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