Sea of Thieves is giving away a real gold skull for its "greatest treasure hunt" ever

Sea of Thieves
(Image credit: Rare)

Sea of Thieves' next Mystery will give you the chance to strike literal, real-life gold.

The first Sea of Thieves Mystery tasked players with finding and deciphering clues in and out of the game over the course of four months, but all rewards were strictly in-game. With the game's second Mystery, titled The Hoarder's Hunt, eagle-eyed pirates will have the chance to earn some real-world loot.

The top prize is a beautiful replica Gold Hoarder skull, an artist's rendition of which you can see just above. The skull comes with four golden keys you can share with your crewmates, though I suspect there will be some disagreement over who gets the skull itself. 10 runners-up will get exclusive silver keys and 100 third-place sleuths will get Reaper's Mark medallions, while everyone else can collect in-game titles, trinkets, and gold as usual. Even those not taking part in the treasure hunt will find Bullion Crowns washed up around the world, and they fetch a handsome price at the Gold Hoarders.

"What better way to reward the community for taking par tin the great treasure hunt the sea of thieves has ever seen than a real-world golden prize that they can cherish forever?" said lead designer Christopher Davies.

So how does it work? Well, a dedicated page for the Mystery will go live on Thursday, May 11, at which point eligible pirates will need to opt-in to start receiving clues. From there, you'll be sent to "obscure corners of the internet" for the first set of clues, and those will lead the most keen-eyed detectives to a keyword that'll unlock an in-game Voyage. Beat that and you'll have completed the first of four stages, titled Skin of Gold, A Feathered Fortune, Portrait of Plunder, and The Crowning Glory.

Each stage will consist of an ARG clue hunt out in the real-world and an in-game Voyage, and the final stage will be a race to the finish line to see who can get their grubby hands on an in-game key first. As you might've guessed, whoever gets the key can complete the Mystery and collect the top booty.

The story behind the Hoarder's Hunt Mystery is teased in a cryptic video, and it seems to involve a puppet master of sorts getting revenge for an "unjust punishment."

"Inspired by real-world treasure hunts and pop culture classics such as Ready Player One, The Hoarder’s Hunt is an epic adventure which offers an unforgettable and unique treasure," reads a blurb on the official Sea of Thieves website. "This Mystery pulls together the best of what we learned from Who Killed DeMarco? while also paying homage to famous Easter eggs and treasure hunts that came before."

Rare says more information about who will be and won't be eligible, as well as the full terms and conditions, will be revealed when the Mystery's webpage goes live next week.

Find out why we ranked Sea of Thieves among the best Xbox Series X games you can play right now.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.