Who hasn’t wanted to be a pirate? Like a Hollywood-style, Monkey Island, Pirates of the Caribbean Pirate I mean. My college class on pirate history quite firmly disabused me of the desire to ever be a real pirate, because in reality it was pretty nasty and they didn’t have toothbrushes at sea.
For those looking to live through the highlights of the pirate experience, you’ll want to check out the upcoming game Sea of Thieves. Being developed by Rare Ltd, Sea of Thieves is a multiplayer online pirate experience that aims to be unlike any other, and in their recent time visiting the port of New York Comic Con 2017, the development team behind the game shared some insights and news with lucky panel attendees. In attendance at the panel were executive producer Joe Neate, senior designer Shelley Preston, marketing art lead Pete Hentze, and design director Mike Chapman.
The panel started with an overview of the game and its goals, for those unfamiliar with Sea of Thieves already. When gamers hear the term “multiplayer,” what usually comes to mind now are trolls, bullies, insanely leveled people who have been playing an MMO for the last 8 years of their life, and microtransactions. While there are plenty of people out there who enjoy MMOs, the fact is that the toxicity of the experience can be a major turn-off for a lot of gamers, and the ridiculous amounts of leveling that are required to keep up with others can be a big turn-off to casual gamers and those pressed for time. Sea of Thieves aims to change that. Developed specifically with the intention to avoid toxic gameplay without censorship or neutering player choices, the developers also aim to create a level playing ground that doesn’t segregate players based on the amount of time put into the game.
In addition to showing a peek into the development process, the team also revealed some new information for fans in attendance. First up was the addition of a brig (pirate jail) to the hold of each ship. A new way to deal with trolls and deliberately unhelpful players, if a majority of the crew votes to send one of four teammates to the brig, off they go. It’s not an irreversible decision, however, so if a player changes their minds and decides to make nice, they can be allowed back up on deck. Or they can be left in jail to re-enact that scene from the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie with 18 Johnny Depps on screen—player’s choice.
Another exciting announcement was the addition of single or two player ships. While Sea of Thieves is still intended as a multiplayer game, the devs acknowledged that sometimes people will want to try the game out without the hassle of joining a crew and that people also want to play when their crew members are offline. These smaller ships are meant to be crewed by only one or two people and have distinct advantages and disadvantages when compared to a standard four person ship, meaning that each cater to a different playstyle and neither is inherently a better way to play.
These new features, along with others, are soon to be rolled out in the game’s currently running alpha testing mode the team announced. And after a round of fan questions, I was able to talk to the team for a more in-depth look at the world of Sea of Thieves. Interested? You'll find it above.
Sea of Thieves is scheduled to be released in early 2018 for PC and Xbox One platforms.