Bringing players together in interesting ways, encouraging different types of player encounters Enriching the world that players adventure in Giving players new ways to play Giving players a variety of goals and rewards Broadening the journey to Pirate Legend and beyond
Let’s begin with what Sea of Thieves does well, other than letting you load yourself into a cannon. And that is let you become a pirate. One of the main reasons it can instantly sell the concept of becoming a pirate so effectively is with just how impressive the water looks, behaves, and interacts with your equally impressive ship. Easily the best digital water ever seen in a game, waves swell and foam realistically, and your ship sways depending on the wind and current. Water splashes and rolls around your desk as you sail further out from shore into increasingly choppy waters. Coupled with the impressive lighting and translucent nature of the sea’s surface, it’s often breathtaking. Even after several hours. A technical tour de force from Rare.
An aspect of the studio we haven’t been this impressed with since the days of the Nintendo 64.
Letting everyone know we've heard the feedback and the proposed 'Death Cost' in #SeaOfThieves is, well, dead. We messed up with the messaging around this, and it's now gone. Thanks for the honest feedback & discussion on this. https://t.co/83pYg5HPbq— Three Sheets Neate (@JoeNeate1) March 26, 2018
As Sea of Thieves is Rare’s first PC title, it gave us the opportunity to develop a PC game with a slightly different approach. Our rendering team set themselves the goal early on of “how low can we go”, sometimes also referred to fondly as “getting the game running on a potato”, which is why we want to deliver a great version of the game even for those with computers below our official minimum spec.
OS: Windows 10 Anniversary (build 1607) CPU: Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 or Intel Iris 540 RAM: 4GB GPU: Intregrated HDD: 60GB 5.4k RPM Graphics Settings: Minimum “Cursed”
OS: Windows 10 Anniversary (build 1607) CPU: Intel Q9450 @ 2.6GHz or AMD Phenom II X6 @ 3.3GHz RAM: 4GB GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 or AMD Radeon 7750 Modern GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1030 or AMD Radeon R7 450 HDD: 60GB 5.4k RPM Graphics Settings: Low “Common”
OS: Windows 10 Anniversary (build 1607) CPU: Intel i3 4170 @ 3.7GHz or AMD FX-6300 @ 3.5GHz RAM: 8GB GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon R9 270 Modern GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti or AMD radeon RX 460 HDD: 60GB 7.2k RPM Graphics Settings: Medium “Rare”
OS: Windows 10 Anniversary (build 1607) CPU:Intel i5 4690 @ 3.5GHz or AMD FX-8150 @ 3.6GHz RAM: 8GB GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 or AMD Radeon R9 380x Modern GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 470 HDD: 60GB 7.2k RPM Graphics Settings: Medium “Rare”
OS: Windows 10 Anniversary (build 1607) CPU:Intel i5 4690 @ 3.5GHz or AMD FX-8150 @ 3.6GHz RAM: 16GB GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980Ti or AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 Modern GPU:Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 or AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 HDD: 60GB SSD Graphics Settings: Ultra “Mythical”
OS: Windows 10 Anniversary (build 1607) CPU:Intel i7 4790 @ 4GHz or AMD Ryzen 5 1600 @ 3.6GHz RAM: 16GB GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 HDD: 60GB SSD Graphics Settings: Ultra “Mythical”
AusGamers: With studios that have been around for a while people assume that it's the same people that are there after 20 years or more, but that's not how the industry works. I'm assuming the culture at Rare was established a long time ago, but Sea of Thieves feels different to just about everything we’ve seen before.
Joe Neate: Rare has been around for 32 years now and it's a studio that has always grown and evolved to kind of look at what new trends are emerging in the industry or kind of where player tastes are going and almost changing what they make and what they do to meet that. If Rare did just make the same stuff over and over they probably wouldn't still be around. Because player trends change, and player tastes change, I think what has always stayed true to Rare is that every game they make reflects the people who worked on it. So, the team's sense of humour, the culture of the studio, the values that Rare has. And so, every Rare game that you've grown up playing will have had a sense of humour, and it would have made you smile, -
AusGamers: There's a very British and dry sense of humour throughout all of Rare's history.
Joe: For sure. With Sea of Thieves, how we do that in the modern age, and a very different game than something that Rare has made before has been interesting. We've got this multiplayer game. We give players the tools to almost create their own humour. So, firing stuff out of cannons, getting drunk, and um, being able to be sick, and throwing up into buckets and throwing up on each other. All those things. It's almost like the difference between improv comedy and stand-up comedy. A game that delivers the jokes to you and tells you the jokes and makes you smile is like a stand-up comedian. Whereas in improv comedy, it's very much situational and dependent on the kind of tools you're given. But it's still funny.
Craig Duncan: You know Rare’s history, which was really secretive and did everything in a bubble. So one thing was, 'hey, we need to be building a game in this way'. Like, we're going to go build a new IP, to do that in a very open, transparent way, and get a community involved who will actually help. [We need to] make sure we're building a game that people love and resonates with them, but also has this really nice side effect that people go on that development journey with you. And they kind of get that passion to understand what you're trying to do.
This is where the transparency comes in. We've been very open. Since we showed gameplay for the first time last E3 we've been very open with our community talking about, "Hey, this is some of the stuff we're thinking about, here's some of the stuff on the roadmap". And, as well as that, running these technical alpha play tests, where we have people come in and play and give us direct feedback on features, give us… (obviously we survey them when they play), so give us feedback on how much fun they thought it was, how buggy they thought it was. You know, some really, really good stuff.
Craig Duncan: The other thing we said from the very start, is this is all about players as the critical source. And we wanted -- the way games are made now, how you socialise your gameplay experiences, whether you're tweeting about them or streaming or making videos -- people share games very differently. We can't say, "Hey, we want to make a game where every time you play, it's magic and it's a different story and it's unique and it's your adventure". So you kind of put those two things together, and, really, you need to build a game with a community to go do that, because everyone can play our game in a completely different way. And our players do - some players are very aggressively motivated and want to go seek ships and steal treasure and kill other pirates. Some are very exploration motivated and want to go travel the world.
And some are very socially motivated, they just want to go have a good time and play a game with their friends, so socially they can just go and have some fun.
Honestly, Sea of Thieves was probably the game I had the most fun with at E3, and I only played roughly 15-minutes of it, but it’s packed with potential. The game is a series of systems and opportunities, which then require the player to determine how they all work together. Actually, scratch that. It’s not the “player”, it’s players.Click here for our complete Sea of Thieves interview feature.
“It’s a shared-world experience; a shared adventure game,” adds executive producer Joe Neate. “And what that really means is that every time you see a set of sails in the distance, that’s another group of players and you’re not really sure what their intentions are -- are they going to come at you? Do they maybe need help? Do they want to parlay, or trade, or anything else?”
It’s best described as a kind of co-operative experience, with a team-based competitive side, as well as a personal progression component. You’re sort of forced to play together and perform individual roles, specifically on ships, but as a pirate it’s not a hard and fast ruleset -- you get to play the game how you like.