Rare wants Sea of Thieves to be a multiplayer game for all. From the most die-hard pirate to the fresh greenhorn. Executive Producer Joe Neate and Senior Designer Shelley Preston walk us through some of the ways Rare is making a game that is a “truly welcoming experience.” I’ll touch on a few of the big topics in case you can’t watch the video right now.
Freedom is one of the biggest design pillars in an open-world multiplayer game like this. But Rare found out early on that too much freedom didn’t quite translate well to co-op gameplay. Betrayal came swiftly to the Sea of Thieves world.
“It wasn’t a rare thing that we thought it would be,” Preston says about team-killing. “It happened all the time.” Hey, it’s a pirate game. Gamers are just role-playing.
But team-killing doesn’t have a place in a multiplayer game designed for everyone. That’s not to say you won’t do your fair sure of killing and looting. But, “the crew bond is absolutely sacred,” according to Preston.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to mess with your friends, though. Or punish those on your crew who aren’t playing nice. Your ship includes a brig where you can put your unruly crewmember. The whole crew votes on whether or not to toss another crewmember into the brig. I can already envision folks tossing other people into the brig when they get too close to the loot.
Rare is also thinking about those of us who might not want to play with a crew of four. Two-man ships are coming to Sea of Thieves. Maybe you just want to play with one other friend. Or, don’t feel comfortable jumping right into a group of strangers. Rare gets that, but also hopes this system acts as a stepping stone towards these players joining a four-person crew.
Non-verbal communication is another focus for the team. It works as an accessibility feature and for those of us who stay up way too late gaming and don’t want to wake the family. It’s a text-based system we’ve seen in games like Battlefield.
The video above is a cool, behind the scenes look at how Rare is approaching Sea of Thieves, and what their thought process is behind many of the features. It’s always interesting to see why developers design certain features the way they do.
Sea of Thieves is coming to Xbox One and PC in Spring 2018. You can also sign up to join the Sea of Thieves Insider Program and start playing now. Rare is adding new players at a decent clip, so sign up if you want to help shape the final product.