And the game is reportedly that much better for it.
Sea of Thieves looks like one of the best and most exciting games coming up- the brand new IP from Rare is a shared world cooperative action adventure game, replete with the charm and wit that used to characterize Rare at their peak. It’s also something that is immediately accessible to just about everyone- its a game about pirates. Pick it up and live out your fantasy of being a pirate!
Indeed, that was apparently one of the guiding themes of Sea of Thieves during development, Rare’s Gregg Mayles and Joe Neate told AusGamers in an interview- to create a ‘piratey’ world where what had to be done was instantly understood. However, for a game that is about pirates, there is one thing that Sea of Thieves does not allow which is otherwise very piratey- you can’t betray and take out your own crew to plunder their share of the loot.
According to Mayles and Neate, this was a conscious decision the team arrived at after a whole lot of playtesting, where they saw friendly fire get in the way of actual cooperative play.
“Initially we, somewhat naively, allowed players to do absolutely anything, we just said “right, you’re pirates [so] you should be able to do anything”,” Gregg said. “And for a while it was great — crews would operate and sail together, they’d get to an island, dig up some treasure and then they’d shoot each other. So almost 100% of the game was ending with crewmates shooting each other, and these people knew each other, it was the dev team working together; all friends outside of work, but as soon as they got some treasure they were trying to work out ways to take out their own crew to take their treasure.”
“And it’s all personal treasure,” Joe added. “It was all personal reward, so there was no incentive to not do that and it got so infuriating, because you go on this amazing cooperative adventure and you’re building a bond with all these people and then somebody would just fuck you over, and you’d be working with that guy.”
To counter the problem, Rare took out friendly fire, and instead added positive things such as social rewards for being cooperative, while also changing the rewards system to be applicable on a crew basis, as opposed to an individual basis. The result is that the developers are happy with where the game is now- and hey, after everything I have seen of the game so far, I think I am inclined to agree with them, too.
Sea of Thieves will launch on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs in 2017