I first saw Sea of Thieves at E3 2016. While I didn’t get my hands on a demo, I did watch the trailers and footage that was available. There aren’t many titles that have Naval Warfare in them that I can think of, except the past few installments of Assassins Creed. Even with the Naval Combat that is currently out there, no one—in my opinion—has captured what it is like to be a part of a crew on a real Pirate ship.
A few days ago at E3 2017, we finally got our hands on Sea of Thieves. I honestly wasn’t sure what to think of the game. While we were waiting for our turn, I was watching another team play. I was totally floored at how cooperative the game was. Each ship had four people on it. While there are no specific class types, everyone just picked a task and helped each other out. From simple tasks such as loading Cannonballs, patching up the ship, bailing the water out of the ship, setting sails, raising and lowering the anchor, no one task was less important than the other. I think that’s what amazed me the most. You can’t win a battle without loading the Cannon, and you can’t stay afloat if your ship is taking on water. I almost want to say this game should be at all team-building exercises. If you don’t help each other out, you will lose.
Now it was our turn at the helm. InnaFox and I wanted to see the non-serious side of the game. We wanted to challenge the freedom within the game. Our quest was to answer the question: Is this game only for serious gamers?
The quick answer is no. Right away, I take the helm while InnaFox explores jumping off of the plank. Once she jumped, someone lowered the anchor to keep us from drifting too far. Then, as always I see two guys jump into the water in order to save the damsel in distress. Since I was the only one left in the boat, I walked to the front of the boat for some quick Titanic action, only to hear the shrills of people getting eaten by sharks. Yes, you can get eaten by sharks! To celebrate this moment, I open my inventory wheel and start to drink a pint. After all what type of a Pirate game would be complete without RUM!? While my crew is re-spawning and trying to swim from the island to the ship, I do what any good Captain would do—I drink more! It appears that the more you drink the more your view gets blurred and the ship starts spinning. Fortunately for me, I get a chance to puke all over the floor and whatever else is in the way. Once everyone is back to the ship, we all do a celebratory pint or two, while puking over each other. I am pretty sure the other crew members were enjoying our antics.
Finally, we decided to play a little more serious, so we lifted the anchor and set sail. The graphics are absolutely beautiful and the weather effects are almost real enough to make you take a Dramamine. Our time ended a few minutes later before we could get the chance to blow some ships apart, but we already had significant damage from all the goofing off we did at the start.
At first, I wasn’t really sure what to think. I loved the teamwork, but could I enjoy myself with friends that weren’t always serious? The answer is yes. The sheer number of things that you can do in this game will leave you with weeks of entertainment and a quite a few good stories to tell one another at the dinner table.
For our interview with Joe Neate, the Executive Producer, Microsoft Studios, please watch the video below.