Sometimes games are so charming and full of life that they transcend their gameplay, becoming immersive, social experiences that are more about the people around you than which button you’re pressing. Sea of Thieves is exactly that kind of game. It’s a game that was just as fun when we succeeded as when we epically failed.
Simply put, Sea of Thieves is a game about being a pirate, and everything that comes with that – and it’s a shared-world game where you’ll encounter other crews of players. In our E3 demo, three crews of pirates explored a shared patch of island-dotted sea, and were given the freedom to do whatever they wanted.
So we did just that.
We hopped onto a ship, raised anchor, lowered the sails, and set off on adventure. Finding an island that looked like it might contain treasure, the crew disembarked to explore. We watched the sunset from the top of a mountain and drank grog. Then we busted out our musical instruments and played a sea shanty version of Rise of the Valkyries.
And that’s when another ship showed up and attacked.
Still wobbly from the grog, we clambered back onto our ship, our captain barking orders to raise anchor and man the cannons. A full-on battle had broken out, cannonballs pummeling down on us. When the hull got damaged, someone needed to head below to board up the holes in hopes of preventing the ship from taking on water. We constantly had to communicate with the whole team because there was so much that needed to be done simultaneously. It’s hard to imagine being able to even play Sea of Thieves with fewer than four players on your ship, though Rare says the game will support smaller, one-to-two-person ships.
Unfortunately for our crew, the assault from the rival ship was too much, and as we took on more and more water our ship listed to the side and began to sink. We abandoned ship, and watched as our beautiful vessel sank to the depths of the ocean. So we swam to shore to resume drinking and playing music on an idyllic beach. The chaos of the whole experience added to the fun, and showcased how Sea of Thieves can be a game that’s as calm or as crazy as you want to make it.
With just this small taste of what Sea of Thieves offers, we’re already having an amazingly fun time. With no release date set yet, Sea of Thieves may be a ways off, but this is an extremely promising early look. We can’t wait to try our hand at swordplay, bury some treasure, find a port town to drink more grog in, and do all the things that come with a pirate’s life on the high seas.