Rare Provides Sea of Thieves Progress Update and Preliminary Data on PC vs XB1 Player Effectiveness
Rare has been fairly quiet about Sea of Thieves after E3, but now Executive Producer Joe Neate posted a huge progress update on the Insider forums. Given that this is only available to Insiders and we're lucky to have access to it, we've posted the highlights below for your viewing.
Gunplay will be made more skill based, the quests will get more variety and the progression system will be fun and compelling, according to Neate. That said, while he originally planned to showcase it at Gamescom later this month, but the progression system is now scheduled to be revealed at a later date.
Planning & progress
The game experience team have been working on a range of areas. One of these is that we’ve had an opportunity we’ve wanted for a while to go back and revisit some of the gunplay to make it more appropriate for Sea Of Thieves. We’ve always loved the cannons in the game, they feel spot-on, but the initial version of gunplay was really just to add personal combat in, and we’ve always wanted to go back and revisit it. The thinking here is that there will be a bit more skill required, but it should also narrow the gap between how it plays on both platforms. We look forward to testing some of this out with you closer to Gamescom.
The AI team have also been revisiting some of the existing work, to add more of the humour, tone and Sea Of Thieves feel to our skeletons & sharks, whilst also looking at one of the more legendary, complex creatures we plan for Sea Of Thieves. This is in the ‘figuring out’ stage at the moment, and the range of ideas is staggering, but I imagine prototyping will start soon…
The quest team have been working on adding even more variety into the riddle system, and it’s been great to see this feature growing even further. Having to find a bridge connecting two giant rocks and stand on it playing musical instruments to unlock the next stage of a riddle is just epic. We’ve also just started on some completely new quest work…
The progression team are working through a ton of complicated work around being able to select your own character, through to the progression systems around the player. A lot of the lore in game also fits around the progression systems, and there has been a lot of great work around this across the team. Really exciting stuff. I’ve also seen some of the sexiest shiny items you’re going to be able to earn and they are awesome…
The PC team been focusing a lot of their time on compatibility and performance. We learned loads from the recent PC Alpha, even inviting some machines below our current planned minimum spec to see how low we can push it. There were some pretty encouraging results there. Alongside this, work has been ongoing on those all-important settings to enable players to change their settings locally. The best bit about this has been the naming convention the team have come up with for the settings, but I won’t spoil those here…
A game suited to both platforms
We want to talk about how Sea Of Thieves is perfectly suited to both PC and Xbox players, and we’re doing everything we can to treat each platform the game is on as a first-class experience, and our goal of breaking down barriers between players.
What is progression in Sea Of Thieves?
This is probably the KEY area we want to talk about between now and launch. What is it that’ll have you playing Sea Of Thieves repeatedly, what are the goals you can achieve? We have strong plans for this, and our progression team are working on pulling everything together. Initially, I wanted to talk about this at Gamescom, but upon coming back from E3, we decided to make the changes to the team structure to split into the teams listed above. The result of this is that I wanted to allow the progression team more time to get the systems in place to tell that story. I genuinely believe we have something fun, compelling and perfectly suited to Sea Of Thieves, but I want us to be able to play it together when we talk about it.
The world of Sea Of Thieves
This is probably the latest story we’ll tell, closest to launch. We want to talk about the world, the lore and the creatures. This will require our aforementioned friend talked about in the AI update above…
There are some other areas we’ll be focusing on, but these are the key ones.
It sounds like there's still a lot of work to do for Rare ahead of the projected early 2018 launch. Neate also talked about preliminary data on player effectiveness when fighting skeletons on PC and Xbox One. Apparently, PC players are 4.5% more effective, though this is not considered to be a significant difference by Rare.
Finally, Sea of Thieves will get an alternate communication system to voice chat and a system to manage crew members, though there's no ETA as of yet.