'Sea Of Thieves' Devs Talk Captaincy's "Swashbuckling Magic"

‘Sea Of Thieves’ Devs Talk Captaincy’s “Swashbuckling Magic”

SSince its launch in 2018, everything has gone well for sea ​​of ​​thieves. The past four years have seen Rare’s multiplayer pirate adventure grow bigger and bolder: the game’s player count has only grown since launch, and updates, including the massive Last year Pirates of the Caribbean crossover – have become increasingly ambitious.

This week, sea ​​of ​​thieves will release one of the game’s biggest updates yet: Captaincy, which will allow players to own and customize their very own ship, from deck to scenery. Talk to NME, sea ​​of ​​thieves Lead designer Shelley Preston and creative director Mike Chapman explain that Captaincy’s extensive customization options have been a long time coming.

“It was always a question of when, rather than if, we would add something like Captain,” Chapman explains. “This is probably one of the most community requested features we’ve had in sea ​​of ​​thieves over the years. It is quite logical ! The idea of ​​being your own captain, with a ship that reflects all the things you’ve done uniquely in the game… it just makes sense. We scratched a very deep itch for part of the player base by adding Captaincy – and for us too! It’s something we’ve always wanted to add.

Sea of ​​Thieves. Credit: rare.

As Chapman goes, the Captaincy update is packed with major features that have been requested for years – but for Preston, who spent Captaincy’s development naming ships after his cat Isabella, part part of the charm of the update is in the little things. Players who purchase a ship will find that entering a scrapyard or sailing in particularly stormy seas will cause lasting cosmetic damage between sessions – and even worse, it will topple your carefully placed decorations.

The decision to include this, Preston says, is to give players a “sense of permanence” on their travels. “It’s very typically sea ​​of ​​thieves thing, the fact that they are knocked out. It’s a slightly unexpected but fun kind of contact we make […] Damage is something unique to you and your adventure. If you set your ship on fire – only in the bow, then caught it in the bow before it spreads further – then you will go [session] and see this charring on the hull. That sense of permanence was key to making this ship feel like it was truly going on between your adventures.

“It’s one of those little details that it would be so easy not to do, but it’s so sea ​​of ​​thievesadds Chapman. “We love that kind of stuff in the design team – it’s what you don’t have to do, but that’s what makes it special. It’s that little touch of magic that makes it seem like sea ​​of ​​thieves, but we’re still looking at features that go far beyond basic functionality: how can we make someone laugh? How can we make these little stories between players?

As the two explain, the idea of ​​Capitainerie has been floating around for a while. However, Chapman says it took time for sea ​​of ​​thieves‘ sandbox to “evolve” to a point where deep role-playing could fit naturally into the world.

“A lot of the discussion over the past few years has been: what are we going to do this year? What are the big, ambitious things we are going to pursue? Is it time for the captaincy? The captaincy has become a thing for this year because of where sea ​​of ​​thieves must in terms of breadth of experience – there are so many different ways to play sea ​​of ​​thievesso many different motivations and ways that your session may go differently now.

“I just felt like the time was right to do this really deep take on Captaincy where the ship starts to become less of a means of getting around the world, and more of your home in the world,” Chapman continues. “I think we’re going to see very different ships depending on how people want to represent themselves in the world.”

“There could never have been a better time for us to have made Captain, even though it’s something we’ve always wanted to do,” adds Preston. “Through everything we have in the game with this expanse of the sandbox, we’ve been able to create this really deep system where you can invest in these different playstyles and represent yourself through that. If you look at the ambition from Captaincy, it builds on everything we’ve created before it – it helps us to be able to make those more ambitious calls.

Sea of ​​Thieves.  Credit: rare.
Sea of ​​Thieves. Credit: rare.

Although most of Captaincy’s customization options have been requested for a long time, Preston said the team wanted to go above and beyond simply meeting fan expectations.

“Long before launching, we wanted to build this game alongside a community,” says Preston, who explains that Rare wanted to “embrace” sea ​​of ​​thieves‘ player base and take action based on the feedback. “Sometimes that means trying to look beyond what exactly people are saying and looking for ways we can still surprise and delight! It’s also very exciting as a design team, as we have to use our creativity to come up with the right answers for us and Sea Of Thieves.

Like Preston, Chapman is passionate about the game’s “incredible community” and says a recent sea ​​of ​​thieves Fest “blew me away”:

“It was a testament to the living, breathing community we were able to build with this game,” says Chapman, who admits he may have shed a tear during sea ​​of ​​thieves Closing of the sailor’s hut of the Fest. “It’s not that it adds pressure to the things we do, but it highlights the fact that this is a world we’ve created in which so many people find comfort. I think Captaincy is absolutely going to blow their minds. enriches the sea ​​of ​​thieves live.”

sea ​​of ​​thieves
Sea of ​​Thieves. Credit: rare

“The bottom line is that most of us have been working on this game for so long, and because it’s this experience that plays out differently every time, the developers are as excited as our players to continue making these new in-game experiences,” Chapman continues. “Our players will come up to us and say ‘you have no idea what this game means to me’, but that’s exactly how we see it – it feels like home to a lot of people. between us in the team, so I think we have that in common with our community: we love the world as much as they do.

Looking ahead, Chapman says Rare plans to do “more things that players have asked for”, but teases that “the most exciting are the ones where we really try to surprise them”.

Preston adds that sea ​​of ​​thieves‘ a grounded framework – with a touch of “fantasy elements” – gives the team “a broad canvas as we look to the future”, which will include “more ways to play a role in this world, more stories to create and more ways to connect with people.”

Specifically, Chapman says fans can expect “more narrative experiences, more world-enriching stuff, new environments to explore, PvP updates, and PvP updates,” and adds that “the variety of things we have planned for sea ​​of ​​thieves is as wide as ever” – a bold statement for a game that already has everything Pirates of the Caribbean at monkey island in.

“I think big, ambitious updates really expand that pirate fantasy, really trying to make sea ​​of ​​thieves that ultimate pirate fantasy,” says Chapman. “If you like pirates, there should be something in sea ​​of ​​thieves that you’ll fall in love with – and I think that’s the exciting vision for sea ​​of ​​thieves.”

The captaincy sails in sea ​​of ​​thieves today (August 3) – and if you need a refresher on what’s being added, Rare’s latest Sea Shanty will do.

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