Sea of Thieves Developer Gameplay #4: “Four Feathers”

Rare, the devs behind Sea of Thieves have brought another stunning bit of gameplay for us to stare at.

The video shows almost ten minutes of sleek gameplay in full-blown and rather glorious 4K resolution, and it looks really, really good. I will admit that I’m a sucker for this game’s painterly art style.

We get to see different lighting conditions, plenty of navigation, exploration, combat, what happens when a character dies, even diving deep into caves. The devs in the video are hunting for treasure by following a series of clues and riddles.

This new gameplay comes alongside a detailed new update about progress on the different areas and mechanics of the game. The forum post details existing and progressing work on quests, AI and performance. We’ll highlight it below for your viewing pleasure:

Planning & progress

Game Experience
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.

AI
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…

Quests
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…

Progression
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…

PC
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.

Sea of Thieves will launch in early 2018 for Xbox One, Xbox One X and PC.