Last week, I flew to Birmingham, UK to visit Rare Studios. What was I doing there? Well, celebrating the first anniversary of Sea of Thieves with the developer and learning more about the upcoming Anniversary Edition, which launched on April 30, 2019 across Xbox One and PC.
What I saw left me wanting more Sea of Thieves, a game which launched with little content but has since become a vastly different experience.
The video above, paints a good picture of the last year for Sea of Thieves, and this post on ResetEra breaks down what each of the four updates added to the game.
The Hungering Deep
This update added Merrick and his hunt to the game. You had to use the newly added drum together with another crew to complete this mission. This introduced the Megalodon species to the seas and several species out for your ship and crew.
On The Hungering Deep: Rare celebrated the release of the Megalodon and the narrative attached to the questline, shared with friends to celebrate the inclusion of the monster
In this update, you had to find a skeleton ship hiding in the deep waters somewhere in the Sea of Thieves. Once you had found the cursed ship, it was your task to defeat it. This update added a skeleton ship, a lot of cosmetics and the ability to form alliances. In this update, Rare also added a three-player ship: The Brigantine.
On The Cursed Sails: Rare featured a revolving narrative over several weeks, “to tell a narrative story in a shared world, have the feeling of a scripted quest but have it play out in a world where anything can happen. What Tall Tales represents is a scripted story in the Sea of Thieves world.
Forsaken Shores added a completely new region to Sea of Thieves. With volcanos, geysers and steaming hot water. The update also added a new Outpost and cargo runs to the game. These are missions where you must deliver certain goods from one spot to another. And to survive the steaming hot water in the Devil’s Roar, a rowboat was added. This way you can get to the islands without damaging your ship, or yourself. Essentially, this serves as an advanced player area for skilled players.
The Shrouded Spoils
This update introduced mists to Sea of Thieves.
After my initial review, which featured great ideas but lack of content, ended up transforming into a game worth returning to, one year on. I dived back in after the first update, The Hungering Deep, but soon moved on after seeing what was available.
One year later, and an entire day with the Anniversary Update left me wanting to board a Brigantine and sail the seas with friends. My review stated that vanilla Sea of Thieves held the skeleton of a great game but little else. I’m happy to say that since that review, everything about the game has changed for the better and the studio is working on some exciting things.
The studio visit allowed me the chance to play the first quest of Tall Tales – Shores of Gold, an epic storyline that expands the lore of Sea of Thieves, try out the new fishing mechanic, interact with the new Hunter’s Guild, and lots of harpooning in between.
Before our first play session, Executive Producer Joe Neate spoke to us briefly about Tall Tales, “I think it’s it makes you look at Sea of Thieves in a completely new light.” Neate continued, “it’s a complete new way to play. It gives you that just that feeling of going on an adventure and reminds me of all 1980s action-adventure movies like Indiana Jones!”
Neate had much to say about the game and his passion is evident in his words and how he presented the game to us. “We wanted to build a game where on one moment you get drunk and throw up all over your friends and you try to seek out each other and people who play musical instruments and it’s this funny kind of throwaway experience,” Neate explained, “on the other hand it’s ominous where you’re attacked by the Kraken or you see a skull cloud on the horizon and you have a Skeleton Fort.”
With Tall Tales, “we wanted to build tales that could give you these emotions on demand.” Across several episodes, each with their own stories and different emotions. According to Neate, one of the first builds featured a love story within the Sea of Thieves world.
I had to see this with my own eyes to believe the claim.