Posted June 15, 2016 by Andrew Cathie in Feature

E3 2016: Sea of Thieves Preview

When Sea of Thieves was originally shown during the XBOX E3 press conference in 2015, I wasn’t entirely convinced that it would be a good game. Enough was shown for it to be intriguing, but there’ wasn’t any real gameplay content shown and it gave me a sense that there might not be much behind the trailer. I got the chance to try out Sea of Thieves at the Microsoft E3 booth and it has gone some way to convincing me that Sea of Thieves may become a fun experience.

The demo I got to play of Sea of Thieves was within a smaller world built specifically for the demo and populated by 3 separate teams of 5 players. We spawned on the beach and were instantly presented with the question of what we should do next. One player quickly whipped out his mug of grog and proceeded to get his pirate drunk, while I got out my accordion and ran in circles and playing it. This wasn’t necessarily what the person running the demo expected us to do, but it was so stupidly fun that I couldn’t resist it. While we did eventually jump onto our ship to explore the seas, Rare have specifically stated that there isn’t necessarily an objective within Sea of Thieves, so this is what they want to see. Some people just having fun.


Up came the anchor, down went the sails and off we went into the ocean as the captain shouted at us that they couldn’t see anything in front of them because of the sails. This brings you to the real focal point of Sea of Thieves: teamwork. You see, as with a real ship, the captain needs a look out to tell them what dangers are up ahead, and shipmates to man the cannons and provide entertainment in the form of song. In Sea of Thieves each player needs to work together to get the most out of their ship, be it by directing the captain, angling the sails to take advantage of the wind or firing the cannons at enemy ships. While teamwork is a big focus on larger boats, during the demo one of the developers also confirmed that there will be smaller ships that require only 1 or 2 people, meaning that players who don’t want to run in groups can do this.

As we flew through the water, which looks absolutely fantastic, we came across an enemy ship that quickly turned to come towards us. We quickly angled the sails to pick up speed, told the captain where to turn and ran over to man the cannons. A wild volley of cannon fire was traded between the two ships as we past and then it was time to run down into the hull of the ship to repair any leaks that had been caused by cannon fire. Then it was time to turn around and go in for another volley until we eventually sunk to the bottom of the ocean literal seconds before the timed demo ended.

The sense of camaraderie was great and it definitely looks and plays well, but this particular demo still doesn’t give me a wide impression of what I could do within Sea of Thieves. It’s definitely a promising title, and this demo went some ways in convincing me of its quality, but there still hasn’t been enough shown to make this a must buy title.

Andrew Cathie

Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.


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