Whether you get it or not, it’s pretty apparent by now that there’s a huge demand for viewers to watch other people play video games and offer running commentary while doing so.
That’s Twitch in a nutshell, and it’s an audience that the Sea of Thieves team is keeping in mind as it develops its game. In a new dev video out today, Bungie said that it has always tried to make the spectator experience of Sea of Thieves captivating and enjoyable. And the studio is making no (skull)bones about trying to harness Twitch to propel the game forward.
“I think we have to think of games like that these days,” said Executive Producer Joe Neate. “It’s not just about the player; it’s about the viewer too. They’re both an audience and they’re both people that have a say in it.”
Check out the conversation — including a look at Sea of Thieves’ earliest demo prototype — after the break!
For everything, there is a season, turn turn turn. We’ve bid farewell to Albion Online this week, as it has launched properly and thus no longer qualifies as being in beta, but we also can say hello to the early access period for Dark and Light. Seriously, that just came out of nowhere, after ages of delays. It’s kind of awesome like that. So hooray for new early access!
We also bid farewell to Gigantic as it reaches its official launch. It’s like everyone graduating from college, although in this case college is full of supposed tests that are mostly a matter of building notoriety and… huh. That analogy works surprisingly well.
More testing news? Of course, friends, of course.
- The launch content for Tree of Life is available on the game’s test server, according to press releases. You can check out the game’s launch trailer, too, if you’d like.
- Good news for Destiny 2 fans on console, the open beta is running this weekend! Who doesn’t love that? PC players, presumably.
- Absolver isn’t quite an MMO, but it’s got a lot of the tropes, it has a nicely ornate combat system, and it’s launching on August 29th. So it’s all cool, and it’s almost there, right?
- As Chronicles of Elyria slowly rolls out its tribes, the developers have stressed the idea that you will have to pick and choose your tribe based on what you want to do in the game. So you can be whatever you want, as long as what you want is something your chosen tribe is already good at.
- Closed beta weekend in Citadel: Forged With Fire starting on Saturday? Don’t mind if we do. Yes, that’s moving particularly fast. So fast that you can fly, even.
- Last but not least, if you want to muck about on tropical islands while muttering about how this sly dog must’ve hidden the treasure in these parts, you’ll be quite excited about the riddle quests in Sea of Thieves. If you want to discuss how most pirate raids were about getting supplies instead of treasure and there was no reason to go bury this stuff… you should probably just bow out now, honestly.
Well, after all of that I’m sure everyone wants to retreat to the safety of the list of games in testing, yes? I know I do. It’s down below, and you can feel free to scroll through it and let us know if we’re missing something important in the comments.
Not every map in Sea of Thieves will be as simple as “‘X’ marks the spot.” The team discussed how it’s developing more advanced maps called riddle quests that will require players to coordinate efforts and solve clues in order to find the buried chest.
In this week’s Inn-Side Story developer video, the team shares a behind-the-scenes look at the concept and creation of these tricky missions. The devs anticipate that while bad crews will split up and find themselves frustrated during these quests, smart crews will work together to discover landmarks and solve the mystery.
During these quests, players will receive a parchment with a riddle on it, broken down into rhyming couplets. The devs said that this gave the game a great “Goonies” feel as players figure out sequential clues, forage around for landmarks, and discover the treasure.
Hunker down and pay attention to the cryptic words below!
As part of the emergent gameplay of Sea of Thieves’ missions, player crews will occasionally come upon signs in their voyage of shipwrecks lying below the surface. At this point, they’ll have a decision: Do they carry on or do they stop and risk being boarded by enemy crews while diving below?
In the newest Sea of Thieves dev video, the team explains how shipwrecks are designed to balance risk and reward. Tucked inside of these ships are treasure chests and resource barrels, but players will find themselves battling a lack of oxygen and a fear of circling sharks to grab the goods. Also, there are floating bananas. This game and bananas, I tell you.
Give this video a watch after the break!
It can’t all be pristine blue waters and smooth sailing for Sea of Thieves; this is the open ocean, after all! This week the developers finally had the opportunity to show off the mighty storms that players will occasionally battle in their pirate adventures.
In terms for our aspirations for storms, we always wanted them to be something that a crew can look at as a big physical thing in the world,” said Senior Designer Shelley Preston. “You can have a look as a crew and decide do we go through it or around it?”
Storms are designed to make players feel vulnerable and challenge their piloting skills. They even include a fluid simulation in which waves will crash over decks, get them wet, and even seep through planks to drip below deck.
Give the three-and-a-half minute video a quick watch after the break!
I like naval combat in my MMOs. That’s my weakness. Vehicle combat is great, but for some reason, I especially like boats. When I heard there was another pirate multiplayer game being revealed at E3 2017, I knew I’d have to check it out. Fortunately, I’d already been scheduled to check out Ubisoft’s press section of their booth, giving me a rare opportunity to see Skull and Bones behind closed doors.
The pirate’s code(s)
Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Skull and Bones is not nearly the same as Sea of Thieves. At all. Sea of Thieves is a good pirate simulator. You get drunk, you swing a sword, you dig for treasure.
In Skull and Bones, you’re a pirate ship, not a captain. Your ship is your class, like a tank or a sniper. It’s much more about boat play than character play. Don’t think of the triad though, as I didn’t see any “healer” type boat. And don’t think you’re just in a death match, as the pirate aspect was still there, even in my battleground-esque demo.
As I mentioned in MassivelyOP’s Best of E3 Overthinking article, I came away from this year’s con thinking Sea of Thieves was the best playable online multiplayer game with a playable demo there, despite that demo being “terrible.” What I mean by “terrible” is that it created the potential for some of the worst parts of gaming to come true. There’s a reason most MMOs demo a battleground, boss fight, or newbie experience: Those are easy to demo, especially for non-MMO fans. Some demos give players a zone to explore, which is better, when done well. Rarely are people put into a situation where the entire demo requires coordination, but Rare did it, and it paid off, despite the fact that it’s not selling an MMO.
Allow me to explain.
Oh, E3, always a magical time full of promises when some aren’t meant to be kept, some are meant to be kept but won’t be, and some actually will happen. Have fun guessing which is which!
Among the more pertinent announcements from this year’s convention are ARK: Survival Evolved launching on August 8th, Sea of Thieves delaying launch until 2018, and Destiny 2 launching early September and late October depending on platform. We’ve also got the new game Anthem on its way for 2018 and Monster Hunter World headed for consoles and PC, which is all cool.
Oh, and let’s not forget the announcements of Skull and Bones and The Crew 2. Or the Lawbreakers beta starting June 28th while launch is set for August 8th. Jeez. Is there even room for more beta news? Yes, but just a little.
Whew! Some title density in there, almost mirroring that of the list down below. You can still read the list, though, and if we missed something or a game has slipped into a new test phase, you can let us know in the comments.
E3 is drawing to a close, with its reveals over and done with — all that’s left is processing our interviews and hands-on pieces. But in the meantime, we decided to take this week’s Overthinking to consider the field. MMORPGs haven’t shined brightly at E3 in a long time, so our expectations are usually low — the con is interesting to us more for what’s happening on the multiplayer front.
So that’s what we asked our staff: What’s the most interesting or grabby-hands MMO or MMO-ish thing from E3 this year? Which game would get your best in show and why? There’s also an extra bonus section on the con itself courtesy of our writer on the floor.
How do you eat a banana?
Well, you’re wrong — at least according to Sea of Thieves. The seafaring game’s E3 trailer showed a brief gameplay segment where a character was shoving a banana into a mouth, unpeeled, stem first. This oddity caught the eye of Polygon, which made a video mocking it, and thus a meme was born.
Getting away from tropical fruit for a second, one interesting question was brought up during the expo: What if your own shipmates maroon you on an island and leave you there? According to the devs, a “friendly mermaid” will arrive to bring you back to your boat. Presumably she then falls in love with you and sings that she wants to be part of your world.
Sea of Thieves is currently in the throes of technical alpha, having announced that it will launch in early 2018.
Sea of Thieves, you have a new challenger in the realm of MMOsy pirate games: Ubisoft just announced Skull and Bones at E3. The game looks gorgeous and boasts a “shared open world” that reacts to players, seeming character customization (“choose your captain, recruit your crew, and build deadly ships”), PvP in the “disputed waters,” and fun piratey fluff like spyglasses and realistic wind navigation.
“It is the Golden Age of Piracy. Renegade captains command the most powerful weapons on Earth: warships. You are a pirate captain who has refused the king’s pardon and sailed from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean, an untamed frontier full of lavish riches. However, these waters are also a battleground where far-reaching colonial empires, powerful trading corporations, and ruthless pirate gangs clash. In order to survive, you will have to build a lethal fleet, prey upon lucrative trade routes, and ally with other pirates in your endless struggle for supremacy.”
“We’re not making Black Flag 2.0,” Ubisoft says in the new trailer. “We’re making our own game. But we really went to school on what we’ve done in the past.” Check out the videos for the whole overview.
While it should come as no shock that Sea of Thieves was going to fail to make its projected spring 2017 release window, especially considering that the game is only now working its way through a technical alpha, it still might be a little disheartening for would-be buccaneers to hear that they will have to wait until next year to take up piracy.
At E3 this past weekend, Rare announced that its multiplayer title has been delayed until early 2018 for both Xbox One and PC.
While this is certainly a bummer, there was a bright side to Sea of Thieves’ E3 appearance: The team released a fairly amusing and informative gameplay video to demonstrate how the game will function in a multiplayer environment.
“We don’t want to spoil any of the new and improved features on show, but we can tell you that sharks, shipwrecks, swashbuckling in storms and the lost art of human cannonballing all play a part in this adventure,” the team said. Check it out below!
According to Rare, PC players’ patience might have started to wear a little thin as the studio demanded a few month delay to get the computer version of Sea of Thieves ready for testing. But now that the first PC technical alpha is underway with 1,000 testers, a new era has begun.
“Stability and performance is just so important to us as a studio,” the team said. The devs are focused on getting the default video settings right during the weekend and generating feedback from the players to implement for future tests.
Another project that the team is working on are live campaign events. “Live campaigns are time-limited events that will happen in-game,” the team explained. “They’re meant to spice up the every day gameplay and potentially give you a unique experience and also a unique reward.”
For the record, both the PC and Xbox versions are being run in parity with the same updates and features. You can hear the team talk about the development of the PC build and the live campaigns after the jump.