Imagine taking the spirit of adventure from The Goonies, combining it with the immersive shared world experience found in the game Journey, and transplant it to a pirate ship. The result is what Rare is attempting to create with their next major game Sea of Thieves, which is a massive multiplayer pirate game. MMPG is not a recognized term in the gaming world, but it is basically what it sounds like. A group of friends get together on a pirate ship and do pirate things together. This can include exploring the seven seas, going on hunts for buried treasure, going to battle with other pirate ships, or just enjoying a rowdy booze cruise on the ship drinking and making music.
Sea of Thieves is primarily about social interaction between the players in the shared world experience. Whether playing with real life friends, regular online gaming partners, or complete strangers, the goal is to interact and work together as a crew. In game ice breakers will be included to help strangers loosen up and bond with each other, an analogy that was given was it is like going to a pub to have a drink and meet new friends.
From the trailers and listening to the developers, this does not seem like a typical MMO. There will be some lore in the world as well as predesigned quests to embark on, but this appears to be a more player character driven experience. There are no legendary heroes such as Captain Blackbeard, nor is there one single campaign that will play the same for everyone. The players will become the legendary heroes based on their individual exploits, and the continued involvement will help the game world’s lore evolve. Everyone is meant to have a unique and different experience that is more shaped by the scallywags on their crew than by scripted in game events or AI bots. If another pirate ship is seen on the horizon, that is another crew controlled by other players coming into your world. This can be an opportunity to bond with your crew members by unloading your cannons on them, or if you are a friendly group of pirates perhaps meet up with the new crew to consume barrels of rum together.
On that note of creating a unique and personal experience, there will be plenty of customization options both as for the pirate character and the ship. These customization items will be both cosmetic and functional to help ensure that the pirate I design with the attributes and look I want will not be the same pirate you create. The cartoonish art style hints that this will be a more lighthearted and fun version of pirates as opposed to a more historically accurate bloodthirsty crew infected with scurvy.
Sea of Thieves is meant to capture the spirit of adventure children have when they play. There is no convoluted tutorial that spans many hours, being that the theme of the game is pirates it is assumed most people have a general idea of what it is pirates do so you can hop into the game, raise the anchor, lower the sails, and set off looking for booty to plunder. Whether the quest involves fighting, treasure hunting, exploration, or just drunken hedonism, the goal is to hang out with people and have a good time. This looks like a great way for you and some friends to get together and live out the fantasy of going on a pirate adventure without getting seasick or losing a hand to a crocodile.