E3 2016: Sea of Thieves Delivers the Only Realistic Banter at Microsoft’s E3 Presser

Pirates are not the most appealing subject for me, and neither is multiplayer necessarily. Yet somehow, I found Sea of Thieves the most interesting game from Microsoft’s E3 press briefing. It might’ve been for the open-world cooperative gameplay. It may have been for the high stakes ship battles. But there’s a good chance it was because it was the first time I witnessed dialogue that wasn’t read off of a visible teleprompter.

Before setting sail in their ships, the new gameplay video showed three mildly diverse groups of players goofing around the gearing up. The Green Team, if you will, started off by doing some day drinking because it was presumably 5 o’clock somewhere. Although it may seem like a silly inclusion, I like to see gameplay features that cater to goofing off with your friends. I hope to see more of that as we get some hands-on time with it in the future.

Once on the ships, everyone took responsibility to getting them to leave port. They had to work together to lift the anchor, drop the sails, and navigate the open seas. It was apparent that the footage was edited together, that is, it switched from moment to moment, but that didn’t matter to me. It was amusing seeing a guy become overexcited about going under a risky rocky overpass or listening to another resign with “Uhhh, we’re sinking.” All in all, it was nice to see folks speaking without a script.

Thus far, it’s unclear what the full breadth of gameplay will be like for Sea of Thieves. But even for someone like me who generally avoids playing with others, it looks like it offers an environment that focuses more on fun than kill/death ratios and rankings. The game, like many of the others feature at this year’s presser, will also allow both PC and Xbox One players to play together. Increasing the immersion, the avatars you can embody even cover a range of body types and races. This all certainly piques my interest.

Will this, however, bring Rare back to the forefront? Microsoft has, thus far, reduced Rare’s presence to barely a flickering flame ever since acquiring them, even factoring in Killer Instinct’s release almost two years ago. Despite some rather meaningless statistics and the introduction of General Raam to the roster, Sea of Thieves is their first real new release in eight year. It looks pretty good, but is it that good? Will they ever generate a library of games like they used to? I hope the fun and joie de vivre I witnessed in that short gameplay vid will be enough to get them back on their feet again.