Sea of Thieves might have launched as a bare skeleton but Rare has been steadily announcing more and more updates for the initially-maligned game. Microsoft just announced Sea of Thieves The Arena at XO18, which is a free update coming to the game early next year. It will bring competitive multiplayer to the high seas.
The Arena is a completely new mode and will be a separate option from the main menu. Joe Neate, executive producer at Rare, described a bit of what players can expect.
“We want to have this as a platform to kind of build on and grow like we have been with Sea of Thieves,” he said. “[We’re] really offering competition on-demand for people. We want to start with treasure hunting mode so you’re competing against these other crews for treasure. So it’s all the best bits of Sea of Thieves condensed down into a shorter session.”
Rare is currently playing the mode internally and will hand it off to its “pioneers” once the developer feels its ready to move on. From there, the studio will take that feedback into consideration to make changes. However, the studio is planning for an early 2019 release.