Sea of Thieves developer Rare has released a new development diary in which senior designers Shelley and Andrew Preston explain their decisions behind the game's unique co-op structure.
Sea of Thieves forces players to assume different roles as they collaborate to find treasure. Unlike most games, the overworld map isn't simply something accessed by hitting a button, but rather laid out on a table in the ship's middle deck. That means that one player needs to examine it while another steers the ship and another is perched up in the crow's nest operating as a lookout. In short, all parties must communicate with one another.
Interestingly, once on land, only one person can hold the map. If anyone else wants to see it, the map-bearer will have to hold it out while others crowd around it and examine its topography. Your location isn't marked on the map, so you'll have to be observant to sort out where that figurative X actually is.
The developer explained that it initially was going to have it so only one player could dig up the treasure, but decided that was boring for everyone else and that it was more entertaining to have everyone dig together to unearth the booty faster. Indeed, while Sea of Thieves requires cooperation among its merry band of pirates, any player can assume any role and no one is locked into a regimented class.
Even once a treasure is dug up a team must work together to safely transport it to a merchant. Should rival gangs plunder it, the whole team misses out on the bounty.
To get a chance at playing Sea of Thieves early, you can sign up for the Sea of Thieves Insider Programme. The full game is due later this year on Xbox One and Windows 10.