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Sea of Thieves' character creator won't be for everyone

Press RB for more pirates.

In so many games, you create characters using a raft of customisation options, tweaking sliders to pick from a variety of faces, body types and skin colours, among many other things.

Sea of Thieves, the upcoming shared-world pirate adventure game from Rare, does character creation differently - via a mechanic called the Infinite Pirate Generator. In short, don't expect to see a character slider anywhere in the game.

When you start Sea of Thieves, you're asked to pick your pirate. Inside a virtual tavern, the game generates a random selection of eight pirates in real-time based on a number of component parts which are blended together. You get a mixture of age, ethnicity, gender, body size, "wonkiness" and how pirate they look versus how heroic they look. It looks like this:

You can rotate the camera to get a better view, and stop to watch animations that provide context for what the pirate would look like to play. If you don't like the look of any of the pirates, a press of RB generates a new set of eight pirates for your consideration. The idea is you rinse and repeat this process until you've seen the pirate for you. There is no way to manually create your own pirate. Once you're in the game you can use the vanity chests to equip different outfits, a beard, a peg leg or a hook hand, for example. But the base pirate will always be, essentially Rare-crafted.

This is a very deliberate decision on the part of the designers. "We want people to think, this is my very own Rare-created pirate character," Rare studio director Craig Duncan told Eurogamer.

"It will encourage players to pick a character who wouldn't normally be a character they would create in a character creator. It's not about just making ourselves.

"Also, I love this notion of, it gives you your own Rare character to go and play the game with."

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While I'm sure Rare's character creator will be frowned upon by some players, it does provide the developers with an added benefit. Duncan said the Infinite Pirate Generator gives Rare the flexibility to affect the way your character looks post-launch.

"For example - and this isn't a feature yet - we could have a fountain of youth in the game, where you could go to it and by interacting with it, it would make your character younger," Duncan explained.

"Curses, magic potions, you can start to do things to characters in real-time with this sort of system."

During a recent trip to Rare to see Sea of Thieves, I saw this character generator in action. While I'm sure some players will lament the lack of character sliders and express concern that you can't play Sea of thieves as "yourself" - or as close to yourself as possible, there was an impressive variety to the pirates on show, although some looked, frankly, ridiculous (old faces on young bodies). I expect I'll have to spend some time generating random pirates before I find the right one for me.

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