Sea of Thieves ushers in its second year come April 30th, dropping the Anniversary Update featuring a bunch of new content for returning players and newcomers alike. The update’s two main additions come in the form of Tall Tales – Shores of Gold, the first real piece of authoured story content in the game, and the Arena, a brand new PvP mode. Press Start recently travelled to Rare’s studios just outside of Birmingham to check out the upcoming additions and chat to Joe Neate, the game’s Executive Producer, and Senior Designer, Shelley Preston, about Sea of Thieves’ future, and the possibility of The Arena becoming the next popular esport.
The Arena is all about competitive multiplayer, thus has the potential to develop into an esport, but Preston describes The Arena as “not your typical competitive mode.”
“It’s competition, and it’s highly competitive, but it’s Sea of Thieves‘ version of competition. So it’s not taking a template of any other competitive mode, it’s still about your soft-skills, your social-skills, your strategizing, how good you are at reading the maps, bating the water, steering the ship. It’s not just about hand-to-hand combat or PvP or twitch reactions, and I think because of that we believe it can bring competitive multiplayer to a more accessible, to a broader audience. And because of that, I think we are aware that there is that crossover that people who are playing Sea of Thieves for the Tall Tales or for the sandbox adventure might find themselves enjoying Arena more that they necessarily thought they would because it’s not your traditional competitive mode.”
That is to say that there is greater scope for players of all different styles and abilities to engage competitively with the game. Having played a couple of matches (which you can ready about here) we asked about any plans to develop the mode as an esports platform accordingly, to which Neate replied, “TBD.”
“I think we want to grow as a competitive platform and we think it will be very watchable. But esports means a lot of different things from a lot of different people. I think what we have the opportunity to do is, like Shelley says, it’s a competitive mode for potentially a broader, different audience than maybe feel excluded by the super competitive first-person players and first-person games that are there now, and you have to be a certain level of skilled at first-person twitch kind of game-playing stuff.”
“There are different roles you can take in Arena, so we think there’s an opportunity to bring competitive gaming to a broader audience like we did with Sea of Thieves and just multiplayer as a whole. We brought a lot of people to multiplayer that perhaps didn’t want to do it.”
Sea of Thieves is available now on Xbox One and PC and the Anniversary Update including The Arena is out April 30th. You can read the full interview here and check out our preview here.