Co-op pirate-em-up Sea of Thieves has a new trailer along with a release date that’s not very far off at all. You’ll be able to fill up on grog and buried treasure on March 20, 2018. In the meantime, cram the trailer inside your eyes.
Living in the tense geopolitical hellscape that is Earth 2017, it’s easy to forget the childlike thrill of adventure inherent in swashbuckling with a crew of buddies across the virtual seas. It’s been a while since we covered Sea of Thieves, Rare’s game of cooperative piracy, but it looks like development is chugging along nicely and, as far as we know, on track for a release early next year.
Detailed in a rather comprehensive video after the jump, Rare lay out (in piratical form) a list of oddly low-key yet vital features coming to the next alpha build of the game, available to anyone in their Insider Programme.
Pirates, the most untrustworthy of the Cowboy-Pirate-Zombie triumvirate in charge of the videogame industry, are getting their fill of the E3 booty this year. While Ubisoft revealed Skull and Bones, Microsoft have shown off more of the type of thing you’ll be doing in their online co-op plunder-em-up Sea of Thieves [official site]. You can see a Scottishly narrated (and highly scripted) example of a treasure hunt reaching its stormy conclusion in this trailer below deck.
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Microsoft may have stuck a dagger into each of the kidneys of Scalebound, cancelling it from future-existence, but at least they have neglected to murder upcoming co-operative pirate adventure Sea of Thieves [official site]. We’ve only today been reminded of the co-op hijinks by a new trailer showing some of the finer details that Rare are working into the game. There’s shovels, treasure maps, sea charts and steering wheels. Everything the growing pirate needs.
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Sea Of Thieves [official site] got a gameplay video as part of E3 so we can see a bit more of the shared piratical world and get an idea for how the collaborative boating and cannonballing (and drinking) might work. I actually found it really engaging.
I know that that’s what a gameplay video is generally aiming for but so many miss the mark – with this one I can imagine catastrophic sea voyages as we accidentally abandon crew members, sail into rocks while someone says “you’ve got plenty of room” and capsize at the hands of vaguely competent foes. The only thing missing in the footage was sea shanties. I refuse to believe people wouldn’t sing sea shanties.
’90s fighting game Killer Instinct [official site] returned on Xbox One in 2013, through (I imagine) some combination of nostalgia and Microsoft wanting a fighting game series then realising they owned one through Rare. Now the monsters ‘n’ magic men punch ’em up revival is headed towards PC for Windows 10.
“We don’t have any more to share at this time” said the terse announcement tweet. Okay then. A member of the dev team separately confirmed it’ll support cross-platform multiplayer. No one says whether it’ll be free-to-play, like it is on Xbox One, but I’d imagine so.
With Kinect now a thing of the past, Rare are free to make actual games again. They’re exercising this freedom by creating an online multiplayer pirate game called Sea Of Thieves [official site]. After the excellent Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag reminded me how much I love pirating, the idea of getting a full crew together and exploring the oceans is an appealing one. Especially since Sea Of Thieves has no qualms about being historically inaccurate. Which means krakens and ghost pirates.
You may have thought we’d run out of nostalgia to mine for Kickstarter but good gravy no! A group of folks formerly of Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country developers Rare, now at their own studio Playtonic Games, launched a crowdfunding campaign for a ye olde 3D N64-stylee platformer on Friday and have already blown past their goal.
They were looking for £175,000 to make Yooka-Laylee [official site], billing it as a “spiritual successor” to Banjo-Kazooie. With 42 days still to go they already have over £1.3 million in pledges. Lawks!
I didn’t believe Conker was real, you know. I’d assumed a poo-obsessed platformer series about a boozy squirrel with guns was a hoax conjured up by the jokey final page of a games magazine to parody the rude ‘tude of ’90s excess. No, Conker was real, and now he’s coming to PC. In a way.
Conker’s Big Reunion is an episodic series made in Project Spark, Microsoft’s game make-o-share-a-play thing. It’s being made by Spark devs Team Dakota rather than creators Rare, though original Conker lead and designer Chris Seavor has returned to voice the squirrel again.
Powering up the Electric Internet in my new place in the Smoke – yes, I’m now RPS’ official Man In London – I see that Wired has published the results of my recent trip off to see Rare. While neither the new Banjo Kazooie or Viva Pinata have been confirmed for PC, I do interview Justin Cook, who’s lead designer on the latter and had worked on the former. And since that’s on the PC, and we mainly talk about the original and the importance of games-for-kids and games-as-education, it fits under RPS’ mandate. Go read. He’s a lovely guy.
If you’re wondering about the title, it’s what I tried to slip past the Wired editors as the title of my main article. Sadly – but unsurprisingly – cut, but I had to use it somewhere. I’ve been annoying everyone on my IM list by saying it repeatedly at them.
With delightful gardening/breeding game Viva Piñata having recently turned up on PC, I thought it appropriate to link to this rather interesting design article over at Gamasutra. In it developers Rare discuss the unique visual design of the game from initial conceptual art to commercial product. They discuss things such as the problems of stuff a game with quite so much cuteness:
In the original plan, non-resident Piñatas would retain their colors and markings while being indistinguishable by shape, only morphing into full form in the garden. All Piñata subsections, e.g. birds, quadrupeds, small things, slimy things etc. would have their own non-resident shape. On this slide you can see it next to their final form. The Mallowolf and Macaraccoon were almost just jellybeans on stilts; the Parrybo and Crowla retain some distinctive bird features. The cut duo of rattlesnake and cane toad both look like baby salamanders, while the Whilrm and Taffly appear to have grown ears. Pleasingly, the Whirlm has gained an eye. Although he still looks sinister.
One of the main reasons this feature never made it to the final game was because it would require yet another model for every Piñata. Given the overheads we had already, trying to free up the space would have been very stressful.
Ste Pickford, one half of indie-devs the Pickford Brothers, dropped me a line recently. Their most recent was…
Which is another major piece of evidence in the “Indie games=Best names” argument. In passing, Naked War was one of my favourite underground games of last year and a really cute tactical PBEM game: The Gollops’ Laser Squad Nemesis possessed by the spirit of Sensible Software. I gave it 80% for PCG, and Dave Taurus concurred over at Eurogamer. Despite me being better than him at it.
But that’s not what this is about – Ste has entered the blogosphere. Since the Pickfords have been doing this for longer than a good chunk of our readers will have been alive, they’ve seen games change enormously. In the most recent post, Ste’s talking about talking to Rare about developing on the NES and the strange demands that they insisted upon…
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