During the first episode of Rare’s new Sea of Thieves podcast, the development team of Sea of Thieves shared some interesting information on what went on behind the scenes of the demo showcased at E3, where a video starring real fans playing the game was used to showcase the game.
Before E3, Xbox executives were reviewing all the assets for the press conference, and Rare turned up with the cinematic trailer, and then went “oh yeah, there’s going to be a gameplay video. Trust us, we’re getting our fans into the studio, we’ll tell them everything about the game, and they’re not gonna leak anything, and we’re going to just capture them playing the game, edit together a video and it’s gonna be awesome, but you won’t see it until three weeks before E3.” This caused the executives’ eyebrows to go “through the roof in terms of just how raised they were.”
Negotiating that was challenging for Rare, but they felt very strongly about the vision of showing real players playing the game, as it’s “so much fun to just watch them.”
When the fans were called to the studio, it took about seven minutes for them to stop “looking at flowers on the floor” and start working the ship together. Yet, within those seven minutes they managed to start maneuvering the ship with no guidance, help or tutorials.
We also learn that relevant progress with the build of the game was done at Rare about a month before E3, with the last few weeks used to hammer in all the details. Rare has a system that lets them easily create new builds for the game, and there has been a point in time in which they churned out three different builds of the game every day, and they were getting incrementally better.
Initially Rare planned to have a blunderbuss in the build as a playable weapon, but it just didn’t fit the vision of the game for gun combat. It stood apart from the way the other mechanics felt, so the developers turned it off from the build. It will still appear in the full game, but it wasn’t right for the E3 build at that point in time.