One of the coolest moments of Microsoft’s brilliant performance at E3 2021 was the trailer for Sea of Thieves with the presence of Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones. Thematic content of Pirates of the Caribbean came to the game on June 22 with the release of Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life, a DLC full of attractions for fans of both brands.
At the invitation of his national staff, we had the opportunity to speak exclusively with Jon Neate, the game’s Executive Producer, and Shelley Preston, its Lead Designer, about what gamers can expect from the new content and the future of the franchise. Check out our chat below!
You guys had quite an E3, huh? For those who missed the presentation, what are you bringing to the Sea of Thieves now?
Shelley Preston: “The wonderful news for us is that we have this great collaboration with Pirates of the Caribbean from Disney! They will come to our game in the form of five new Big Fudges. There, players can venture alongside Jack Sparrow and be a member of the Black Pearl crew. Not only has Jack arrived in our universe, but Davy Jones too, so you’ll venture alongside Jack to save the world from Sea of Thieves of Davy Jones and his dark plans!
You’ll feel like a very relevant part of the action, almost like it’s a new movie from Pirates of the Caribbean. The way these wonderful characters came to our game is really cool, as we have our own well-established universe colliding with them. It’s pretty ambitious and cinematic, and we can’t wait until people get their hands on it!”
Assuming our readers are installing Sea of Thieves for the first time with the hype of your ad at E3 2021, how much do you need to grind or grind to access new content?
Shelley Preston: “A Pirate’s Life there are five Big Fudges and you access them from a new character who has arrived in this update. It appears in all Outposts in the game in its own camp, but you can also open the content from the home menu using a new button we’ve placed there. This will make you jump right into the action once you’ve finished the First Trip Tutorial.”
How was the process of getting the details of this collaboration with Disney right, as it has a reputation for being overprotective of its brands?
Jon Neate: “A couple of years ago at E3, at the last face-to-face fair we had, we ended up meeting Disney, as they approached us for an appointment there. Sea of Thieves it was a great game and they understood our tone and mood, noticing the potential of the idea. So they were like, ‘Look, if we tried to make a game of Pirates of the Caribbean, it would basically be the game you already have, so how about we get together? Because we have this amazing world and we wanted to work with you’.
So basically they passed the ball to us and encouraged us to look for a story that we could tell that would fit with the game. At Rare we have so many fans of Disney and Pirates of the Caribbean that it was easy to discuss with the team and exchange ideas that might or might not work. So, in August 2019, we called Disney to visit Rare and show them how work was going, and they loved seeing the characters in our visual style!
As everything went well, in January 2020 we showed our vision for the final content, eager to see their reaction to our story, with everyone in the office super nervous, but they were great partners and our visions lined up with time everything, so it was just a matter of getting the business model and the fine print of the law right, which made us even more confident.
The focus on authenticity has always been on both sides’ radar. It wasn’t enough just to throw the two universes together anyway, it was necessary to follow the internal logic of the two franchises. And as a fan of history, it’s amazing to be able to explore the cities and areas we made, enjoy their sound effects, the care for details and everything else, have fidelity in every corner of the project, that was something very special!”
Now that the world of Sea of Thieves is expanding and embracing this great brand of pop culture that is Pirates of the Caribbean, has the team thought about making other collaborations? Because there is no lack of great works about pirates, from The Secret of Monkey Island to the manga and anime of One Piece…
Jon Neate: “We didn’t rule out anything out of hand, we just cared about authenticity above all. I think these negotiations would always boil down to the kind of conversation we had with Disney, which was really cool. After that it would be a process of ‘ how would we do it, and why should we do it? How would it evolve the world of Sea of Thieves?’
The thing is that Pirates of the Caribbean it’s always been a natural fit, and the tone of the movies was something we used as an example already in our first drafts of planning for the game! In addition to this pirate lifestyle idea, we also think a lot about The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, because in this game there was a whole focus on getting on a boat, setting sail, and then sailing to whatever corner of the world you wanted. This was very special!
We also thought about the movie by goonies to replicate that captivating sense of magic and sense of humor. These pirate adventures have always been in our hearts inspiring us! For anything we do in the future, we always have to think about how much sense it would make within this proposal. A new collaboration would have to be something both our fans and the brand we collaborate with would love. Pirates of the Caribbean it was this clear situation where everyone came out winning.”
By the way, for those who are a hardcore fan of Sea of Thieves or of Pirates of the Caribbean, the events of The Pirate’s Life are they canonical?
Jon Neate: “As for the canon, this new content is basically us wondering what would happen if Disney characters made it to the world of Sea of Thieves, so that’s the story we’re telling. Because our game takes place in a mythical place, but one that can be discovered by adventurers, so the idea is that other worlds can hear about it, and then go out and look for it. It’s not something that happens in the world of Pirates of the Caribbean, but in our universe.
Still, when characters come into our world, naturally they need to behave and interact with things the same way you’ve seen them in the movies. Longtime fans of Sea of Thieves You’ll be pleased to see that the figures you’d think could ally with Jack Sparrow will be there with him, while just as many will be with Davy Jones because of their established motivations. In the process, we’ve advanced the lore of our own game, and I find that fascinating.”
What did you think of this collaboration and the ideas of the people at Rare? Did you enjoy the game and this interview? Let us know in the comments below!