Sea of Thieves is a game about horizons. The driving force in the open-world online piracy adventure is the question of what is waiting for you and crewmates just over the edge of the world. The problem is that after a few sessions, you generally know the answers to that question: skeletons, a treasure chest, and maybe another ship full of players. But now Microsoft and the Rare studio want you to look to the game’s development horizon and the promise of new quests, rewards, and mechanics that are awaiting you in future updates.
Rare announced its Sea of Thieves content plans today, and the studio is making a commitment to regular updates that will introduce significant changes. The Xbox One and PC game has attracted a huge audience, but Microsoft wants to keep those players coming back in part because it is one of the main attractions in its $10-per-month Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
“We’ve been listening closely to our community, and we know how keen they are to hear how we plan to grow Sea of Thieves,” Rare executive producer Joe Neate said. “As we’ve always said, launch is just the start for Sea of Thieves, and we are going to grow and evolve the game with feedback from our community. It feels like the right time to reveal how we’ll do this.”
Sea of Thieves is going to start getting major content updates in addition to weekly events. The content updates will introduce “major new features” as well as fresh items, mechanics, and goals. The weekly events may also bring in new mechanics, but they will also focus on giving players unique goals to achieve that shake up the gameplay.
Rare is calling the first add-on The Hungering Deep, and it plans to roll out it out in early May.
“The Hungering Deep brings a new AI threat to the world that crews will have to work together to discover and defeat as part of a unique event,” reads Neate’s blog post. “We will also be introducing a number of new mechanics that will assist players on this adventure, and there will be unique rewards that players can earn as part of this event.”
Following The Hungering Deep, Sea of Thieves will get two new content updates in the summer, and then Rare has plans for three more after that before the end of 2018.
“This summer we’ll debut Cursed Sails, which will include a new ship type, and Forsaken Shores, which will introduce players to a new perilous part of the world to explore,” reads the blog. “Similarly to The Hungering Deep, both of these updates will also include new gameplay mechanics for players, new AI threats to challenge, and new unique rewards to claim.”
Rare has said this before, but it also reiterated that it is offering this content for free because it does not want to separate its players into haves and havenots.