Rare is trying to stay on top of its sizable Sea of Thieves community with regular videos about the progress of the cooperative piracy simulator. In a new video that went live today, the studio detailed where the game is at in terms of updates and how Rare has split into three distinct units that are all working on different content updates for Sea of Thieves.
“We’ve changed the structure of how the team is formed,” Rare executive producer Joe Neate said in the video. “This enables us to deliver as much cool content to players as possible. The team is now split into three separate teams.”
The company wants to churn out that content at a rapid pace because Sea of Thieves had 2 million players in its first month, but it has lost steam since its March 20 release date. Where it was once among the most-watched games on Twitch, Sea of Thieves is now just in the top 50 for Twitch’s most-viewed games, according to tracking site Sully Gnome.
Neate explained that one team is working on the upcoming Hungering Deep add-on that is due out soon. But it also has two additional teams working on Cursed Sales and Forsaken Shores, which are coming out at some point after Hungering Deep. These teams are all working on their own weekly events and addressing player feedback, but they are also also designing major features for each of their particular add-ons.
The executive producer is also setting expectations for the various major updates. He noted that Hungering Deep will have a lot of new content, but it is smaller than Cursed Sales or Forsaken Shores. The reason is that the Hungering Deep team has not had as much time as the other Rare content squads will have.
In addition to the future, Neate also spoke about the current state of Sea of Thieves and its updates. Rare is shifting priorities now that it is getting further away from launch, and that means meatier improvements for fans.
“We’re into this rhythm of weekly updates,” said Neate. “This week’s update is focused on adding more customization options to players. Previously, we were focused on bug fixes or hitting some of the top launch issues that we found. And now, we’re looking at getting into the rhythm of adding new features and content as we move forward.”
The new customization options will give players more control over the look of both their pirate character and their ship. Included in these cosmetics is also a new, limited time skin for the rifle that turns the telescopic sight into an empty rum bottle.
Sea of Thieves is one of the biggest live-service games Microsoft has ever launched. To survive, Rare is going to have to get into a cadence where it is providing reasons for players to come back. If it can deliver with its named updates as well as its weekly patches, it could maintain a strong, loyal player base. The studio realizes this, so expect to see it spending most of 2018 trying to figure out how to support a game like this in an ongoing manner.