XO18 Panel with Joe Neate and Craig Duncan

Our full and detailed summary of the entire discussion!
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Rare Studio Head, Craig Duncan, and Sea of Thieves Executive Producer, Joe Neate caught up with Xbox’s Major Nelson to talk Sea of Thieves and field some questions from the audience and from Mixer chat. It’s worth watching the whole thing, however, if you don’t have time for that, here’s a full and detailed summary of what was covered:

The Arena

  • The Arena is a response to some players wanting more focus on action, as well as shorter session lengths.
  • A new trading company, the Sea Dogs. It’s a “new way to progress” in Sea of Thieves.
  • Confirmed DeMarco is in the Sea Dogs tavern in the trailer.
  • Rare are currently tuning settings and load-outs to solve some of the problems that time or location based objectives bring with a competitive mode.
  • You can see all the opponent ships when you drop in to The Arena, meaning you’re making tactical decisions on the go in real time right from the start.
  • Pioneers will be used to test, give feedback, and iterate. This process might take some time as it’s such a different experience from the main game.
  • Solo play in Arena will be tested – not confirmed yes or no right now.
  • Clans/Teams is something that may come later; the focus to start is on getting the core experience set up as a platform to build on.
  • The same progression systems remain, but The Arena introduces a new trading company. Rewards/levels from each mode carry over to the other mode.
  • Concept art for the Sea Dog Cutlass! The Arena will bring unique rewards which form a part of your pirate story.

  • Arenas will be “set up” in the existing world/map.
  • As you load into the game, you’ll pick The Arena mode, then pick your crew size etc, then load into the tavern.
  • You’ll take part in the competitive event, then you’ll find out the placing (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th – tacit confirmation there is a four crew cap?) then go back to the tavern to earn your rewards.
  • There’s a hot tub to relax in after the match (lol).
  • As long as you stay in the session, you’ll be able to play again against the same crews.

Shrouded Spoils

  • The big powder keg is coming with Shrouded Spoils (will be use in The Arena too, obvs).
  • The big keg will damage your own ship if it detonates in the crow’s nest.
  • The big keg will have a “high reward” payout, but the tension against that is using it as a weapon (or having it destroyed)
  • Fog, reconfirmed
  • Ship wheel, cannons, capstan customisation, reconfirmed.
  • Ship naming: “not yet, but that will come”.
  • Rewards for defeating the meg(s) and kraken.
  • Skelly ships will now roam the world, reconfirmed.

Lore etc

  • There’s always been a plan to have a wider universe around Sea of Thieves.
  • The extended Lore has been intended to be supplementary, it’s a back-drop to the players being the Legends of the world.
  • Mike Chapman is the link between the Lore and the Game. There’s a team focussed around narrative and lore.


  • Teams are focussed on Adventure mode, and separate teams are focussed on The Arena.
  • Rare will continue to develop the game as long as people are playing it, they have “ideas for years”…
  • They want to grow both parts of the game, “we’re all in”.
  • Another team is working on a future update focussed on guided quests/goals, “more lore, more story”. They’ve been working on expanding this type of quest since around The Hungering Deep.
  • Mike Chapman is “very passionate” about expanded activities “like cooking, like fishing”… Whatever does come into the game will have a very Sea of Thieves take on things. “Keep your eyes peeled in the future”.

Wrapping up

  • Rare are totally committed to Sea of Thieves, to expanding both The Arena and The Adventure modes.
  • They’re aware of the “splitting the player base” talk, and it’s important to them to make the SoT experience the best it can be.
  • They want to bring as many players to SoT and give people lots of ways to play.


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