Some of my fondest video game memories are playing Rareware games. I spent a lot of time playing Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct on the first consoles I ever owned, the Super Nintendo and Game Boy systems. Once I moved onto Nintendo 64, I dove head first into gaming and never looked back. I spent many hours of my childhood playing Rare titles like Jet Force Gemini, Banjo Kazooie, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Rare games were an important part of my youth and played a huge role in my appreciation of video games today. After Nintendo 64 I lost touch with Rare and my video game obsession took off in so many different directions that I never got a chance to look back. Then at E3 2015 I was blown away by Rare’s new IP, Sea of Thieves.

From the E3 2015 trailer, I gathered that this was a lighthearted MMO-esque adventure game. I was even more intrigued that it was created by Rare. Perhaps this could be their triumphant return to the forefront of modern games. After all, I wouldn’t say that Kameo: Elements of Power and Viva Pinata really “took off”. It seems as though Rare is up-to-date on what gamers want as Sea of Thieves will be an online shared world experience with a great focus on user-generated content. In today’s market, it could be an alternative to other shared world cooperative games like Destiny and The Division.

sea of thieves shipThough there are few details about the game at this time, its E3 reveal trailer gave me enough details to have very high hopes. In its two minute runtime there is fantastic music, a beautiful art style, and seemingly solid gameplay. Evidently its core mechanics include exploring different lands and looting treasure. It switches between first and third person adding a more dynamic outlook on the adventure. When you aren’t exploring the land, you are sailing the high seas with your companions and engaging in ship-to-ship combat. The trailer also shows someone being made to walk the plank. I’m interested to see how this mechanic is implemented into the game.

It seems the user-generated content is the biggest selling point for Sea of Thieves. Microsoft corporate VP Kudo Tsunoda discussed this briefly in the September 2015 issue of Official Xbox Magazine. He stated,

“I think with Sea of Thieves, what you’re really going to see as you find out more about the game, is that it’s also about allowing people to create their own gaming memories”.

sea of thieves deckThough I’m sure there will be some set objectives and pre-planned adventures, it seems that the game has limitless possibilities. Console gamers need a solid MMO-like world to meet up and hang out in. If this one proves to be as fun and exciting as it looks to be, then Sea of Thieves will be a success. It doesn’t hurt that we haven’t seen a significant pirate-themed game since Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, which many felt was their favorite in the franchise.

I personally get overwhelmed with all of the doom and gloom in modern video games. Often times, games have a dark and gritty atmosphere. Nearly all of the notable games from 2015 were serious and gruesome, so it is refreshing to play something colorful and lighthearted. After playing through Bloodborne or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I sometimes feel the need to cleanse my palate with something like Banjo Kazooie.  

For anyone who has played a Rare game (well, maybe not Kinect Sports…), you know that their games stick with you. Their presentation is fun, quirky, and unforgettable. A lot of emphasis is being put on the memorable stories that can be created within the world of Sea of Thieves. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I imagine it to be similar to level creating in Little Big Planet and Super Mario Maker in a sense that people create campaigns then share them publicly.

sea of thieves crew

Sea of Thieves is definitely Rare’s most ambitious game yet and they really have not delved into the world of co-op online gaming. MMOs are always a difficult thing to execute well, as it is important to keep the player base happy and continue releasing new content. Despite no big details on the game, it seems like people are excited to learn more. I anticipate it making a huge impact at this year’s E3. All signs point to Rare recovering from their low point and getting back on the grid with a very solid release.

In the previous entries of this series, I expressed my excitement for Firewatch, Cuphead, Mass Effect Andromeda, and Dark Souls III. Thank you for taking the time to read about my 5 most anticipated games of 2016. It’s sure to be a great year with a lot to look forward to!