Sea of Thieves has been pretty plain sailing since its launch earlier this year, and both Microsoft and development team Rare are clearly happy with the product and its reception – so much so that the latter has increased the number of staff working on the game since its release.
Speaking in an interview with Gamesindustry, design director Mike Chapman explained: "We actually have more people working on the game now than we did before launch. We're doubling down on this massive success. We want to keep expanding this world - it's pirate fantasy so there's a million and one ideas we can explore."
Said expansion has arrived in a few forms, including the most recent Cursed Sails and upcoming Forbidden Shores updates, and all have been free to players, with Rare operating a policy that puts player experience first, and avoids the risk of segregating the audience into haves and have nots.
With all the free content – and additional staff – comes the question of making money. The studio has to make money to survive (and pay people), so talk about monetisation is on the cards – with decisions still to be made.
"We have no plans locked in place now on when we'd add monetisation,” Chapman said, “The one thing I will say is if we do that, we won't just take something from another game and put it into Sea of Thieves. The way we've looked at mechanics, tried to innovate and do things differently, we'd want to do that with monetisation as well. It's not just about taking another approach and forcing it into Sea of Thieves. With all of our mechanics, it has to feel at home.”
Chapman went on to say that Rare doesn’t intend to step on the players’ experience in-game with potential monetisation, and that pay-to-win is definitely off the table. It’s a promising promise, that’s for sure – and with millions of people already enjoying Sea of Thieves, this approach could bring in millions more.