At Gamescom last month, Rare and Microsoft declared Sea of Thieves' cross-play as "no asterisk"—meaning PC players will face-off against their Xbox counterparts in the same world, at the same time, at launch.
"There are some games where you play cross-play that might be for a certain mode or social only or not PvP and things like that," the game's PC design lead Ted Timmins tells us. "With our shared world, what we're saying is: if you've got a Windows 10 device or any Xbox device, you're welcome to play Sea of Thieves with friends or meet new friends."
The game's executive producer Joe Neat underscores this point, suggesting that the more people added into each games' mix, the more varied the stories and experiences that come from them will be.
Senior designer Shelley Preston adds: "The more personalities you've got, the more different motivations you've got—going on different crews, doing different things, that's what makes Sea of Thieves come alive. So if we can take that barrier down and get those players together, that's something that we hope to do."
Timmins notes that cross-play is something he and his team wanted Sea of Thieves to include since development began, and that pitting PC players against their console cousins was something they'd initially considered in the process.
"We've had these conversations internally," says Timmins. "What we do have done if there was a massive imbalance [in cross-play]? I thought: Maybe we should just embrace it, and try to settle some 30-year old disputes. We thought about PC players having their own sails and Xbox players having their own sails.
"But we decided to shy away from that, for now at least, because we spent a lot of time on the balancing side and are keen to assimilate players as seamlessly as possible."
Sea of Thieves is due at some point in 2018. When it does, it'll launch with an optional 540p mode and 15fps lock.