Character creation is a touchy subject in the PC Gamer office. Personally, I'm one of those players who spends too much time tinkering, striving to achieve the 'perfect' build. Sea of Thieves' time-respecting customisation suite, then, sounds like my cup of rum.
Samuel touched on the game's so-called 'infinite pirate generator' in his extensive hands-on impressions last month, however developer Rare's latest Inn-side Story explores the system in greater detail.
Over to lead character artist Sam Chester and PC design lead Ted Timmins:
There, Timmins outlines the familiar time-sinking scenarios Sea of Thieves hopes to circumvent with its slant on avatar-building. He explains that game's character carousel cycles pirate builds, allowing players to quickly formulate their look—whereby they'll consider the stories they want to tell through their choice.
"Of course you wouldn't be a pirate without a hook for a hand or a peg for a leg, and that's been a major part of how we've built out this system," says Timmins. "When we talk about horizontal progression, what we're talking about is your reputation level within the world of Sea of Thieves, and as you're moving up towards pirate legend, you're not power-progressing—it's very much that this item of clothing is the exact same as this item of clothing, apart from the cosmetics. We want you wear whatever you feel represents that, and I guess chop and change as you go."
Timmins adds that a gated system, akin to the likes of GTA Online, will reserve certain cosmetic items for higher-ranked players. This can work both ways, depending on how conniving you wish to be.
"It's like, if you see someone wearing the red admiral hat, you know that they're of a different reputation level to you and that that mean something in the world," says Timmins. "Of course you can completely roleplay the opposite. You could be pirate legend and wear 'the worst' build rack clothes and no one would notice. You could equip the sailor title above your head, people will be like, oh, what a noob. And then you do a 360 no-scope and prove otherwise."