The Sea of Thieves Anniversary update, which primarily added a new lore-based series of quests, fishing, and the PvP-focused Arena mode, has attracted 2 million players since it released at the end of April, and a total of 8.4 million have played Sea of Thieves since it launched in 2018.
Not everyone playing has bought Sea of Thieves, mind you, as it's been available on Xbox Game Pass from the start. But people are playing it, and I consider that good news. Sea of Thieves has fundamental problems—some of the ones I talk about in my review still apply after a year of updates—but I really like it as a way to casually get up to nonsense with my coworkers, and I want to see more big updates.
"In a lot of ways, as a service, we are only just beginning," said executive producer Joe Neate during GameSpot's E3 livestream (opens in new tab). He and design director Mike Chapman also discussed how they plan to add more regularity to their update plans so that players know when to come back, as well as to make the update pace more sustainable for the team going forward.
"We've been going at a pace that isn't sustainable," said Neate, "and the team has done an amazing job, but these are the two pillars of our plans going forward: It's cadence and regularity for the players, but it's also making it so that there's flexibility in the plan as to when some things land.
"As long as stuff is always going out to players and we've got the regularity, it doesn't matter as much when the bigger, riskier things land from a development perspective. We give ourselves that time. So that's our commitment to our players and our commitment to our team, because we have to do both."
Neate also said that pets were originally going to come in the Anniversary Update, but that they "didn't quite reach the bar" Rare set for quality.
"We want them to feel like they're part of Sea of Thieves," said Chapman, which means they should have "social value" for the crew. Pets may not be far off, then. (No rush, of course.)