Instead of giving players a deep, involved character creation tool, Sea of Thieves generates groups of eight pirate characters at a time, of which the player can choose one. One might think that would make character selection easier. One would be wrong.
It’s a character generator locked on random. There are no sliders for body size, muscle tone, gender or age. There’s no drop-down boxes for hair’s colour, style or existence. The infinite pirate generator controls all of these things, and players are along for the ride.
My first run through the generator gave me several promising prospects. A large, burly woman with an impossibly wizened face caught my eye, and I particularly liked the guy with the large, jiggly tummy and copious beard stubble.
I like the body, but I want a fuller beard. I hold down the right trigger on my game pad and …
… eight more randomly generated characters appear. One of them has the beard I want, but he doesn’t quite have the paunch.
I guess I should just hit the right trigger again – but wait. Check out this guy.
Red hair and a mustache? Hrm. Maybe I want a mustache now. A couple more right trigger presses, and voila!
I like him! I kind of wish he was bald, though. I press X to favourite the character – you can’t lock attributes, but you can hold on to a character between respawns – and try a few more times.
Well dammit, now I’m all mixed up. All I know now is my character needs a mustache and a side undercut. Unless I get distracted and go chasing after some other identifying feature.
I get why Rare did it this way, instead of offering more traditional character creation. The studio wants each character to feel like a fully-realised Rare creation. Too much futzing about with sliders could kill the aesthetic.
Still, it would be nice to be able to settle on a combination and start playing Sea of Thieves seriously sometime soon.
I’ll get there. Eventually.