As Rare's high-seas adventuring game Sea of Thieves approaches the first anniversary of its release, the studio has addressed some player feedback. In the hopes of balancing and providing consistently enjoyable content for players in its open-world sandbox, the developer took to YouTube to announce that, in a future update, Xbox One and PC cross-play will be optional.
In an official developer update, Sea of Thieves' executive producer, Joe Neate, talked at length about the developer's plans for changing the way cross-play works between the platforms. While Neate acknowledged that cross-play has brought many benefits to Sea of Thieves, he admitted that, with the game's new PvP mode, Arena, on the way, he wants everyone to feel that "they have a level playing field."
In this forthcoming Sea of Thieves update, console players using a controller will have the option to only matchmake with other controller users on the console, effectively splitting the player base as such: a controller-only pool and the cross-play pool. The cross-play pool is just as it sounds: any user who wants to play with anyone, regardless of controller input, will be able to do so. According to Neate, players will be able to toggle the option on and off at will. The option, as Neate confirmed, will be available whether players enter free-play or the game's upcoming Arena mode.
In addition to the option of cross-play in Sea of Thieves, Neate announced that mouse-and-keyboard input will make its way to the game on the console. Neate didn't provide a release window for when this update will hit the game, nor did he specify when this cross-play update will hit the game. However, Neate did confirm that Rare has discussed optional cross-play at length internally and the studio's already hard at work on implementing the update.
In our Sea of Thieves review, we said that, at the time of launch, "it's a somewhat hollow game that can be fun for a handful of hours when played with friends, and something worth trying out if you happen to be an Xbox Game Pass subscriber." Our reviewer, Peter Brown, continued, "Even though it's hard to wholeheartedly recommend, I like enough of what I see to hold out hope that things will eventually improve as the game continues to be patched and updated with new content."