Right now, Rare’s swashbuckling open-ocean adventure Sea of Thieves is riding a tsunami of popularity. But as per the typical cycle of game development, its journey from the womb to kaboom involved a number of stylistic changes; before its luscious islands, glittering seas and hurdy-gurdying buccaneers had set sail, things were different. So different, that pirates once looked like ivory sausage people with mustaches (I think the one with blonde hair looks like Helga G. Patacki).
If someone had you at cannonpoint and asked you to identify the game above, would Sea of Thieves be the first thing out of your mouth? Probably not. It’s almost unrecongisable compared with the delightful dose of piracy Christopher experienced in his review.
But these early screens, which are apparently buried in the Sea of Thieves staff credits, are a fascinating insight into the minds at Rare headquarters.
Such basic models and landscapes — likely used to test the game’s functionality in the initial stages — still contain that cartoony signature Rare is so well known for. In the final build released to the public, everything has been polished with multiple layers of detail and finesse, but the goofy, stylised exoskeleton hasn’t been washed away.
Rare recently dished out a moderate-sized update which fixed teleportation issues, ship respawn distance, and improved server performance in general.