Former Sea of Thieves artist says it’s repetitive, shallow

Update: Beddall’s identity has been confirmed, so we’ve updated this story to reflect that.

Update 2: Stevivor reached out to developer Rare for comment, though the UK-based studio declined to do so.

Original story: A former artist on Sea of Thieves has taken to Reddit to dish on the game, saying some of Rare’s employees “voiced their concerns that the game was insanely repetitive and shallow.”

“I worked on this game for over 2 years,”  artist Rob Beddall wrote. “A lot of internal people voiced their concerns that the game was insanely repetitive and shallow. This was about a year a go before I left. I guess nothing has changed. I’ve been waiting a year for this day and the sh*t storm that would hit once everyone realised they had been sold half a game,” he continued. “I’m gonna sit back with a few beers and watch the story unfold.”

“All I can say is that the plans and ideas for the game were bigger than what was released but there were never any solid plans on extra game mechanics,” he wrote in another post. “For instance there were originally 7 different zones I think but that was cut down to 3. The main game loop has always been the same though. Personally I was hoping for dungeons and raids and such but that has never been a thing. My worry would be that it’s taken [Rare] 4 years or so to produce what’s there. Which isn’t a lot in terms of variety.

“The main pirate ship was constantly being worked on the whole time I was there. That’s 2 years for 1 asset. It became a bit of a joke among us. Personally I think they need to be a bit more relaxed and not be so anal about perfection if they’re going to release DLC. Otherwise there’s just not going to be enough content.”

Beddall’s posts weren’t simply full of malice — he also went into great detail about Sea of Thieves‘ early design processes.

“The original idea was that it was a buddy adventure. Like the kids movies the devs grew up with. Where 4 friends or so would be pulled out of their ordinary life and go on some wild adventure. It think that initial idea was awesome and had so much potential,” he explained. “We were even taken on an outing near the beginning of the project to watch The Goonies at a privately rented cinema with free beer to get a feel for what the game had to FEEL like when you played it. I absolutely believe that they had all the best intentions of making a truly awesome game. I personally just feel that they spent too much time on the tiny details rather than adding content.”

“I’m not sure if they made it into the final game but in the prototype you could steal other players ships, and you could set ships on fire … often accidentally by trying to cook food,” he said in another post. “It was a blast.”

Beddall also explained how anchors proven to be problematic for the game’s artists, also saying that Sea of Thieves was originally planned to contain microtransactions.

“All through production there was no physical anchor in the game (they were planning on anchors being an upgrade you could buy through microtransactions, alongside sniper scopes…),” he wrote. “The problem being, that the way the ship was designed, there was nowhere for the anchor to go. But from the layout of the ship you could see that the chain from the capstan went through a wooden box on the lower deck meaning that the anchor was clearly just being ‘pooped’ out the back of the ship.

“I know coz I was one of the artists who built the ship and questioned this design decision many times but just got shut down. It always seemed really odd to me that no-one had even looked at how an anchor works on a ship, in a game about pirate ships.”

Beddall’s Reddit account was created back in 2012. Rob Beddall worked on Sea of Thieves between October 2014 and January 2017. While Stevivor has approached Mr. Beddall in an attempt to verify his identity, he did not comply. We’ve since received screenshots from Beddall, sent via DM to other Redditors, that have confirmed his identity.

Sea of Thieves is available now on Windows PC and Xbox One.

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About the author

Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.