Live Q+A: Tall Tales with Mike Chapman and Andrew Preston - NOW FINISHED
@keeyaa oooo, what about different colored lanterns find different objects and clues.
Just had another thought, Im all about the time you have to play and tall tales are a big time investment. Any thought of making some achivement based tall tales.
You can do it in smaller play windows as you do one part, get the achievement and it unlocks the progression to the next tall tale part so your not playing for 3 hours, making these a half-hour per tale segment would be great for those people who cant afford to sid for 3 hours and play a tale.
Mike, You made reference to a Masters of the Universe / Portal link for future Sea of Thieves content. Can you tell us more? Give a tease?
So… its not the portal bit that everyone thinks. There is an interesting, visually impressive moment when you first see He-Man that would be pretty amazing to see in the Sea of Thieves.
@muse986 will we be getting banjos and more shanties at some point?
@mikethemutinous Thanks Mike! I'll have to reread Athena Fortune, I totally missed Douglas ;-)
Where is flameheart!!!?
Can anything be done to mitigate the the problem of players losing hours of progress on a Tall Tale, due to other players or any reason?
Yes, we've discussed some options here about giving players limited abilities to safeguard their items as well as how we could implement a checkpoint system. Obviously longer tales allow us to take the story to more interesting places, but we know this is a barrier for players to enjoy the tales.
Mike, you suggested the possibility of dropping a tease or two in this Q&A session, so I'd like the chance to ask if you could tell us about any juicy tidbits you can recall that were cut from the Tall Tales setlist, or if you'd like, maybe some things we can expect in the next batch of Tall Tales?
So we've obviously been planning out future tales and I'm so excited by the possibilities. I really enjoyed planning out and designing the Fate of the Morningstar tale as part of Shores of Gold, so a ghost story feels like a nice place to start, although keen for the tale to also surprise you.
Strangely, there's unused puzzle vaults at Fetcher's Rest and Ashen Reaches.
While we did the work for Shores of Gold, we thought it was also nice to plan ahead!
Any plans to release the merfolk in tall tales ?
Looking forward to diving into the lore of the merfolk and the origin / purpose of the mermaid statues. Its part of a future story that's had a lot of thought but not the focus on the tales we're planning right now.
There is a grand story that links future tales together over many characters and events. Merfolk are part of this.
-Could we expect some Skeleton Lord themed cosmetics in future TT’s?
-This could be even a small thing after PL10.
-Really love Briggsy’s Mask and Graymarrow’s!
-Masks would be interesting if done right.
Yes, and I agree.
Just wondering when we'll get to "dive" into Bell and Nura's story and how long will it be before we understand more about their connection to the Sea of The Damned as well as their connection to the Ferryman?
Where is Stitcher Jim and has he decided to side with Captain Flameheart Jr. after finding out what's in the Box of Wonderous Secrets and realizing that Captain Flameheart Jr. is a better "boss" to follow than the Rathbone?
Is the Box of Wonderous Secrets being sent to Captain Flameheart and who is his keeper? Will we ever find out more about his father who adopted him?
How far out from now before we get a new area in the Sea of Thieves? The area to the south has been in the shroud for some time and we still don't have a solid idea of where the wreck of the Silver Blade is.
Will that area be tied to Merfolk in a future content patch and if so, what are the real purposes for the merpeople statues that Duke has us destroying for the gems?
Hopefully, these are a little harder to answer! Cheers =D
Would like to explore more of Bel and Nura's story, as well as the Sea of the Damned all up. There's a flow of a wider story we want to tell, with tiny hints in the monthly activities right now. Obviously future Tall Tales will flesh this out further.
Regarding Stitcher Jim, I hear a bunch of ragtag pirates defeated the Gold Hoarder... clearly, nothing comes of greed. But beyond this, what could truly change Stitcher's heart? All I'll say is that his allegiance has changed.
The Box of Secrets are related to Flameheart and you will find out what's inside. The origin of Flameheart and Father will also be explained.
New areas would be awesome and would like to do more than just expanding out again ;) Nothing to confirm though. It takes a lot of time and would like to do more with the gameplay, rather than just change the look of islands.
Merfolk will be explored and the Mermaid Statues explained. So much more than meets the eye. Just to set expectations though, this is for the future, not this year.
Hello Andrew and Mike,
Thanks for doing this QnA today, I remember talk of an island that would only be accessible via a rowboat through a tunnel, something like the journey to the center of the earth and expected it to be in the Shroud Breaker but this is not the case, is this still a concept for a possible future take, a subterranean island maybe or an I just out to lunch on what I thought I heard?
There is som much speculation in the community of twitter it's hard to know whats in-game, what's not and what's rare confirmed and whats not.
Keep up the great work. btw the most recent update seems a bit laggy, I'm on a lower spec rig and wondering if I am now borderline required spec, does this change as you add more, do you need to revise the PC machine specs for the game?
Use of a rowboat to row into a location is definitely the basis of a future feature. Its better than just a normal island and it's not a monster...
I'm going to leave it there.
Anyone I've not responded to, its either because I've missed your post, or I've answered a similar question later on... no favoritism when it comes to what we answer, just a game of 'hungry hippos' trying to click and respond fast enough before the pages get too far ahead.
If anyone has a pressing question we haven't answered, please DM me on twitter. (@chapperschapman)
Thanks for the questions and feedback. We should do this more! :D
Thank you so much for doing this Q&A on Tall Tales!! This was ma favorite part of the Anniversary Update, loving all the lore they brought and all the new mechanics they introduced to the game.
Tall Tales introduced in-game a few characters from the extended universe like Briggsy or Captain Slate but also Tribute Peak. Was the way to introduce these characters planned when the book was written, or did it come after that? I hope Larinna is doing well and I can't wait to see Mercia introduced into the game!
What is the mechanism introduced by the Tales that you prefer the most?
I was also wondering if you had any inspiration about the Tales stories? Wild Rose is probably my favorite, so emotional and the music is exceptional. Are there any that are based on real stories?
Tall Tales have introduced many new mechanisms and tools into the game, could these be reused to improve the regular voyages of Trading Companies? I love the enchanted compass!!
Shores of Gold suggests that there is more than one island, does that mean Tribute Peak is not the only island in this mysterious region?
I have so many questions... 😁
All the Tall Tales begun as stories that focused on specific emotions, such as a 'Tale of Love' (Wild Rose) 'Tale of Wonder' (Legendary Storyteller), 'Tale of Revenge' (Revenge of the Morningstar) etc.
We started with the most ambitious idea we could, which was telling a love story in a pirate game, and that is where the story of Wild Rose began before the wider Shores of Gold story was created around it.
So many of the mechanics are ideas we've wanted to do for a while - enchanted compass, spyglass, lantern etc. I'm particularly fond of the Enchanted Spyglass as the idea of using the stars to navigate was such a romantic notion, especially with players being able to look up and know what a collection of stars meant, even without using the spyglass. This is why we used the constellations to the North, South, East and West for the medallions on Shores of Gold as it would make sense if you'd made the journey through the nine tales.
All of the stories were fictional and chosen to flesh out the world and existing characters. The original brief for the ten tales (that became nine) were written during one week where I just stayed at home and worked at the kitchen table surrounded by post-it notes. Quite an exhausting process and clearly the real work was just beginning as then we had to go make them and fully flesh them out.
Really keen to unlock the quest variety in Tall Tales as part of standard voyages!
Ahoy Mike and Andy!
Got a quick question:
Was there any design inspiration for the Gold Hoarder's appearance and Character personality?
The Gold Hoarder as a character has been around since before even the Gold Hoarders Trading Company and was explored in early concept art.
Personality wise, when we cast the actor that voiced him, we wanted him to sound very ancient, as if his mind had been corrupted by the ancient gold that surrounds him. I wanted him to subtly cry/moan under his breath as you approached him on the throne - he hates what he's become, but can never let go. We'll try and get the cry in at some point ;)
Hi Mike & Andrew!
First of all, I want to say a big thanks to you, and the rest of the team for your work on Tall Tales. I never imagined my favourite video game could be enhanced further by the inclusion of story-driven content and puzzle-solving elements. They are a fantastic addition to the game, and I am incredibly grateful to have them in Sea of Thieves. I have questions for both of you, and I hope you will be able to answer them!
I have two questions for Andrew. Firstly, I would like to know what the most challenging part of designing the Tall Tales was for you, and how you were able to overcome it and make it work?
Secondly, I reached out to you on Twitter recently with the concept of lighting in trap rooms. The idea of torches going out, perhaps by pressing the wrong lever, or as part of a trap set by the enemy. The idea of darkness and using teamwork to progress through areas really appeals to me personally, is this something you have given thought of since? Could we see something like this in a future series of Tall Tales?
To Mike, I am curious to know if this first set of Tall Tales has lived up to your personal expectations, and what it has been like incorporating feedback from players to improve the Tall Tales (Difficult? Easy?)
Finally, I respect that it might not be the right time to talk about future content, but if you are able to give a “Sea of tease” as to what the future might hold for brand new Tall Tales content, I would be massively grateful!
Thanks again, and keep up the fantastic work!
Really like the idea of using darkness as part of a 'trap'. One of the ideas for the Gold Hoarder fight early on was that he would turn out the flames in the treasure room and send Shadow Skeletons after you... the idea of sets of eyes just coming towards you in the darkness would be so creepy. Also the room with all the masts and spikes as part of 'Belly of Gold' was known as the 'dark room' during development where the idea was that players would have to navigate precarious platforms while using their lantern.
I'll answer the question around what was hard from my perspective - the hardest thing with telling a story is that the overall flow and sequence of events is 'locked in'. You have little wiggle room to adjust events or change the scope of mechanics if they're proven to be extremely complex (even more pressing in a multiplayer shared world) as the story just won't make sense. As designers, we'll naturally feel the pressure of implementing the original vision for what we designed and had in our head. This pressure is magnified when it comes to telling a specific story as you need certain events to play out a certain way to land with players with the impact you had in mind. The actual Shores of Gold quest (tale 9) was the culmination of all of this. The island was huge, it was hard to fit into memory at the time, BUT it was the very basis for the whole story and the culmination of the epic journey we wanted players to go on.
I vividly remember playing all nine tales back to back in one sitting at Rare a few weeks before the Anniversary Update went live. The feeling of relief when I got to the Pirate Lord's speech at the end was so immense! Genuinely, I teared up as I left the island. I'll never forget that moment. As I was driving back down the drive at Rare to head home. I could have sworn I heard the Shores of Gold version of becalmed ringing in my ears... :D
All that said, gauging the right difficulty and playtime for each tale is very hard. We really wanted to push and deliver more than anyone was expecting, so might have got a little carried away in parts. We also didn't add the level of polish we wanted for some of the key moments, so you'll see some of this get added with future updates. The Pirate Lord speech moment in particular has received some extra love and I'm so proud of how much improved that pivotal scene is.
What happend to the other Mysterious stranger Gloria?
When the Pirate Lord heard about Briggsy reaching the Shores of Gold, he tasked George (Mysterious Stranger) with recruiting some would-be future legends into stepping into one of his unfinished adventures.
Gloria has her own lead she's investigating. She'll be back!
Been playing Sea of Thieves on a regular basis since 2 months after its launch, it's such a special experience for me.
I just want to say that Tall Tales were very special to me and my crew. I've wanted to see the Gold Hoarder himself rendered in game for a long time, and seeing him was a truly amazing thing. My regular crewmates happen to be my IRL best friends, so getting to have this multiplayer/shared world narrative experience that we were able to partake in together was just something we'll never forget.
Thank you so much for Sea of Thieves, and thank you for Tall Tales!
- Do you think we'll be seeing a short Tall Tales series for Pirate Legends, maybe based on the crew of Athena's Fortune? It would be a great way for players to be able to earn the ghostly eye curse of the Mysterious Stranger!
P.S. As a composer myself, I could hear the influence from the Shawshank Redemption end credits theme in the Shores of Gold Becalmed arrangement. Very charming! Robin Beanland is brilliant!
So Robin and I sat and listened to the soundtrack to Shawshank Redemption a few times, so it undoubtedly became inspiration. 'Becalmed' had already become a little bit of an anthem and it has always been a special track for the design team. I was keen to embrace this and of course, Robin exceeded even my expectations, as he normally does.
As a lover of music, but not a musician, most of our conversations start with "remember Marion's theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark, or remember that scene in Gremlins, I want you to feel like that!
When will the hit-boxes for the traps on Shores of Gold and the trap maker be fixed or hot fixed? It seems when they're retracting and into the ground completely, they're still killing and pillaging our souls to the ferry.
Unfortunately, this is related to the perils of timing based gameplay in a multiplayer world. It will be perfect for some players but the hitbox will lag behind in some latency scenarios. We've done some work to improve it, and will no doubt make more improvements as we expand on traps.