Community Spotlight - Kaitzu

Speeding in for a look behind the scenes of the Race of Legends with its First Mate!

Pitting crews of swift sailors against each other for many years now, Race of Legends has become a staple in Sea of Thieves’ community calendar. With skilled pirates battling it out to gain prestigious titles, Race of Legends showcases some of the best sailing ability on the seas!

It takes a whole team to bring together a production such as this, so we caught up with RoL’s Legendary First Mate, Kaitzu (otherKaitzu on Twitter), to learn more about the event and those behind it...

[Q]: Can you tell us a little about what got you into gaming?

[A]: My first experience in gaming happened when I was a young kid, around 5-10 years old. My brother bought a Commodore 64 for our household with a bunch of floppy disks.

On one side of those floppy disks, there was some kind of 2D sci-fi game, where you had to collect items and dodge robots in different levels. You navigated to those levels with an elevator that was in the middle of the screen. All the levels were covered in darkness and you needed to explore them to see what they looked like and find the items needed to get to the next level. I have no clue what game it was.

The games that made me really fall in love with gaming were on my friend's NES console, with which we played the very first Super Mario Bros. and Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers. That was the reason I wanted that console for myself and immediately asked for it as a Christmas present. Instead, I got the first PlayStation as a Christmas present and that made me sad. However, in the end I loved it because it was the first console I owned and I spent a lot of time playing Crash Bandicoot and Spyro.

[Q]: Were you a Rare fan before Sea of Thieves? Do you have any favourite Rare games?

[A]: I can’t say I was a Rare fan before, but I’ve known the studio for a long time for its games. Gaming was not very popular in my friends group growing up, so I only played other Rare games later on in life. The most fun Rare games I’ve played have been Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Banjo-Kazooie. However, Sea of Thieves is my favorite game from Rare.

[Q]: What other games are you currently playing? Any favourites?

[A]: I play so many different games, but Satisfactory is currently in heavy use just because I love building and crafting games. Also, I recently invested in a Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild. The scale of that open world is amazing. To top that, I recently found my old 3DS and I want to go back and start playing Pokémon Yellow just to get that nostalgic feeling.

Here’s Kaitzu with his bold shipmates – the Most Average Crew (it says here).

[Q]: What brought you over to Sea of Thieves and its community?

[A]: In 2015, when I saw the E3 announce trailer, it immediately hit me and I wanted to play it right away. Sadly, I forgot about it because I didn’t hear any more big news, but when I heard that the game was coming to a public Beta test, I signed up for it with a couple of friends. The test session was so fun, I pre-ordered the game and started playing it from day one. I’ve loved every moment in the game and experiencing how the world has evolved.

I joined the Sea of Thieves community in 2019, when there was a big change in my life and I needed a place to escape. I first joined the Sea of Thieves Discord channel and found myself playing with random players.

I followed Captain Falcore on YouTube and loved his theories about the game. One day, YouTube suggested a video about a race where Sea of Thieves players competed against each other by sailing around the game world. I felt that this was fun and had potential for a fun community event. I wanted to know more about the races, and the videos made me join the Race of Legends Discord server.

And oh boy, what did I get myself involved in?

[Q]: Can you tell us a bit about Race of Legends and what you do as part of the team?

[A]: Race of Legends is a community event created and organized by players from the Sea of Thieves community. The participating crews compete against each other by sailing around the course, completing various tasks such as drinking grog at the Outpost or sailing through Thieves’ Haven as quickly and accurately as possible without stopping.

The main group of Race of Legends organizers includes DreadPirateDoug, 0wl, Mikez and myself. On the Race of Legends team, I have the title of Legendary First Mate and I’m one of the main people behind it. I’m responsible for the technical and graphical side of our production.

Kaitzu sits behind the scenes as Race of Legends’ ’Guy in the Chair’, overseeing production.

[Q]: How much of a challenge is it to not only coordinate but capture each race, because it looks like a lot goes into each one?

[A]: You are right, organizing events is really hard. For example, when recording things for a YouTube video, you can try to do things again, but our event is broadcast live, so there are more things that can (and will) go south during a race.

On the main day of the event, as we call it ‘Race Day’, we will start to set up the server about 3-4 hours before we go live. For example, we start looking for the necessary items for the current season’s route such as Cursed Cannonballs, because they are one of the most important features of the races, as we can’t buy them from the Outposts. And that’s why Mike, one of our Legendary First Mates, needs to contribute better to finding those!

When the countdown is over and we go live, then the actual work begins. Doug is primarily responsible for everything the viewers see and hear. He streams events to the viewers, commentates, changes the camera angles, follows the video we stream to him and tries to listen to us, the crew behind everything, while we are nagging him about his counting skills.

Legendary First Mates 0wl and Mike are in charge of the camera angles on competing ships so Doug gets good footage for the stream. In addition to this, they are responsible for resetting ships between rounds. The supplies of competing ships must be checked after each round so that competitors have enough planks, cannonballs and other supplies for the upcoming round.

Between rounds I work on making graphical changes to the stream overlays, such as the number of rounds or the crew names. During the race I work as a moving camera, giving a third-person view of the action, such as PvP battles in a tavern or an overhead view of Thieves’ Haven. The task is not easy if the event has three or more points where I need to be to capture the action. Fortunately, we have the most talented and dedicated group of pirates, who we call Legendary Officers, giving their free time to help set it all up and make the races happen. We owe them a huge thank you for all the help.

The work doesn’t end there. The crews don’t show up by themselves, and creating courses isn’t easy. Mostly Doug does all the background work to organize events and crews and promote the event, and 0wl helps out with this.

Mike’s main area of responsibility is race setup and planning the courses, even though we all have input on the upcoming courses. Creating a course for each season requires several hours of sailing around over a few sessions, plus all the background work. In total, it might take about 10 hours from each of our members.

We want to provide our viewers with the best entertainment and at the same time bring out the new features from the Sea of Thieves. Also, we want participating players to refine their own skills in each of these mechanics. All of this turns into basically a part-time job, if not more, but the most important thing for us is that the community and the competitors who are involved enjoy the event and the show.

Each race is a labour of love for everyone involved, behind the scenes and on the seas.

[Q]: What’s been your favourite Race of Legends moment – any standout races or events?

[A]: Oh wow. This is a tough one. There are so many and my memory is as unreliable as Duke.

I have memories from the first season as I looked to the horizon and waited for the crews to arrive at Golden Sands Outpost, and dodging traps in the fourth and fifth seasons at Sailors’ Bounty, while trying to get to the bottom of the caves where the crews had to fetch a piece of loot.

However, the biggest memories are from when the devs from Rare, Mike Chapman, Shelley and Andrew Preston and Joe Neate, visited our anniversary event in 2020 and our production crew competed against them. And we defeated them only by a few seconds!

The most important thing that stands out from our event and the other communities around us is the positivity and that everyone is really friendly to each other and always ready to help, whether it’s by organizing an event or supporting a charity. That really touches my heart.

[Q]: Thinking back, are there any standout moments for you in Sea of Thieves since you started playing?

[A]: Without any hesitation, it’s the first big update, The Hungering Deep. That had something special about it that I can’t properly explain. The magic, that excitement, the first time you had to work together with other pirates. And that feeling when the Megalodon burst out from beneath the waves for the first time.

[Q]: What are your favourite additions to Sea of Thieves over the past year?

[A]: All the recent updates have had some cool bits that were special and stunning, especially the fireworks. Cannon Rowboats just feel like an online meme and buyable Storage Crates is one of my favorite features in the game, after the crate itself.

But the Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life update was something I didn’t see coming. Very nice and exciting to see the characters from one of my favorite movie series in the game I have spent the most time playing. The update is very well done and feels like you’re in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

[Q]: What are your greatest achievements in a game, Sea of Thieves or otherwise?

[A]: Greatest achievements? I’d say the people I’ve met and friendships I’ve made during the time in this community. I wouldn’t change that for anything. It’s unbelievable how one game can change your life to have so many new friends around the world. (You all know who you are.)

If I mentioned a few of the closest to me, they would be the Race of Legends crew, 0wl, Mike and Doug, but also my regular crew M4G1C and Kiralee (also known as Most Average Pirate Legend). Without all of them, I wouldn’t be here.

It’s not always about the gold or the glory, but the crew we make along the way.

[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate and ship name, what would they be?

[A]: Ship name would be either otherShip (obviously) or Warning Shot, just because I’m deadly terrible with warning shots, literally.

Long story short: I once tried to shoot a warning shot at this pirate who stood on the bowsprit of an approaching Gally. I mean I really tried NOT to hit him, but accidentally hit the player straight in the face and he died instantly.

[Q]: What kind of other hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming?

[A]: I spend quite a lot of time on my PC doing various things including gaming, but I also listen to instrumental and rock music, watch movies and TV series. Once in a while I do take some walks at my town’s harbor to get some fresh air. During winter we have quite a lot of snow here so I don’t like to go outside that much, but in summer I go to play some frisbee golf.

Recently I’ve started to learn how to make games, but I’m still quite a noob with that.

[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game!

[A]: I live in southern Finland, in northern Europe. Our winter lasts from November to April and it gets very cold here, sometimes -30 degrees Celsius or -22 Fahrenheit. Summertime only lasts from June to August and the temperatures rise to around 20-30 degrees Celsius, or 68-86 Fahrenheit. That’s only where I live, in the northern part of Finland the temps are even lower!

That concludes our latest Community Spotlight. Our thanks to Kaitzu for talking to the team – and good luck with the eighth season of the long-running Race of Legends! If you’re eager to hear more from our Community, you can always check out our previous Community Spotlights. Until next time!