Community Spotlight – Owlet

A Spotlight while the daily owl requests were in progress wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun…

Our community have a way of grasping onto the wonderful and the weird, and every now and then this fixation grips the community across the seas and beyond. One such obsession was delivered to us daily on Twitter, with a certain pirate campaigning for a certain winged sidekick to be brought to the Sea of Thieves… and now, with the recent announcement that owl pets are actually on the way, we thought it was about time we spoke to Owlet.

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

[A]: My first gaming memory was playing Super Mario World on an old SNES at a friend’s house when I was quite young. I was instantly enthralled. That led to me getting a Game Boy Advance SP where I really developed my love of games. Mario, Pokémon and Kirby were all IPs that I played obsessively growing up and still love to this day!

Nowadays, I have a huge love for open world games and franchises. I think this really started when I was in my first year of high school. My school crush from History class barely acknowledged my Valentine’s Day card. I was sure I’d be alone forever and I was feeling a bit down as I got home. At that point, the daily routine was to turn on the Xbox 360 and grind out some levels on Call of Duty: Black Ops. But this time, when I went to go turn on my Xbox, I found a card from my parents saying “Happy Valentine’s Day!” with a copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Now at this point, I had absolutely no idea what a Skyrim was. After I got out of the opening sequence in Helgen, I thought “Well, where do I go now?”. Then I had the sudden realization that I could go anywhere. Since then I’ve always looked for games that provide a sense of freedom and encourage experimentation with the tools and items provided. I think this is why Sea of Thieves has captivated me like few other games have.

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

[A]: Rare actually provided some of my favourite memories from my childhood. The immediate thought is GoldenEye multiplayer with my neighbourhood friends, but when I wasn’t throwing hats at my buddies, I was sneaking off to their houses to play a game featuring a slightly controversial squirrel… not to mention a game featuring our favourite bird and bear.

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

[A]: When I’m not sailing the high seas, I often play old favourites. I usually revisit Skyrim once a year, continue with my farm on Stardew Valley or check in with my characters on ESO. As for recent favourites, I’ve been having a great time with roguelike games like Vampire Survivors, Risk of Rain II and Hades. As I get older, I find myself gravitating towards games that I can jump in and out of quickly. Only have an hour? A great amount of time to stack the garlic and bibles for a couple of runs on Vampire Survivors. This has now become an ad for Vampire Survivors. Go buy Vampire Survivors.

Owlet came to the seas seeking a co-operative game to pass the time with friends in lockdown.

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

[A]: I originally started playing at launch. I remember when Sea of Thieves was announced, I thought “This is it. This is the game.” I had a lot of great moments during the Betas in the build-up to release. I played for around six months during launch, had a nice time, but felt like I had done what I wanted to do at that point and figured I’d set it down and come back in a year or two to see if there were any additions or updates… and boy, were there.

I remember after COVID hit, most of my days were spent playing games with my friends from university. At that point we were playing a ton of Phasmophobia. We loved the team-based co-op aspect of it. One night we were all playing and my friend said “Hey, I just downloaded Sea of Thieves if you guys want to give that a try.” I put on my pirate hat, and the rest is history.

[Q]: We should probably get this one out of the way – why owls and why a daily campaign?

[A]: Owls? Daily campaign? Never met her.

The owl pet campaign started off as a bit of an inside joke with my crew! People in my day-to-day life know that I think owls are fascinating. A lot of my free time was spent tracking down and photographing the owls of Central Park in New York City. I found it fascinating that they were so common in an environment like Central Park, surrounded by such a large urban area. This might explain why I find it funny and interesting when owls are in places where they maybe shouldn’t be… like, for example, a pirate ship.

One night when me and my crew were sailing, I said “Hey, they should add owls to this game”. One of my friends responded “You should ask them to”.

So, me being me, I did! I made a Twitter account and scheduled some daily posts requesting owl pets to be added to Sea of Thieves. Initially, I was just going to schedule a few for the joke with my crew and move on with my life… but people started to notice and interact with my posts. So I kept going for a little while longer. One day, another community member messaged me. You might know her as 0wl of the Arrt Club. 0wl was the first person in the community to reach out to me about the requests. At that point I felt like I had a place on Twitter and in the community, so I decided to stick around and keep it up.

Some Owlet request tweets, and a memorable Rare reply (which he did prompt, in our defence).

[Q]: What did you think of the response to your daily requests as they went on? We saw a lot of love for your creations.

[A]: As the owl requests went on, they started to become a creative outlet for me during difficult times in my life. They evolved from simple text posts to images created in Photoshop to videos, and then finally towards the end I did a daily request while holding an actual live owl.

When I was asked to participate in the documentary Voyage of a Lifetime, I was both excited and a little bit scared. After hundreds of owl requests and a couple of years, I had a lot of very positive reactions to the requests and a few… shall we say, negative reactions! I was unsure of how the community at large would react to my appearance in the documentary and the owl requests.

[Q]: Now that owls are coming, how did the reveal make you feel and what will you be naming your new winged friend?

[A]: The reaction you see in the documentary was that of genuine surprise. I didn’t have the slightest clue. Even when the Social Media Manager at Rare who I had been terrorizing with owls came onto the call, I just thought we’d have a quick laugh about it, I would say sorry for the bird of prey-related headache, and that would be that!

Once he told me owl pets were coming, it all made sense as to why I was there. Up until then, I had always thought the owls were a community meme that we were all in on and not something that would actually happen. I was surprised by the amount of kindness and positivity presented by the community when they were revealed. There have been lots of times recently while sailing where I’ve been lucky enough to run into community members who recognize my gamertag and stop to have a chat and take some screenshots with me. I hope to see more of you out there!

As for what I’m naming my owl pet… well, I knew this Community Spotlight was a ploy to get the name out of me! Alright, you win. Lots of you have been asking, so I’m happy to say that I have found a name for my owl pet! I thought maybe I’d name it after a certain owl-loving goddess of wisdom, Athena, or maybe I’d get one last jab in and name it after a certain Rare Social Media Manager… but ultimately, I’ve decided to name it after the first owl I got to meet up close which was the one I was holding in the documentary. My owl pet will be named Hazel. Shout out to Hazel and her keeper Alex in Edinburgh.

The moment we revealed owls are coming in Sea of Thieves’ fifth anniversary documentary.

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

[A]: One of the standout moments was when me and my regular crew all hit Pirate Legend on the same day. Since we all started at the same time and mainly played together, we were all the same levels. I have a video of me and my crew Dustsky, SJKopo and Nosnorbt all reaching the last level needed and then entering the Legend Hideout. ‘We Shall Sail Together’ playing as the entrance opened was the perfect moment because we truly did do it together.

Another standout moment was when I sailed with j0toro, 0wl and IIMikezII for the one-year anniversary of the owl requests and I set the boat on fire and crashed it into a Seapost, as is tradition.

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

[A]: Am I allowed to say the Soaring Oracle set? Or can it not be owl-related?

My favourite piece of content within the last year is probably Captaincy, specifically because it makes my ship feel more like home. These days I am an avid solo Slooper and there’s something about personalizing my space that feels rewarding. In addition to this, I’m enjoying the journey of Port Merrick. Watching it change and evolve has helped breathe some new life into the landscape of the game and I hope to see more events and changes like this!

Also, the fifth anniversary photo wall. I miss him.

Birds of a feather, 0wl and Owlet bonded over the requests and have sailed regularly ever since.

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

[A]: Back when I played ESO like my life depended on it (2500 plus hours and counting, thanks for asking), me and my friend Gavinaugh took a weekend aside where we both tried to become emperor of Tamriel. Both of our characters ended up taking home the crown that weekend and Sprinkles the Bat, my vampire necromancer, will forever be royalty.

When it comes to my achievements in Sea of Thieves, I am happy to report that we lost like absolute champs in Race of Legends, the great pirate race produced by Dread Pirate Doug and his team. We were also the first crew to buy parrot pets during the race, so I consider that a huge win.

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

[A]: I named my Sloop The Daily Request, and if I had to choose another I would likely go with Sail Team Six which is the official unofficial name of my crew! As for a pirate name, I would likely be called Owlet the Ill-Fated since that’s how most of my Voyages end up…

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

[A]: This might still fall into the ‘gaming’ category, but in my spare time I create music mods for various video games. So far, I have music mods released for Skyrim, Fallout 4 and Stardew Valley and am working to have one ready to go for Starfield when it launches later this year. All the music in the mods is original and composed in the style of each of the games.

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

[A]: In my day-to-day life, I am a musical theatre composer and performer! Most of my time while I’m not gaming is spent working on my current musical. My biggest claim to ‘fame’ is singing on a Broadway cast album.

So ends another Community Spotlight, and what a hoot that one was! A huge thank you to Owlet for taking the time to speak with us, and may all his hopes and dreams for owl-related adventures soon become a reality on the Sea of Thieves.

In the meantime, if you can’t wait to hear more from our community, you can check out our previous Community, Creator and Legend Spotlights. Or to see what else our players have been up to and some of the wonderful creations they’ve been making recently, head over to our Community Hub. Until next time!