It’s been around 10 months since we started our Community Spotlight series and we’ve met a whole host of interesting people from the Rare community. Artists, dancers, fan site contributors and more, it only goes to show just how excitement for a game can bring people from all walks of life together. Our Community Spotlight for this week will continue that trend as we talk to United State Marine Corps veteran, professional stuntman and full time Sea of Thieves fan, Ron Norris!
Ron donning full Sea of Thieves attire. We approve!
[Q]: Tell us a little about what got you into gaming? [A]: Without dating myself, my first gaming computer was a Tandy TRS 80. It was made by Radio Shack. The first game I really sat down with and was a “try hard” at was Frogger. Trying to get that frog across the road was my first cussing lesson. From there I moved on to games like Donkey Kong and arcade games. From computers to consoles, I consider myself to be an avid gamer.
[Q]: Were you a Rare fan before Sea of Thieves and do you have any favourite Rare games? [A]: Again, without dating myself, my first experience with Rare a few years ago was as a member of MS Connect. We tested products for MS before they came out to the public, and I received this wonderful little deal called Kinect for the Xbox 360. With this came a neat little game called Kinect Sports from Rare which was to be tested. I jumped into that test (literally), and the Track and Field portion of the game almost killed me. Doing the hurdles in my home led to some of the funniest videos you’ll ever see. Almost taking down my ceiling fan while playing Volleyball or kicking my walls while trying to score a goal in Soccer was all part of the fun!
[Q]: What games are you playing currently? Any favourites? [A]: Current games are Gears of War 4, Madden 2017, NASCAR Heat and For Honor, and I have been alpha and beta testing various games including Sea of Thieves. Gears of War, Halo, Tiger Woods and Madden are all-time favorite games of mine and I hope to be adding Sea of Thieves to that list as well.
[Q]: As a seasoned veteran of the USMC and mature member of our community, is there any way that these have influenced your perspective on gaming? [A]: As far as being a USMC affects my perception of gaming, this only comes up when I am in a military style or type of game and I use my military knowledge to go from point A to B, or to complete a mission. Being part of the military teaches you to work as a team, to communicate, get along and listen to new ideas that could make the mission easier. Being a mature member of the Sea of Thieves community has been an experience that I, in my many years of gaming, have never had before. The reason is because of the way the people at Rare communicate with and talk with the fans, taking the negative and the positive feedback and understanding the passion that both Rare and their fans have will be what makes Sea of Thieves a success.
[Q]: How did Sea of Thieves first catch your attention? [A]: My wife and I were watching E3 and saw the demo of this game called Sea of Thieves, and we thought about how our crazy group of gaming friends would fall right into this game. Then we started laughing with each other about who was going to do what almost immediately. We wanted to know more about this game! I went searching on the internet, had a YouTube binge and found information that made me want to know more. Basically, I joined the community and my first communication with Rare was when I painted a Sea of Thieves car in Forza 6 and they loved it. Then I painted more Sea of Thieves cars. Not to be outdone, my wife started doing Sea of Thieves pixel art that she would release once a week. This is how I came to know Sea of Thieves.
Our recent Technical Alphas are just one of the ways we're keeping an open dialogue with the community.
[Q]: You’re also one of our Technical Alpha participants! Any stories from your time playing that you want to share? [A]: Regarding the Technical Alpha, I can only say that this game will blow its fans away. There is so much fun in this game, sailing from island to island, getting into ship-to-ship battles, jumping onto another ship and trying to steal their treasure are just a small part of what this game has to offer. It grows with each Alpha test, and the community and Rare feedback is top-notch, the best I have ever seen. And so, not being able to say much, unless you are in the Insider Programme, I must stop here. Did I say this game will be HUGE for Xbox and Rare?!
[Q]: If you had to choose a pirate name, what would it be? [A]: Captain Ron – not much of a pirate name, but it goes back to my stunt work. There was a movie called Captain Ron, with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, and probably one of the funniest scenes in the movie was when Goldie Hawn finally caught Kurt Russell changing his eye patch from right side to left side.
[Q]: Speaking of your stunt work, how did you end up in that profession? [A]: When I left the Marine Corps, I stayed in California and went to work at Knott's Berry Farm in California that held live Western stunt shows. Being from Oklahoma, growing up on a ranch and having done lots of horse riding and rodeos, I tried out and got the job. Stayed there for about two years and then came a shot at being a double for a guy in a Western. Only one day’s work just to do a horse fall, but it would get me my SAG card if I took it. I did and it was the last episode of a show called Bonanza, bam – got my SAG card and 15 years in the biz.
Oh, you guys might know a guy over there called Doug Bradley. Worked with him on Hellraiser III! I played Doug the Bouncer in that one and did eight years on Walker: Texas Ranger, also did Body Snatchers, Class of ’61, Passenger 57, The Spring, Freejack, Lonesome Dove, Geronimo: An American Legend, The Last of the Mohicans, Vampire Wars, The A-Team and The Fall Guy TV shows, just to name a few.
Ron on the set of pirate-themed TV show, 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage
[Q]: What kind of hobbies do you enjoy outside of gaming? [A]: Riding my Harley, American Football, NASCAR racing and being a member of the Patriot Guard riders, riding with respect for our Veterans.
[Q]: What are you looking forward to the most in Sea of Thieves? [A]: What I am looking forward to the most with Sea of Thieves is streaming with my crazy gaming friends, which will most undoubtedly be “R” rated. We have so many friends, there will probably be at one time or another five to six ships in one fleet. So you can imagine what this could cause! Working as a team, going from island to island seeing exactly how much gold we can loot and rum we can drink without knowing the full scope of the game or where our next adventure will take us all. But wherever it is, we will be there for Sea of Thieves, as Rare is there for us!
[Q]: Share a fun fact about yourself. Anything is fair game! [A]: One fun fact about me is that my dog’s name is Halo! She came to our family as a pup and we took her in. This was when our family played Halo every day. She would go to midnight releases with us when I worked with Bungie marketing, EA marketing and Epic Games to host midnight releases for Gears of War, Halo and Madden.
And that's a wrap, as they say in the film industry! A big thank you to Ron for taking the time to tell us about his life both inside and outside the world of gaming. Of course, it's early days and there are still more Community Spotlights on the way so until then, keep an eye on our social channels to stay up to date with the latest on Sea of Thieves.