San Diego Comic-Con 2018 Panel and Diary
Emma explains what the Sea of Thieves team (and Freddie Prinze Jr.) got up to at SDCC!
This year Sea of Thieves headed to sunny San Diego for Comic-Con 2018! Our last trip out was in 2016 before our Technical Alpha kicked off that December. We talked about the art of the game (you can catch that panel here) and we're excited to be heading back to talk about Expanding Sea of Thieves!
After a 10-hour flight from London (many, many films viewed and aeroplane food picked at), we land in San Diego and are pleased to find it's cooler in California than it is back home in England's heatwave! We grab a car to our hotel which is right next to the water. Mike is excited to spot that we're over the road from the San Diego Maritime Museum, meaning there are tall ships opposite the hotel. He almost gets run over in the car park trying to take a twilight photo.
My room overlooks the ships, including the HMS Surprise which appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean and Master and Commander. The others head to dinner but I decide to go and catch some sleep after almost falling asleep mid-conversation.
After getting over the initial moment of panic at waking up in an unfamiliar room, I'm up and awake! The ships look even better from the balcony in the daylight. I pop out onto the balcony for a couple of photos then hurry back inside – my clumsiness and balconies don't really mix well.
Today is focused on getting ready for our busy day on Saturday. First order of business is to meet up with Kumar, who works in Lifestyle and Pop Culture for Xbox (what a job!) as he's been working with our special guest, Freddie Prinze Jr. We grab a quick lunch at a place in the Gaslamp Quarter. I've never seen so much cosplay in one place before! The vibe even in the packed streets is really friendly and inclusive, there are tons of families enjoying everything Comic-Con has to offer. Kumar and I chat through the next day: a social takeover with Freddie, the panel and the Xbox Session. It'll be busy but it's days like this that remind me I'm very lucky to do the job I do.
I spend the rest of the day getting the lay of the land and pulling off something pretty special with one of our Pirate Legends. Nicholas, who lives in San Diego, kindly reached out to us when he saw we were going to be in his city to offer us a tour of the Maritime Museum where he volunteers. Knowing we had time with Freddie in the morning for him to take over the Sea of Thieves Twitter account, I'd sent Nicholas a quick email to see if we could borrow a ship for an hour the next morning. Nicholas – Pirate Legend that he is – has been able to get this organised for us, meaning we've managed to commandeer an actual ship for the next day!
Before the current day is done I manage to get some time in with friends of Rare Greenskull and Rukari, as well as meeting some Sea of Thieves fans (which is one of my favourite parts of the job!) before getting some rest ahead of the big day.
Comic-Con is a go! Mike, Joe, Pete and I meet Freddie Prinze Jr. in our hotel lobby. Freddie's a HUGE Sea of Thieves fan and we've loved tweeting back and forth with him and watching his clips, so we're excited to get to meet him in the flesh. Freddie and his friend Jon are going to spend the day with us, so after introductions we head over the road to board the HMS Surprise.
There we meet Pirate Legend Nicholas, our new hero, and his lovely wife Amber. They're incredibly kind and make us feel so welcome in their city. We get to explore the ship above and below decks (Mike takes an instant shine to the Captain's cabin) before we start taking questions for Freddie on Twitter. After some prime pirate banter I get Mike, Joe, Pete and Freddie to become real pirates for some looping video clips. We bid farewell to new friends Nicholas and Amber before heading off to fuel up for the panel.
Not feeling particularly hungry I order pancakes, forgetting that American portions are HUGE compared to what we get in the UK. I manage... one. Freddie entertains us with stories of his adventures in Sea of Thieves, including a Willy Wonka metaphor and the story of a heroic rescue by a new player. He'll share these with everyone else later in the panel.
Then it's piling into Ubers and heading to the San Diego Convention Center for the panel: Expanding Sea of Thieves. We're loaded up with codes for the Perfect Dark-inspired Huntress Figurehead for attendees, but heartbreakingly the exclusive comics have suffered a shipping situation that means they haven't arrived in time.
I manage to quickly say hi to personal hero Camilla Luddington as she comes out of the Shadow of the Tomb Raider panel, which takes place just before ours. I think I manage not to hyperventilate or squee too much. I think.
The room's packed with Sea of Thieves fans which is a heartwarming sight and we're off! Rather than tell you what we covered, why don't you click the video below to watch for yourself? The Sea of Thieves crew cover the ways in which we've added to the lore of the world and Freddie shares his own stories and questions. We're so grateful to everyone who came out to hear us and to stick around afterwards for autographs and photos. You're all amazing.
No rest for us though, as Joe and Mike dash off to the Xbox booth for a signing whilst the rest of us head to a nearby hotel where we've hired out the penthouse for an Xbox Session with Freddie and Major Nelson! The air con is a most welcome break from the hot San Diego sun and we're straight into playtesting, make-up and prepping to go live. We're lucky to work with the outstanding Attention Seekers who make the whole thing seamless. I'm not appearing on camera so I hide in the office next door and listen in as the crew set sail and chat about Cursed Sails and what's next for the game.
Before we can catch our breath, the Session is over and our day at Comic-Con is done! We say our goodbyes to Freddie, Jon and Larry and head out in search of something to eat. The day's been a whirlwind but I've spent most of it on our social channels getting to share it all with the community and seeing your passion for the game. I'll say it again, my job is awesome.
Just enough time to sample some Mexican food, a must if you're in San Diego, and grab some junkfood to bring back for the team at Rare (America has SO MANY flavours of Oreos and M&Ms) before our flight back to London. It's been a short trip but we're all heading home having met a ton of Sea of Thieves fans, motivating us to get back to Rare and get Cursed Sails out to all of you.
Thanks to every single one of you who came to see us at Comic-Con and to all of you who followed along on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We're so proud of the Sea of Thieves community.
Check out the panel video above if you haven't already, and make sure you're following us on social media and keeping an eye on the official Forums and Discord for info on any more shows we'll be popping up at this year!