Well, 2019 is here at last and it promises to be full of fun and surprises for Sea of Thieves fans… but before we go rushing headlong into the new year like a pirate fired from a cannon, let’s take a moment to appreciate some successes from the end of 2018.

Sea of Thieves was fortunate enough to be mentioned in several retrospective Best of 2018 articles throughout the gaming media. We’re proud of this recognition and think that our fans should be too, as a shared-world game like ours would be empty without your antics! So let’s see what medals from 2018 we can gather up to hang around the Pirate Lord’s neck…

Waypoint: Our Favorite Games of 2018

To round off 2018, each staff member of VICE magazine’s Waypoint section shared their favourite games of the year. Writer and swashbuckler extraordinaire Rob Zacny chose Sea of Thieves, citing among many things the sounds and sensations of the game. Get your thesaurus ready: “The call of the Sea of Thieves is unrelenting and like those skeleton crews of pirates long dead, your fate is a peripatetic existence to rival that of clever Odysseus.” That’s exactly what we were going for!

Eurogamer Readers’ Top 50 Games of 2018

In something of a festive tradition, Eurogamer revealed the top 50 games of the year as chosen by its readers who put it at number 26, fittingly adding “Yarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” (actual quote). Eurogamer staff also placed Sea of Thieves among their own 30 best games of 2018, while Johnny Chiodini picked it as his personal favourite in this video. The site also chose us for one of their Moments of 2018, citing this moment during the Cursed Sails campaign: “Suddenly, a distant horn rings out across the waves and, after a few moments of strange, uncertain calm, a ragged galleon explodes upward from the murky depths, making its presence known in a roar of rushing water and sea spray.”

The Inner Circle Games Network – Game Awards 2018

The handsome and sociable staff of this ‘by gamers, for gamers’ site clearly recognise a game after their own hearts, giving Best Art Direction and Best Multiplayer awards to Sea of Thieves! They said: “Rare’s open-world pirate game is beautiful, with gorgeous sunsets, violent storms, ferocious sea beasts and incredible waves. Yet all of it is still done with a whimsical flair, in an art style that doesn’t aim for complete realism but lends an adventurous tone.”

PCGamesN: Best PC Games of 2018

PCGamesN has the skinny on all the major releases for PC, so we were delighted to see Sea of Thieves named among their best games of 2018. We felt these words in particular captured the spirit of the game: “All those tiny bits of art and game design combine to make Sea of Thieves an anecdote generator – a place where fun stories keep happening no matter how many times I come back to it.”

God is a Geek: Best New IP of 2018

The folks at God is a Geek gave us some of our favourite praise of 2018, dishing out the accolade of Best New IP. Acknowledging a raft of post-launch updates and improvements, writer Mick Doherty said: “I’m looking forward to see what else Rare bring to the game in 2019 and I can only hope my ramblings have, at the very least, encouraged you to consider grabbing a bottle of rum, putting on your best pirate voice and hoisting the anchor to give it another go to see how it has evolved.” See you on the water, Mick!

Shacknews Best Story (Non-Narrative) Game of 2018

While Sea of Thieves does feature ever-growing background and lore, it’s a game designed for players to go forth and get stuck into their own adventures, and Shacknews’ article is all about how those players tell the real story. The site also gave us the nod for Best Art Style of 2018, with a visual approach “that deserves to be ogled, captured in video and image, and just enjoyed for its glorious beauty”. Well, shucks.

Windows Central Game Awards 2018: Best Art Direction

Windows Central ended 2018 with a look at their favourite titles on PC and Xbox One, including our humble pirate paradise in that number. Sea of Thieves was recognised for Best Art Direction, with the site explaining: “Sea of Thieves is one of the most unique-looking titles this year, with a gorgeously realized oceanic open world brimming with photogenic scenery.”

TrueAchievements: Top 20 Most Played Games of 2018

Sea of Thieves rocked up at an admirable fourth place in this Top 20, only a few places behind that cowboy game that quite a lot of people apparently like. TrueAchievements called out our “dedicated community of passionate pirates” and the fact that the game has “grown tremendously since launch with frequent free content updates big and small”. Well, cheers!

Gamereactor: GOTY 18 Countdown

Gamereactor posted an end-of-year countdown that praised Sea of Thieves for colourful art, unpredictable gameplay and an atmosphere with a dash of Rare humour: “Given how much fun we had with Sea of Thieves this year, you can bet your peg leg that we'll be revisiting this plunder-filled world of adventure in 2019 as we search for more hijinx on the high seas.” Better yet, they included Rare in their Best Studio list of 2018 and our Executive Producer Joe Neate also seemed to catch their eye, as he is known to do, talking about what the future holds for Sea of Thieves in this interview.

Polygon: The Best Xbox One Games of 2018

23 of Polygon’s top 50 games of 2018 were playable on Xbox One, including this excellent snapshot of how our very own pirate game plays out: “As the game stands in 2018, between the AI threats on the sea and the other players at the helm of their own ships, a session of Sea of Thieves can be as tranquil as a road trip with friends or as frantic and terrifying as the final firefights of a battle royale match.” Polygon’s Cass Marshall also wrote this article detailing how Sea of Thieves’ successful roster of expansions in 2018 made it her most anticipated game of 2019. We’ll be doing everything we can to meet those expectations!

GamingBolt: 15 Greatest Multiplayer Games of 2018

GamingBolt’s rundown of the top multiplayer experiences of the year included some big hitters from various styles of play including co-op, local split-screen and MMO. We were very pleased to see Sea of Thieves in the mix, picking up praise for the rapid content updates that bolstered everything it had to offer: “Sea of Thieves quickly became a much, much better game within just a few months of its launch.”

Study Breaks: These Were the 5 Best Video Games of 2018

The fine folks at Study Breaks, the magazine site aimed at and created by college students, placed Sea of Thieves among their five best games of the year! They said: “That’s what I like most from a team-based game: the ability to laugh at yourself. Sea of Thieves is just plain and simple fun.”

DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018

Over at DualShockers, games of the year lists were doled out by multiple staff members, giving everyone a voice. The most attractive and intelligent of those people was clearly Scott Meaney, who put Sea of Thieves in his top 10 and penned an article showing once more how it’s the stories of players that bring the game to life. He added: “Let’s not mince words: I revere Sea of Thieves without any reservations.” We’re blushing!

Giant Bomb: Drew Scanlon’s Top 10 Games of 2018

In case you’ve been marooned on an internet-free island, Drew Scanlon is a former Giant Bomb video producer and now host of Cloth Map. Revealing his top 10 games of the year, Drew said: “The key to a perfect game for us is low overhead: we just want to be able to jump in and have a good time. This is Sea of Thieves in a nutshell. It feels like the designers took a bullet-point list of ‘cool stuff that pirates do’ and made each one of those as fun as possible.”

GamesIndustry.biz: Games of the Year 2018

GamesIndustry.biz is a key site in the… well, games industry… which makes it something of a hub for us folks. Editor Christopher Dring picked Sea of Thieves for this list and had some kind words to say about the game and Rare too: “Sea of Thieves is a bold, major AAA gamble for Xbox. It's arguably one of the bravest games released this year, and long may it stay afloat.”

Additional Pirating Milestones

That wasn’t quite the end of it for 2018. Did you know that Sea of Thieves was the seventh most searched-for game on Google in the US? PCGamesN were among those who picked up on that statistic, while PC Gamer gave us a separate shout out for serious potential heading into 2019. And you know, we were happy to come in just behind Fortnite for TechRadar’s Best Online Multiplayer Game of 2018, especially after topping sister site GamesRadar’s list of games to get totally drunk in (responsibly) earlier in the year.

We saw some incredibly exciting numbers in the world of Twitch too. According to SullyGnome, Sea of Thieves was:

  • Watched for 51.6m hours
  • Streamed for 1.6m hours across 131K unique channels
  • 19th most watched game in the past year (data from 3/1/19)
  • Fourth most watched game released in 2018
  • Most watched new IP of 2018

Clearly, 2018 has been kind to us and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response to Sea of Thieves, not only from publications such as these but from our players. Everyone at Rare is looking forward to a positive 2019, with more updates in the pipeline and plenty more piratical fun to be had!

So, even though it may still be January and rather wet and cold in the UK, you’re welcome to join us for a grog by the fireside on the sunny Shores of Plenty as we look forward to the year ahead. Cheers!