If you're playing Sea of Thieves and you come across a ship named the "Sea News Network," don't be surprised if its crew approaches you, banana in hand, for an on-the-spot interview about something very silly.
Meet "Sea-N-N" - pronounced CNN, of course - host and anchor Scooter Mcgavun, field reporter Peggy Buckets, and security officer Pete Buckets, three life-long friends running what's by far the most amusing - and friendly, to boot - ship you're likely to come across in Sea of Thieves.
The idea for an in-game Sea of Thieves news show with skits and random player interviews was borne out of Scooter's desire for friendlier encounters with other crews. As he tells GamesRadar in an email exchange, Pete once appealed to Scooter's dark side and convinced him to betray a friendly crew, and it was the overwhelming guilt that led to the crew's first field interview (opens in new tab).
"I felt awful about this!" Scooter says. "It made me wonder, 'are there other pirates like me?' Pirates that have found themselves in a situation where it was more profitable to betray someone and were convinced to do so, bringing them some form of guilt. So, for that video I went out and interviewed real players asking them if they had ever done such a thing, and gave those players an opportunity to apologize."
According to Scooter, everyone involved in this initial seed of a video had a fun time, and so the idea sprouted to start up a ragtag news show with a spotlight on community reactions to Sea of Thieves' latest updates and changes. The creator's YouTube channel is still very young and only has a handful of videos, but the ones that are there are genuine gut-busters. Even if you're not a big Sea of Thieves player, you'd be doing yourself a disservice not to watch this video about the game's worst NPCs (opens in new tab), or this one discussing the delay of season 7 (opens in new tab), in which at least one of the participants is obviously drunk on grog.
"I took a week off work, just so I could enjoy [season 7] because it was meant to come out, what, today?," you can hear one pirate telling Sea News Network in one of my favorite quotes from the show. "And, uh, I've just been grinding, doing nothing, for a week, and I feel like I have no meaning to my life anymore."
The best part about all of this is that the reactions from the interview subjects are genuine and unscripted, Scooter confirmed to me. The intros, skits, and transition scenes are obviously planned out ahead of time, and there's some prep work with new crews before they're put under the banana mic, but the interviewees are giving their sincere, impromptu responses, and some of them are certified gold.
The most recent update, the sweeping season 7 and the Captaincy expansion, finally gave the crew its own officially branded vessel, aptly named the Sea News Network. Scooter hopes the new ship will surround the operation in an air of legitimacy.
"I hope the ability to look at our ship through the spy glass and see 'Sea News Network' will make players curious and encourage them to approach us," he says. "Before, there were some breaks in our roleplaying where we might have to explain things that made me feel like I was breaking character. I'm hoping I will find myself doing less of that and the visible ship name will bring the players to us."
After our email exchange, the endearingly humble Scooter private messaged me on Twitter to make sure he had emphasized just how much this whole thing is a community effort rather than a one, or even three-person show. "I'm just the editor and producer/writer, and I really want there to be a focus on the flair that each community member of Sea of Thieves and friend of mine brings to the content," he says.
Going forward, Scooter says he wants his show to be a platform for would-be content creators to riff on the news of the day. "Everyone brings a lot of their own style when on screen, and I don't want to appear as if I'm taking credit for that."
"I'd like to encourage others to not always focus on PVP but instead on having fun and friendly encounters," Scooter adds. "I want to thank all my friends that help with the videos by playing whatever goofy role I give them, especially Alexa and Tyler (Peggy and Pete Buckets)." Scooter also credits his fellow creators, including Pleythru (opens in new tab) and Ambrossa (opens in new tab), for inspiring him to make his own Sea of Thieves-related videos.
In case you haven't checked out season 7, here's how Sea of Thieves' new Captaincy update lets you turn in a whole ship's worth of loot in seconds.