Caldwell Tanner (@caldy) is genuinely one of the smartest, funniest, most creative people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing - he is ferociously inventive, has a keen eye for quality, and just seems to KNOW how to make stuff good and how to make good stuff great. So it's no real surprise that this goofy little doodle tweet of his inspired an entire community of gamers to go build an actual Waluigi pirate exploration sim game - if anyone was going to inspire that kind of madness, it was going to be Caldwell.

Before I actually delve into that key aspect of this post (there is a massive community making a Waluigi pirate sim game, FOR REAL), let's take a closer look at that doodle of Caldwell's. I say "doodle" in an almost dismissive way, because for Caldwell, this IS a doodle. The man is capable of such intense and remarkable art, and looking at this, it's clear this didn't take him very long at all. But for anyone else, this would be a once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece - the use of color and shading, Waluigi's pose facing the unknown, the tiny mustache-shaped ship, the subtle design choices (the Wind Waker-styled clouds!), and the title - "Sea of Greed" - all intermingle PERFECTLY. A team of professionals pitching an actual game to Nintendo couldn't have come up with a more evocative and compelling piece of art - and Caldwell did it on a whim and for no one in particular.

And maybe that's the key - Caldwell's vision already seems so interesting and COMPLETE in this one image, it feels like the game is already there...someone just needs to uncover it. Thankfully - someone did.

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This post in r/me_irl by thegangnamwalrus is where the journey of turning Sea of Greed into an actual game truly began. Promising to do something as long as a post gets a certain number of shares / retweets / likes is a tried-and-true method of winning fake internet points, but it's pretty rare that it actually LEADS to something. But the post got its requisite 1000 (*sigh*) "updoots", and thegangnamwalrus was off to the races - he created the subreddit r/seaofgreed only hours later, and then soon its first post:

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...and he got the seal of approval from Caldwell himself:

The time for compromise came almost immediately - after fielding encouraging responses for calls for programmers, artists, and developers, Grant realized that spending time, money, and resources to build a Waluigi game that would IMMEDIATELY be shut down by Nintendo's team of lawyers (who have a history of shutting down elaborate fan-games) may not have been the best move. The solution? Replace the character "Waluigi" with the totally original, legally-distinct character "Wally Gladstone":

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via r/seaofgreed

This was a fairly radical departure - after all, the entire IDEA for the game's premise heavily-relied on Waluigi, the lanky, mustachioed, purple-loving weirdo being the star. Who was this "Wally Gladstone"? Could he possibly fill the pointy shoes of -

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Art by TubularToasts

YES - NONE OTHER THAN THE WILY SCALLYWAG HIMSELF, WALLY GLADSTONE! THE TOTALLY ORIGINAL CHARACTER!

Things shifted quickly from there - with the character and general world in place, the team began inviting more and more fans and collaborators through Reddit and their Discord channel...and it began growing into an actual, real thing. Like, with concept art and logos and music and polls about whether the combat should be fun. It's been legitimately incredible to watch it grow from a tiny seed of an idea to a thriving community with a real passion for the project, their own in-jokes, and a genuine affection for one another.

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One of the fascinating things about the development (to me, at least) is the clear influences of The Legend of Zelda on the game, far more than anything in the Mario-verse. From the overall tone of the art, to the combat (it's fun!), to the music - everything reeks of Zelda, and I mean that in the best way possible:

Really, the game is already looking lovely - which actually makes sense, given the amount of talent that has been built up around the project:

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New Character Announcment! "A new character enters the spotlight, Breman! The one man band and right hand man to the great pirate Wally Gladstone! A long time friend to Wally since they were kids, Breman has been the most loyal follower and greatest supporter of our purple pirate. As he's a bit on the soft side, he can't take a punch and tends to stay away from fighting. Though that doesn't stop this jolly fellow from providing travelling tunes for the rest of his crew throughout their journey. As Wally's a magnet for adventure, this lad sticks to him like glue, waiting for the inspiration to arrange a magnum opus for the world to hear!" #indie #game #games #gamer #steam #indiegamestudio #indiegamedev #indiegame #gamestagram #gamedev #developer #development #unity #unitygames #reddit #indiegames #seaofgreed #conceptart

A post shared by Wally Gladstone (@seaofgreedgame) on

"King of the crustaceans and mighty warrior, his majesty, King Jethro Crabbon IV! Plucked at a young age from his nest by his uncle, young Jethro was groomed to be the leader of all crustaceanic peoples of the Sea of Greed. Under his guidance, the crustacean people have thrived within the confines of their sandy kingdom. But as of late, his plans have now turned toward the recovery of his ancestral home, a stronghold hidden under the sands of a familiar island. Ascending to this legendary throne would solidify his name in the annals of history. And as they say, "Long live the king, kehehehe". " #indie #game #games #gamer #steam #indiegamestudio #indiegamedev #indiegame #gamestagram #gamedev #developer #development #unity #unitygames #reddit #indiegames #pixel #pixelart #seaofgreed

A post shared by Wally Gladstone (@seaofgreedgame) on



We should get back to the team, though - it's grown pretty expansive (and you can check out the full roster on their website) in the past year. A whole team of artists, musicians, writers, programmers, etc., all working for free and volunteering their time for one of the silliest projects I can recall. Luckily, Sea of Greed's head of social media (and other important stuff), Joshua "Quite" Cooper, agreed to answer a few questions for us, to bring people up-to-speed on the project from someone working on the inside (since we figured THEY would do a better job summarizing the project than we could):

How would you describe Sea of Greed to the uninitiated?

If we're talking about the game:

Sea of Greed, first and foremost, is a grand-scale adventure game with moderate RPG elements. It's in a 3/4th view, similar to that of Pokemon, and will take place on both Land and Sea, with a LOT of player freedom. The game consists of 7 main islands and many smaller islands, and after the initial starting place, the game can be completed in whatever order the player desires.

If we're talking about the community:

We have a very dedicated community, with many memes, many content releases, and much community involvement. We reward people for sticking around our subreddit, allowing people to choose what content we release each month, and give additional monthly progress reports.



Can you describe your history with this project?

I am currently the Social Media Manager on the project, but also do a lot of other Project Management activities, such as team management, risk management, meeting management, and other administrative works. However, I did not join the project as such. I have no formal background in pretty much anything, so I came onto the team as but a simple writer (I'm fairly certain I was only accepted because of my passion, and because no-one else was applying). Funny story, the only reason I actually applied was because I read an article in PC Gamer Magazine about a Morrowind/Skyrim fan game, then realising that I wanted to work on it, or something similar. That specific project was only looking for voice actors at the time, so after 30 minutes of realising that I suck, somebody, somewhere received that abomination in their email. I doubt that if I had not read that article, I would have joined the game. After seeing the subreddit (r/SeaofGreed) posted in the comments of an r/all post, I pretty much decided "why not". After becoming one of the most active members on the dev team at the time (we had less than half of the size of our current dev team, around 30 to the current 75), I became very heavily invested into the project, and secured a promotion into project management. I got the Social Media Manager job after no-one else wanted it, but that doesn't mean I didn't want it. Call me weird all you want, but I love this stuff. After that, it's just a lot of the 'boring' stuff I talked about earlier.



How has the project grown in the past year?

We've doubled our dev team and our fanbase, so that certainly helped a lot (we started off with around 2-3k at the creation of the subreddit). But in terms of growth of the game itself, we've had about as much growth as expected. The first year of a game is the most difficult, because the framework for the game is actually the largest amount of work for many of the teams. For our Game Designers, a serious chunk of their work needs to be done before we can even START having combat, movement, etc. Not to mention the Programmers, who are practically done once we even have something to put art into. That's why real clips and demos of games can't come out until late in development, because 80% of Programmers work happens before any of said game can really be shown, and that takes time. Because of all this, we don't have much to point at and say "Look, game." We have one clip on our Youtube that's kind of janky, and we release bits of art, music, etc every now and then, just to show that we are making progress. Obviously, development will also be slower because we're not paying anybody, and we can't expect people to hold this as priority over their real life. That's one of the reasons why we have such a huge dev team, we seriously just can't expect everyone to contribute all the time; exams, jobs, family, mental health, etc, take priority over what is essentially a passion project. There's just no solution to that issue itself, but what we can do is just get more people. So that's what we did, and in fact, we are still accepting certain roles now.



At what point did you realize "oh man, I am actually committed to making this jokey Waluigi thing into an actual game"?

There was never one moment where I stopped what I was doing, looked into the camera, and exasperatingly said "damn". I took this project seriously from the start, because what I saw on reddit was an opportunity, not something I decided to join as a joke. I have the time, and I wanted some experience. Boy, did I get it. It might seem like a 'jokey' thing to the outside eye, but to me especially, there is nothing more important in the entire world. Aside from Wall-Street, you don't get 17 year olds who can walk into an interview and talk about their experience with Project Management, Social Media Management and Risk Management. It's pretty crazy to be that person.



Tell us about totally original character Wally Gladstone.

Wally Gladstone is a complete nobody at the start of the game. He's a nameless outsider, having abandoned his homeland in search of greater opportunities: wealth, fame, the ever important Moustache Grease. Because of this, he's a little self-centered and a little brash, but for all his faults, he's a lovable human being. Unless you decide to make him a terrible person. Then that's your fault, not ours.



What do you prefer: actually making the game, or engaging with the genuinely amazing community that's formed around it? (some primo shitposts goin on)

Since I run the Social Media, I'm heavily invested in both. The actual reason we have such an avid community comes from two main sources: Discord, and an event we have called Shitpost Saturday, where we pick a winning shitpost to be pinned for the entire of Sunday. The Discord community is great, and many of the meta memes on our reddit originate from here. We absolutely love talking to our fans, because working on something like this can sometimes be demoralising; there's so much to be done, and we aren't getting any money from it (and never will). But nevertheless, we persevere. It truly is the community that pulls us through this: chatting with them, seeing our reddit shitposts, all of it. It's just so great, we couldn't do it without these guys. However, this is not to discount actually making the game. I think I'm an outlier, as not many people like to do work, but it's just so great to get away from the monotony of life and make progress in something that means to much to so many people. Every time I work on the game, I know that my progress is affecting thousands of people. Am I a celebrity? No, and I likely never will be. It's simply the knowledge that I am creating something genuinely good, in the bleak landscape of a triple-A dominated industry, that gets me through life, and keeps me coming back for more.



Realistically - do you think Sea of Greed will ever be completed? Or, at least, completed enough to see some kind of release?

Absolutely. Unless we end up in court for some reason, we're going to be getting this out. In the near future, we're aiming for a playable demo, mostly just proof that we are actually creating something worthwhile. While I sadly can't open my third eye to peer into the void that is the future, I'd seriously say that we're going to get this done. While the track records of similar game projects aren't great, and while I can't convince you that we're so much different from them, we can assure that with our proper structure comes proper progress.



What can the internet do to support you in your quest to bring Wally Gladstone to every console, Smash Ultimate, and anywhere else games are played?

Honestly, we aren't out here to impact the world. We're not the people to carry bullhorns, blasting "PUT OUR OC IN SMASH ULTIMATE". We just want to create something good, and however one wishes to support us, whether it be on Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, Soundcloud, Youtube or even just mention us to friends, we don't mind. Every new subscriber brings joy to our team. Every subscriber gives us a new reason to finish this game. That's all we need. That's all we want. (Note: It shouldn't be too hard for us to get on the Switch, since we're already making it in Unity and we won't need too much modification.)



Do you have any last messages for the internet?

If you aren't a fan of meta memes, please excuse us. We'd rather a meta subreddit than a dead one. We're looking at you, Garlic Bread Dating Simulator.


While Waluigi has been repeatedly disrespected by his parent company, Wally Gladstone is the true heir to his online popularity - and has been embraced by a community that will treat him better than Nintendo ever could have. It all began with a simple tweet - and, God willing - that tweet will become real. There is still hope for this world - because there still exists Sea of Greed.






If you want to join in the Sea of Greed community and help bring the game to life, here are some places to check out: