Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned Unveiled

Here is a exclusive interview IGN had with game director Alex Peters.

Pirates very often get the short end of the stick. When they’re raiding ocean vessels off of the coast of Somalia, it is probably well-deserved. But when it comes to role-playing videogames, one has to wonder: Why don’t we get more games starring pirates? We’ve saved the world as a spiky haired protagonist and slain more dragons than any of us care to count. It’s high time our role-playing took to the high seas.

If you’ve ever felt the same, prepare to have your wishes granted by Disney Interactive Studios and Propaganda Games. The publisher and developer are working on a Pirates of the Caribbean videogame, but this isn’t your typical licensed game. Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned is an action RPG set in a huge open world. The story takes place before the Pirates of the Caribbean movies with an original plot where players step into the shoes of a new pirate beset with all manner of nasty enemies. Moral choices, character building, and a supernatural world await. Sound interesting? We’ve got the first details on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC game, courtesy of Alex Peters, Game Director for Armada of the Damned.

IGN: Can you tell us a little bit about the plot? Who do you play as and what is the overall goal of the game?

Alex Peters: The story of Armada of the Damned takes place before the events of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, so we have a great opportunity to expand on the rich and diverse history and mythology that already exists in the universe. The character at the start of the game is a young pirate setting out on his maiden voyage with the goal of becoming the most respected — or feared — pirate captain in the Caribbean.

Behold, the first screenshot.

IGN: Are you set to play as a specific character with a predetermined look or is there going to be a character creation system so that I can make my own unique pirate?

Alex Peters: The current plan is that the character initially has a predetermined look, but throughout the game the choices the player makes during gameplay will change the character’s appearance. Some of these changes will be story-related and quite drastic and some will be much less serious, allowing the player to create a more unique character.

IGN: This takes place before any of the films, but it exists within the same world. So will any characters from the movies make appearances in the game?

Alex Peters: The original story takes place before and separate from the films, but being part of the universe means anything is possible.

IGN: Will there be any famous real-life pirates you meet up with or is everyone in the world completely fictionalized?

Alex Peters: All characters are fictional but some may draw inspiration from real life pirates.

IGN: Though not an RPG, clearly Sid Meier’s Pirates! is the best pirate game ever made. How would you compare your RPG to some of the elements seen in Sid Meier’s game?

Alex Peters: I think that Sid Meier’s Pirates is great. Similarly, we want to make sure our game creates a sense a freedom in how you decide to live your pirate life. We are trying to make experiences in the Caribbean similar to those featured in the movies so you can expect to see some supernatural elements mixed in with realism.

IGN: Is the bulk of the game on sea or are there significant portions of exploration on land?

Alex Peters: The exploration will be a mixture of both land and sea and it’s up to the player to choose how much time they spend in each.

IGN: Since this is an open world, I’m assuming that exploration will be a big part of the game. What sorts of things can I do when veering away from the main quest?

Alex Peters: We want to entice players to explore hidden coves, mysterious inlets and intriguing islands. The people of the Caribbean have their own stories and while their lives are certainly affected by the events that transpire in the main story, they often have more immediate or personal concerns. Since the player is cast in the role of a pirate, they may choose to involve themselves in situations that pique their interest or serve their own purposes.

IGN: The film is set in a sort of pseudo-reality. But obviously during the time of pirates, the sea was a warzone for a variety of nations. How are those nationalities playing a role in this game and will you be free to pick you allegiances?

Alex Peters: Throughout the course of the game, the player will interact with the nation powers who inhabited the Caribbean at that time and their loyalties will change based on the choices made over the course of the game.

IGN: Is there any sort of dynamic economy and trading model? In other words, can you buy spices in one port, take them somewhere in need of spices and sell them for a profit?

Alex Peters: We aren’t ready to talk about this yet but as an RPG game, we definitely expect an economy to be part of the experience.

IGN: The press release says there are moral choices to be made. How extensive is this and how does the morality system work?

Alex Peters: A major focus for this game is choice. Players will have to decide how they interact with non-player characters, what they decide to do and where they travel. Morality in the pirate lore is a bit of a gray area and our game will take advantage of the various choices the player will have to make.

Pirates had a great sense of style.

IGN: How does the character upgrade system work?

Alex Peters: We don’t want to go into too much detail at this early stage but your character will level up over the course of the game. Your play style will help you make those choices and we are ensuring we accommodate everything you would expect.

IGN: Can you also upgrade your ship?

Alex Peters: We want the ship to progress over the course of the game so that it ends up acting and looking dramatically different than it did at the beginning. How this happens is something we`ll reveal at a later date.

IGN: Is the combat turn-based or all action?

Alex Peters: The combat is a high-intensity action experience. We give the player full control of their character as they attack and defend themselves.

IGN: Can you describe what you’ve done to create some good sword duels?

Alex Peters: Players will be able to attack, parry and counter their enemies. On top of that, players will be gaining special abilities.

IGN: How does ship-to-ship combat work?

Alex Peters: Without giving away anything at this early stage, our approach is vastly different than any other game.

IGN: How important is your crew and what goes into assembling one to take your ship to sea?

Alex Peters: A pirate captain is only as good as his ship’s crew. With that said, we will allow the player to personalize their crew. These choices will affect their character’s success or struggle.

IGN: One of the key elements to any RPG is having a good dialogue system. How will this work in Pirate of the Caribbean? Are there multiple dialogue choices or is it more traditional?

Alex Peters: We’re committed to making conversations in the game entertaining. We’ve created a script that takes advantage of an entirely new story set within the world of the Pirates of the Caribbean and wholeheartedly embraces the tone and humor players expect. RPGs are all about choices. Players that want to cut to the chase are able to do so, and those who wish to explore every angle can weave their way through the dialogue, pursuing areas that interest them.

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