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Apr 24, 2006



We all know that a good book doesn't necessarily make a good movie (unless the book is written with that in mind, of coursre). Similarly, neither a book nor a movie make a good game, or vice versa. The devil is ALWAYS in the details - people respond to HOW the book is written, or the movie presented, or the game mechanics work. There is no rule that says these need align.

On the other hand, if you CAN write your book, or make your movie, or build your game so that it embodies the spirit of the property, you'll do better than an equivalent product that lacks such a property.

The nice part about any entertainment industry, including games, is how totally original things CAN emerge a success stories even without a property attached. City of Heroes / City of Villains from Cryptic is a wonderful example of this.


"Dune II" was a great game, and the father of the modern RTS genre. The "X-Wing" and "Tie Figher" games rocked very, very hard. The recent "James Bond" console games have been very good. There have been very good "Star Trek" games, both in the DOS days, and some of the starship figher sims. "Warriors" got good reviews, as did "Matrix: Neo's something-or-other." "Kingdom Hearts" is all about franchise, and it is great.

I think that, in general, using a franchise tends to be a crutch. But there are plenty of other crutches, too.


The single-player version of PoTC was quite sweet, in that it was Sea Dogs II (III?) with a hastily slapped on license, though I got the feeling the game would have been more interesting if it hadn't been simplified for the consuming masses.

The MMO version could be great. There's certainly enough scope with pirates/seafaring/trading etc, but I'm picturing an MMO version of Sid Meier's classic. If you throw in zombies (and maybe Kiera Knightley) and it could be fantastic, especially if manages to capture even half the wit of the film.

A small technical point, here, however: As any student of 16th century European colonialism will tell you; The correct phrasing is "Yarrrrr". :)


I've had my hopes of piratical fulfillment pinned on PotC since I found out that "Pirates of the Burning Seas" was only going to have ship-based combat, with no avatar combat implemented right away. Soured me on "Burning Seas" right then and there.


Fully off topic, but...

Dan, I usually agree with what you write, but on a matter of tastes...

I fully disagree with your opinions on Kiera (hawt), Silent Hill (worth watching), SWG (utter garbage), and Lumines (tired and simplistic), and Depp's Jack Sparrow (Cary Elwes' TDPR is a better swashy pirate, by far).

As for the topic of thin vs. fat franchises, Pirates is practically nonexistent. Disney wanted to do a swashbuckler flick, and they happened to have a ride, so they said, why not. None of the animatronic characters have a name on the ride, and there isn't much of a story, more like a setting. (The one thing I missed seeing in the movie is a young lass getting her knickers ripped off by a dog...)

A pirate MMO would sell. There's a big demand. Especially if there are pirates AND ninjas in the same game. Disney will slap on the franchise name to bring in a few more customers, but it won't be the next WoW, that's for sure. And Disney knows that. It's still profit in the end.

WoW's success wasn't from the Warcraft franchise. It was from a strong Blizzard fanbase, especially from the success of their StarCraft and Diablo franchises. Brand loyalty. If Disney does a Pirates MMO, people will come primarily because it's Disney, not because it's Pirates of the Caribbean. Disney gets the added perk of having subscribing fans which will enjoy its other media as well. Win win, especially considering that an A-class MMO budget is still pidgeon feed compared to the cost of a B-class Disney movie.


Greetings folks- my name is Troy ‘Aether’ Hewitt, and I’m the Community Envoy for Pirates of the Burning Sea. This conversation was forwarded to me by no less than four different folks, each concerned that the comments attached to the editorial reflected a misunderstanding about avatar combat and PotBS.

To clarify, Pirates of the Burning Sea will feature avatar combat. We are not ready to discuss the system or when it will be available to players, and it may be a post-launch feature, but we are committed to this element of the game. However, we believe our ship combat system is a kick-ass gaming experience and expect players will find it a blast to play even before avatar combat goes in.

To include or not to include is an issue that continues to be discussed on our forums at http://www.burningsea.com. You are certainly welcome to share your thoughts, or just keep tabs on the issue, by checking out some of the threads that address the subject. Here are a couple good places to start:

Flying Lab Software CEO Russell ‘Rusty’ Williams speaks to the development of avatar combat:

PotBS Producer John ‘Rev’ Tynes affirms that avatar combat will indeed be a feature:

Hopefully this information clears up any misunderstanding around the inclusion of avatar combat in Pirates of the Burning Sea. Feel free to drop me a line on our forums with any additional questions.



Licenses/Properties have been with gaming for a long time. In that time I think it has been well proven that it's just as hard to make a good license game as it is to make a good original property (though for different reasons). The increased awareness that comes with a license cuts both ways. Crap license games still have more market presence than crap original games-- and so it happens again and again that someone points out that there are a lot of lousy games based on license/properties. As a developer you're gambling on your talent either way you go, but with a license you're usually gambling with someone else's money.

Ninjas, Dinosaurs, Spaceships, Stunts, Robots, Soldiers, Snipers, and Pirates. You're talking about the stuff that 12 year old dreams are made of. Imagination fodder for young minds that matters more than any 'branding' ever will. PotC and PotBS aren't trading on much more than that (although it's probably worth mentioning the billion dollar Disney marketing engine). Pirates FTW!

Ken Goldstein clip (Video 1) http://tinyurl.com/qsfa3


Cross-licensing is not always a fiasco. It works very well in cases like selling toys based on a children's movie or selling sound track recordings from a musical. In these situations the quality of the product is almost irrelevant, you're selling the brand for pure profit. Once the sale has been made, it doesn't make any difference whether the kid actually plays with his toy or if you can only stand to listen to the recording once.

MMOGS are different of course. The brand may sell the box, but it won't keep subscriptions coming in. Unfortunately, I get the impression that many entertainment execs don't really get this yet.

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