- Mike Goslin, Vice President of Disney's VR Studio
- Ian Black, Writer, Disney's VR Studio
- January 18, 2007
The Pirates of the Caribbean world is a place where the real coexists with the unreal and where the conflict between what is primal and what is civilized is raging out of control. To give you a glimpse at how we've captured this in Pirates of the Caribbean Online, it's probably best to share with you the backstory within the game (beyond what you may already know from the film franchise).
First, let's set the stage...
The Caribbean has become the last bastion in the struggle between the "old ways" - the supernatural - and the European order of the New World. Exploration and expansion into the territory has brought regimented and authoritative rule. The great pirates of the Caribbean must battle for their freedom while caught between this encroaching civilization and the mystical power of the Seven Seas.
Our goal at the VR Studio was to create an online world that reflected this authentic lore and the history of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, while adding a handful of new characters, settings, and stories of our own. Using the existing palette of themes and tales from the franchise, we began to construct a storyline for the game. Our first step was to create an original overarching enemy for the game -- one that could extend beyond those from the films, including Davy Jones, Captain Barbossa, and those being introduced in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."
What we came up with, after hours of brainstorming and iterating on tons of really incredible concepts, was Jolly Roger -- an undead pirate that players will love to hate. He's a menacing looking creature, with a skull for a face, adorned with piles of grotesque objects like shrunken heads and voodoo masks. His dreadlocks are filled with poisonous snakes, and in place of a typical hand, he instead has trio of weapons -- part sword, part gun, and part dagger (not something that you'd ever want to shake).
The game's storyline begins when players learn of Jolly Roger's longstanding personal grudge with the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. The grudge stems from an ill-fated poker match between Jolly Roger, Amo Dorsi (a follower of the mystic Tia Dalma), and Jack Sparrow. Jolly Roger conspires with Amo Dorsi to lure Jack into the poker match, and steal from him his most precious possessions. Unfortunately for Jolly Roger, the game goes horribly wrong, Jack ends up winning and Jolly Roger shoots Amo Dorsi as a result of his betrayal. Before Amo Dorsi dies, he places a powerful curse on Jolly Roger which leaves him as half-man, half-beast. He remains in a vampire-like, undead state, where he must feed on souls of the living for all eternity!
Players encounter Jolly Roger within the first 15 minutes of the game. He threatens your life but, you're ultimately spared -- only under the condition that you spread word of his power and deliver a message to Jack Sparrow, "Jolly Roger is coming for revenge!"
In the game, players must band together to defeat this evil foe and accumulate extraordinary powers, skills, and weapons to accomplish the task. This is where the mystic Tia Dalma comes into play, as she guides players through the process of earning and using voodoo– a key element in your ongoing struggle against Jolly Roger and other enemies found in the Pirates world.
Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming diary in which we'll share more details about the use of voodoo skills and weapons within the game...