- Felipe Lara, Art Director, Disney's Virtual Reality Studio
- Diane Lu, Lead Artist, Disney's Virtual Reality Studio
- February 20, 2007
The Pirates of the Caribbean Online world is made up of a series of islands which players can explore through the course of the game. At launch, the game will have around 10 islands, each with their own distinct look and feel and composed of both outdoor environments, (such as jungles, swamps, and caves) as well as unique structures and settlements.
Throughout the world, there are three primary types of architecture: Spanish, English, and Shanty. Shanty towns are populated mainly by pirates and consist of older, rundown shacks, taverns, and ramshackle shops. On any given island, the amount of Shanty architecture is determined by the number of pirates that occupy the area.
Some islands will contain complex settlements with a blend of multiple architectural themes and natural environments. For example, the island of Tortuga contains Spanish-style buildings but, since the island has been overrun by pirates, shanty structures dominate the architecture. On the other hand, some islands are completely unsettled, what we call "wild islands" -- with huge stretches of jungle, swamp, and caves to explore.
One of the bigger islands in the game is Padres Del Fuego which includes a vast network of volcanic caves complete with waterfalls and rivers overflowing with lava. In the fourth chapter of the game, players will be sent to Padres Del Fuego on a daring quest into the depths of the volcano itself!
Another noteworthy island is Kingshead which serves as the headquarters for the British Navy, arguably one of the most dramatic environments within the game. A huge, imposing military fortress covers the entire Kingshead landscape. No matter where players travel on this island, they'll see a different view of the grand-looking structures it contains. Players first visit Kingshead on a quest to rescue Jack Sparrow and must navigate the labyrinth of military structures to retrieve him.
Pirates of the Caribbean Online is a story-driven MMO, so the relationship between players and these environments is strong and will grow over time as the story unfolds. Each player's adventure starts on the small island of Rambleshack where they meet Jack Sparrow and then are sent on to Port Royal. At this point, players can either continue to follow the storyline -- traveling through the environments sequentially as they take on new quests, or they can roam free and explore the world on their own. Based on where each player falls within the game's storyline and their skill level, specific adventures and environments are tailor-made for them.
We hope that this diary has helped you better understand the environments we're building for the game and how it will feel to step into the Pirates of the Caribbean online world!