Comic-Con 2007: An Interview with Gavin Irby - Page Two

“We also want to make sure you have an extremely wide selection of dialogue choices to maneuver through,” Gavin added. “We wanted to make sure it was as close to what would come out of your pirate’s mouth as possible.”

Appearances can be deceiving, at least they can be in Pirates of the Burning Sea. Even though characters are constantly making choices in conjunction with their moral attitudes, there is no “magic” or “Force” to make the appearance of a pirate change aside from the player behind the keyboard having an urge to deck out his pirate with an eye patch and a peg leg. “There’s no magical means in order for us to change a character’s appearance,” Gavin said. “And we wouldn’t want to. Appearance options should always be left up to the player, and in PotBS, a player can change their appearance as often as their pocketbook allows them too.”

Ship Combat 2
Story missions will feature both ship and avatar combat and interactions.

If a player does choose to change the overall look of their character, the developers at Flying Labs have provided players with story missions that actually change the physical make-up of a player’s avatar. “We wanted to give players the option of forcing these physical changes unto their characters,” Gavin said. “If players want a peg leg, I’ve actually created a mission for them to accomplish this feat. First, I blow them up. After they’ve washed up on shore, they have to go about constructing a raft to get back to their crew while they have this terribly infected leg. Once the character returns, they wake up with the crew standing over them and they let the player know that they have to amputate the leg. During this moment, the player can choose his dialogue options, between something along the lines of – ‘Yarr, this leg will be fine.’ and ‘NOOOOO!!!!’ It’s traumatic, but it also gives a player a sense of who their avatar really is.”

An RP story-arc is a sure-fire way to expose people to the individual side of Pirates of the Burning Sea, but I was also concerned that the players still wouldn’t feel as heroic as they should if the NPCs around them didn’t respond in to their “good” (or “evil”) deeds. When I posed this question to Gavin, he noted that the players would get a particular response from NPCs within certain areas, but not throughout the entire gaming world as it would be technologically frustrating to try to make NPCs react to hundreds of different pirates strolling around a city.  

Although avatar combat was always readily available, I wondered just how much of the RP story-arc would take place on the sea and on the land. With so much of a person’s story being told by how they interact with other human beings, it would seem difficult to do the majority of the experience on a ship. In this instance, my inkling was correct. “We’re going to have story missions on land and sea, but there will be more avatar missions than ship-and-sea missions.”

Combat Group
Your choices determin how NPCs react to you in certain instances.

However, I was concerned how the developers of Pirates would be able to achieve such a singular heroic ideal, especially in a world where you’re constantly seeing other “heroic” pirates. “The fact that our game world is heavily instanced allows us to do this,” Gavin mentioned. “It allows us to give the players the sense that they are in charge of their surroundings, because their environments will change depending upon the choices they make in their various story missions.”

Despite my urging, Gavin wouldn’t go into the nitty-gritty details of the end of the RP story-arc, but he did reveal one little tidbit to Ten Ton Hammer. “Once you get to the end of the story, I wanted to give the player a place that was all their own – an instance to cherish as theirs. So, I had the players rescue a town and in doing so they create an instanced area that is all their own. The cool part about this area is that the players will be able to meet back up with the “cast” of their story-arc. It’s pretty neat and should be fun for the players.”

Throughout the development cycle of Pirates of the Burning Sea, Gavin has certainly had his fair share of work in front of him. Despite being the only official member of the RP story-arc team, Gavin has achieved his own personal heroic journey by creating a huge assortment of excellent content. When I asked him about the pressure he felt while pursuing the RP story-arc, Gavin laughed. “It is definitely frightening, because if the story element doesn’t take off like I want it to, the only person to blame is myself,” he said. But then he gave a broad smile and laughed again. “But if it does take off, that’d be awesome.”

Ten Ton Hammer is your unofficial source for Pirates of the Burning Sea news and features!

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