Age of Piracy E3 2005 First Look

Arrrrr! We fire a broadside into this pirate MMORPG at E3.

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Here's the thing about mobile multiplayer: It's way cool, yes, but even zero-latency real-time twitch gameplay can't help a game that isn't fun to begin with. Nokia's SNAP Mobile unit, the guys that are currently bringing a slightly abridged version of Pocket Kingdom to mobile, know this, and so they've been combing the development ranks for original, interesting ideas. Sweden-based Jadestone seems to fit the bill. It's busy working on Spirits for the N-Gage, and now it has been drafted to make Age of Piracy, too. We got a quick picture of this technically impressive massively multiplayer online role-playing game at E3, and we're hoping that Jadestone busts its booty to make it all happen.

Age of Piracy follows in the footsteps of such excellent mobile age-of-exploration games as Anno 1503 and Port Royale 2, which were both developed by Elkware (now a studio of InfoSpace Mobile's). You're a captain sailing the Caribbean Sea in search of fame and fortune. This sounds easy enough, but there are plenty of other captains around who are more than willing to kill you, to get their slice of the pie.

In Age of Piracy's case, many of these captains will be other players, as the Caribbean has been moved server-side and made persistent. As the developer described it, you'll occasionally encounter another player while sailing, at which point you can engage in combat or trade; all interaction will be based on simultaneous turn-taking. Depending on your nationality, you'll have access to different friendly ports. If you play as a pirate, of course, you'll have to watch yourself around many towns--but you'll gain the advantage of being able to trade contraband goods anywhere.

Your eventual goal is to take over one of these ports and run it as governor (or pirate king, if you prefer). There will be many stops along the way to settling down, though, including quests and scripted events disseminated from the server-side. Age of Piracy will even support cooperative play, according to the developer.

Age of Piracy will arrive on Nokia phones that use select GSM carriers by the end of this year. Since gameplay details were pretty sketchy at the show, we hope to get a more complete picture of the game in the near future.

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