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'Sid Meier's Pirates!' (Xbox) Dev. Diary #4 - Screens

by Rainier on July 7, 2005 @ 9:50 a.m. PDT

In Pirates! you take the leading role of a Pirate Captain in the 17th century Caribbean trying to become the most revered and feared pirate in history - exploring high seas and exotic ports, overtaking enemies in fierce naval battles, engaging in duels and attempting to seize valuable booty. In this developer diary Firaxis producer Dan Magaha talks about the bonus unlockable content that has been added to the Xbox version.

At Firaxis, we're always looking for ways to increase the entertainment value of our games, whether it's through in-game content like new gameplay modes and features, or content "beyond the box" like bonus downloads and "behind the scenes" items. In my previous diary, I talked about one of the ways we accomplished this in-game with Pirates! Xbox - creating a new "party game" style multiplayer ship battle mode. Now, we're looking to deliver even more fun to players by offering bonus game content both through Xbox Live, and by unlocking exclusive content as you play through the game.

Xbox Live

One of the many strengths of the Xbox is its online capability. Delivering cool downloadable content to the Xbox community via Xbox Live has been one of our goals since the beginning of development. We've established an ongoing schedule of content we plan to deliver to Pirates! Xbox fans, starting with a few offerings we'll post online when the game ships this month: Flags and sail emblems - Players spend a big chunk of the game in their flagship, terrorizing the Spanish Main in their quest to rule the hi-seas, and the flags and sails become their calling cards. So, any pirate worth their salt has to have signature sails and flags that make an impression. To this end, we've created some unique flags and sails that will help you to turn your flagship into the baddest hotrod in the Carribean; Also...New multiplayer ship battle arenas, and "Even the Odds" sequences - our team has created this bonus content because they just couldn't help some pretty cool stuff we think fans will really enjoy.

And there's more! We'll have a Pirates! leaderboard on Xbox Live that will allow players to track how they stack up against Pirates! Xbox players around the world. If a player is connected to Xbox Live, their career performance is uploaded to the Pirates! leaderboard each time they decide it's time to retire and end the game. Players can then review their career noting great accomplishments, miserable failures, and realizing the consequences their actions (or inactions) had on their life as a pirate. Oh the lessons they'll learn!

Bonus Content

One of the best things about working on a game like Sid Meier's Pirates! is the richness of the game world. When you think of pirates, so many classic images come to mind: gnarled sea captains, furious ship battles, dashing heroes and despicable villains engaged in tense swordfights. For this game, our artists produced more concept art and reference material than we've ever created before -- literally hundreds of pieces, ranging from concept sketches to paintings to reference videos -- all used by the art team to bring the game world to life. Sitting on such a treasure trove of content, we knew we had to share all these behind-the-scenes assets with Xbox gamers. We ultimately decided to implement an in-game bonus content system that awards credits to players who complete various challenges throughout the course of their pirating careers. With these bonus credits, you can unlock over 200 never-before-seen items, and get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what went into the making of Sid meier's Pirates! Besides, how else could we justify getting a video of one of our artists running around like a lizard at 2AM into the game?

Author: Dan Magaha, Producer, Sid Meier's Pirates! for the Xbox

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