Arrr! Age of Booty to Plunder PSN Soon

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I’m glad to be back here with the PlayStation Posse and talk about a game that I’m looking forward to – Age of Booty. No, it’s not an online dating game. It’s a casual, pirate-themed, online strategy game from some of the makers of Halo. Actually, I consider this more of a multiplayer party game because it’s really easy to play and allows for a lot of smack talk. Yarrr!

Here are more details:

  • Release date: Soon (I’ll confirm when I get a solid date)
  • Price: Only $9.99!
  • Trophies: No comment at this time. ;)
  • Add on content: Lots of free map packs in the future plus some cool expansions.
  • Players: Up to 8 players online – You can play a 4 player local match then take the team online!
  • Demo:Available a couple weeks after launch with online multiplayer matches!


Max Hoberman, one of the founders of the company that developed the game, has been kind enough to write this message to you, the PlayStation fans, and answer some of your questions (This is his time, so I probably won’t answer your Capcom related questions for a couple days). Anyway, heeeeeeere’s Max!

Hi everyone. My name is Max Hoberman. I’m the President and co-founder of Certain Affinity, developer of the upcoming downloadable pirate action RTS, Age of Booty. I thought I’d share a little bit of history about how Certain Affinity came about and the beginnings of the game.

Prior to starting Certain Affinity I worked at Bungie, where I was responsible for the multiplayer portion of the Halo games. In Austin I met a few amazingly experienced and talented developers, ironically from the Digital Anvil studio Microsoft had just closed. I was still working remotely for Bungie, and so I had to make a choice: continue working remotely or leave and start something new. I chose the latter and thus Certain Affinity was born.

Skip forward a few months. We’d been working on an ambitious long-term project but didn’t believe we’d be able to sign it quickly, at least not on favorable terms, and so we started looking for more work for hire. We had a few people free, and so while we looked we built a prototype of a game that would later come to be known as Age of Booty.

A bit earlier I’d had the idea of basing a console game off of the Settlers of Catan board game. I’m a huge fan of this game due to its balance of simple mechanics and depth, and also due to its replayability, something I attribute to its random maps. A friend, Stefan Sinclair (now one of our programmers), and I spent a day brainstorming about how to apply some of these mechanics to a console game. Inspired by Bungie’s long-running Pimps at Sea joke we started with the idea of playing as a pirate, we borrowed ideas from Catan, like a hex-based environment and resource production. But we also changed a lot to better suit an action game. We ditched turn-based play, for instance, decided that movement would happen from hex to hex rather than along hex boundaries, determined that each player would control a single ship, etc.

The team at Certain Affinity gave this design document a cautious welcome. David Bowman, one of our design leads, immediately took to it, going so far as building a paper prototype to sort out the core game mechanics. Paul Isaac and Peter Carter, our programmers, were more skeptical but dove in nonetheless, building the 3D hex-based environment and establishing core mechanics like camera and ship control, movement, and combat. We threw a lot at the project, and in six weeks flat we had a networked, playable prototype that looked good and that was a ton of fun. We realized that we’d discovered something wonderful.

Strategy games don’t typically mix well with consoles due to their complex PC-based controls. Yet Catan and many board games like it are strategy games to their core, though with wildly different mechanics and, due to their physical nature, usually less complexity. We ended up with a unique, highly intuitive control scheme and very simple mechanics, in ways more reminiscent of a board game than a PC strategy game. We then wrapped this in the trappings of computer-based strategy games—made it real-time, added team play, configurable options, a map editor, etc.

We played this ourselves a bunch, and then showed it around, first to friends and then, cautiously, to publishers. Everyone seemed to get it almost without explanation. It took just one game to get someone yelling and screaming and having a hell of a good time. We eventually signed a publishing deal with Capcom, a company that takes downloadable games and quality as seriously as we do. Now, a little over a year later, the game is about to go live.

Anyway, there’s a bit of info about the genesis of the game. I’ll follow this up with a bit more on the game itself, what it looks like in final form and why we’re so excited about it. Talk to you soon!

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82 Comments

4 Author Replies

  • Another great Capcom release! Keep ’em coming!

  • Sweet! can’t wait.

  • Awsome. I want to see more

  • My favorite part of the video…sinking ships. That’s always fun :)

  • Looks interesting, but i’d like to try the demo first.

    btw.
    Where are the Bionic commando trophies?

    • Age of Booty really shines in multiplayer, so the demo will allow complete access to multiplayer portion of the game (for a limited time). This way you\’ll really get to see what the game is all about before you decide to buy it.

  • haha at first i though this was a post for a ratchet and clank and i had the fingers ready to give out to insomniac for the lack of trophy support in their games but never mind that
    game sounds pretty cool alrite. i dont suppose u could give us a european price? if you say 9.99 euro i am not buying it simply for the reason that im being ripped off $9.99 is not 9.99 euro and im sick of games being the same price(sometimes more) in euro as dollars

    • I just checked with Capcom and it is, indeed, $10 euros. I don\’t really know all of the thinking that goes into this sort of decision, but definitely check out the game–I think you\’ll find it\’s worth a heck of a lot more than that! Not only is the single player and multiplayer gameplay a ton of fun, it also comes with a full-featured map editor and a built-in map sharing mechanism. You\’ll be able to get a good feel for it in the demo, which gives you a taste of just about everything.

  • I will buy this……..for sure

  • Dang you had my interest peaked with the title and then boom low blow me with “No, it’s not an online dating game.” Sigh, i’ll never find that special someone now.

  • Oh, I forgot what’s up with the no comment for trophies?

  • Excellent work Certain Affinity! I love Settlers of Catan, play that one all the time in board game and XBLA forms. This should be a good fun time.

  • So many PSN games, so little money.

  • sounds good

  • Glad to hear that there will be a demo available… this is one of those games that I would be unsure of – but a demo would help make up my mind! :)

    (often I’m surprised by how much I like a game based on the demo… both LBP and Bioshock moved over into my “buy” list based on the demos).

    (and LBP is a beta-demo… not a true beta for those that will want to correct me). :)

  • hahahha.. ‘all yer booty arrrgh belong to us’

  • Will this game be remote playable via the PSP?

    • That would have been awesome! But alas, I don\’t believe remote play is possible. Maybe in the future if we bug Capcom enough?

  • great but when will we get a great ps classic could you look into that for us please

  • Nice, waiting for more

  • Did you pass this through legal? Because it looks exactly like something Blizzard did 13 or so years ago.

  • All your booty are belong to us

    Blizzard-esque or not; I’ll buy it for that line alone.

  • Interesting, I’m really looking forward for this game but I’ll wait for a review or a demo…

  • Looks awesome! I guess the Capcom trophy department fell asleep again, eh? No matter, still want it.

  • nice, loved the PC beta.

    btw John! I have a question for you…

    at TGS we got to see that theres plans for third party companies downloadable packs for LBP. (Snake and Sephiroth)

    any chance Capcom would look into this option
    (I would be interested in some Capcom Characters like Megaman)

  • I saw this was posted earlier but then got taken down ;P

    Voice chat?

    • Yes, the game supports voice chat. It\’s the best way to go, frees your thumbs. You can chat both in the lobby before a game and during a game. If you\’re playing a free-for-all type game voice chat is open to everyone in the game, friends and foes alike. If you\’re playing a team game voice chat is limited to your teammates. It\’s basically an open channel, no push-to-talk necessary.

  • the game seems fun, i dont know what am i gonna do, theres already too much stuff i wanna buy

  • Max Hoberman

    John didn’t say the release date up top, but just in case it wasn’t clear, release is planned for next Thursday. If you want to learn more about the game head to http://www.ageofbooty.com.

  • looking good, i’ll wait on the demo, but still mlooking good

  • me love this kind of game. YARRRRRR!!!

  • hey Max is your avatar from the concept art of the game?

    • Oh, hehe. When we originally pitched the game we had a section at the back of the printed pitch docs that introduced each member of the development team. We created \”pirate portraits\” for each person. They\’re not in the game\’s style, but they\’re still pretty hilarious, especially if you know the people. Here, I\’ll see if we can post a few up on the Age of Booty site and give you a link.

    • Here you go, blast from the past for us!

      http://certainaffinity.com/ageofbooty/credits.php

  • I’m really excited about this game. Looks like it’s going to be a fun party style game.

    • I don\’t know if it\’s been mentioned yet, but the game supports 4-way split screen (which can be combined with network play too). Party style play was super high priority for us.

  • This game looks like so much fun, and how great is it that my whole family can play in local multiplayer? Thanks for thinking of the children. :)

  • Thanks for the post. The game looks good. It’s not really to my taste. Here are a few requirements that us PS3 owners expect in a current title.

    – YouTube, custom music tracks, Trophies, in-game voice chat.

    I’m sorry to say this but after Capcom did that whole MONSTER HUNTER 3 back stab. I haven’t supported any of CAPCOM’s titles. It’s not looking like it’s going to change neither. I never purchased Bionic Commando Rearmed since it never met those requirements I listed above. Instead we got some fake promises for Trophy support, which never happened.

    I hope you understand where I’m coming from. Capcom screwed PS3 owners out of Monster Hunter 3. Now I’m screwing you guys over by not buying your products. You scratch our back and we’ll scratch yours! So, no hard feelings. Didn’t Capcom declared all current software being released would be multi-platform? Does that mean Monster Hunter 3 is going multi-platform?

  • i know know what to expect from this game really.. i guess ill wait for the demo

  • “No, it’s not an online dating game.” XD

    Nice…

    It certainly is breaking ground on PSN and that’s always welcome. Thanks for the update. :D

  • Wow, this looks interesting.

    I’ll keep watch on this for sure.

    Is it turned based or real time?

    • The game is 100% real time. I know the hexes are misleading, but that\’s part of the charm. It gets fast and fun very, very quickly–games typically take less than 10 minutes.

  • Really looking forward to this one. Can’t decide which platform to get it on though.

  • Looks fun. Is this game playable in 1080i/p?

  • Love the title. Love the concept. Party games are scarce in the PS3 (other than buzz) so this is a day one purchase for me.

  • pirates and PSN go together like peanut butter butter and jelly! wish we had more pirate games but without the whole RTS. Maybe RPG???

    peace,
    Lh

  • @ 39 lakaihigh

    You never gave me your PSN ID for the Wipeout HD Bling Brigade Trophy.

  • thanks for the answer Max!

    sounds like the team had a lot fun.

    props to the art designer, they look really good…well for the only one I have seen so far :p

  • Looks nice!
    Take note, (Online pirate dating game, with ninjas)

  • Is it a PC and PS3 exclusive?

  • Thanks John…another interesting game and for 9.99 a bargain I think….

    I’ll have to check this one out.

  • awesome the playstation store just keeps on expanding looking for two the demo

  • At max truthfully what was it like to work with mircosoft games studios?my followup question what is it like to work on your own and will you guys keep supporting the playstation network store?

    @john im am very disappointed in capcom support in the psp.almost every japanses company went to tgs with atleast one new game for the psp.what going on?

    • In all honesty, Microsoft wasn\’t a bad partner. There were times when we felt they crossed the line or were going in the wrong direction (often related to marketing), but they left us alone on the development side and in all honesty gave us a ton of development support, especially related to testing and resources. They pushed us on schedules, but at the end of the day we always said \”it\’s done when it\’s done\” and got our way. Microsoft wasn\’t the reason I left Bungie, though I was part of the spinoff effort while I was there.

      Working on our own is awesomely fun and awesomely scary, all at the same time. Games development, especially if you\’re fully independent and trying to maintain a super high quality bar, is a tough business. So far we\’re doing alright though, and we absolutely intend to continue shipping cross-platform games and supporting the Playstation Network.

  • holy crap!

    i’ve actually played Settlers of Catan!

    +5 interest!

    sounds like fun, looking forward to the demo!

    do you ever get off the ships?

  • thanks for the pics Max, they all look good…

    finding Howard Smith on a dark alley would scare me to death tho :)

  • Can you tell us some more about single player mode? Does it have a story line or is it just random battles? How does resource collecting work?

    • There are 21 single player levels. The first is basically a tutorial, but after that you\’re on your way against pirate foes. There\’s a story (loosely) tying all of the levels together but we treat them kind of like challenges, where you can play any one you like whenever you like.

      The levels are divided into seven groups of three, with each group starting fairly easy, getting harder, then getting really tough, especially the second half of the sets. We had the test team log bugs on a few later levels saying they were impossible to beat (\”Barrel of Monkeys\” most notably) but we showed them that it could be done!

      By resource collecting are you asking about persistence across levels? Each level is standalone, though enemies usually persist for a bit based on the story.

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