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 capcom game… nice sony… keep up the good work

  • No Trophies=No Buy

  • Been watching this game for a long time. Finnaly it is comming ot the PS3!

  • Can I play it using mouse and keyboard on my PS3? I mean, a lot of people are used to be fast that way in a PC. I think we shoud have that option because if you have an PC version working this way then it is very easy to give us the same possibility. Bring it in a patch, it will be welcome.

    thanks

  • Why a demo after the release?

    I’m sorry but that’s stupid and it actually puts me off on buy games. If the demo comes out so late after the game is released I tend to forget about the game. And the game must not be that good if a demo couldn’t come out when it launches.

    Ignoring the fact that for some ungodly reason a warhawk demo came out yesterday.

    • I don\’t really know the reasoning behind this, though I heard a rumor that Sony prefers it this way. John, any input?

    • We\’re trying to time the demo and the full game at the same time. It all depends on both packages being approved at the same time.

  • @Max

    Thanks for the reply! Here are a few more questiongs.
    As far as resource collecting goes. I’m just wondering about in each individual level. Is it like a convential RTS? Where you might collect gold or something of that sort. Are there upgrades to your ship or any economic aspects to manage?

    • There are three resources in the game: gold, wood, and rum. Resources are the basis for town upgrades and ship upgrades (speed, armor, or cannons). You don\’t really set up infrastructure like in a typical RTS, instead you scavenge–you can get resources from random floating crates, from attacking native villages, from sinking opponents, from stealing from opponents, or by taking over towns adjacent to resources. The last of these is the primary way of getting resources in the game, but you don\’t build the town, you just \”borrow\” it for a little while and force the landlubbers to do your bidding.

      Games are usually about 10 minutes long so there\’s not really complexity in resources, but there is a ton of strategy, both in which towns you go after (is one with two wood better than one with a rum and a gold?) and how you spend your resources (is it better to upgrade a town or spend on your ship? if on your ship then which of the three ship upgrades?).

      If you want a little more taste of the strategic thought that goes into a game check out the map guides we\’ve posted: http://certainaffinity.com/ageofbooty/map_northern_rum.php

  • Any News on Monster Hunter for the ps3?

  • Looks fun!
    So many great games so little time …

  • Any chance of Jack Sparrow showing up…. =O

    Im a sucker for all things Pirate so you might have yourselves a deal here. Id like to see one or two more trailers though before I commit

  • I think i’d prolly really enjoy this game if i was into those civilization type games…sadly i’m not but it still looks really fun. When i read the title being Age of Booty or whatever i thought it was something to do with that Ratchet and Clank game…glad to see i was wrong.

  • Street fighter 2 HD (coming soon hopefuly)???????????????

  • Hey Max, thanks for that video! Not sure if I wanna go drinking after that or play Age of Booty (on a side note, I have no idea how they can take rum down like that without a chaser, omg puke)

    lol fine. You convinced me. Add Fusion_Id to your list and ill show you guys a true Pirate champ

  • I’m really glad capcom is supporting PSN really well with original content. Maybe you could begin bringing over some PS1 games as well ;)

  • You know, sometimes it feels like I’m talking to a really stupid hammer.

    DLC is not content.

    Give me physical media.

    Now.

  • @ Captain Fury : I think we need to have a discussion with our PR guys. I need a new spin on my image. What do you think, is this image any more likeable?

    http://pcmedia.ign.com/pc/image/article/908/908154/age-of-booty-20080905013951361.jpg

  • Whoa, Mr. Hoberman, you’re reaally replying to a bunch of comments!

    I’m very interested in RTS games, and this reminds me of Sid Meier’s Pirates (I loved that game a bunch). Also, it’s fun talking like a Pirate, Yarr!

    I am not yet convinced! I will watch gameplay videos people upload (I don’t trust when the developers show gameplay videos) and decide whether or not to get it. I’ve been downloading downloadable games like crazy recently (Don’t worry, they’re all legal. Honest!).

  • Oh yes and try the Demo, too. Forgot about that. Hehe…

    Yarr!

  • hahaha!

    anyone else catch that tagline at the end?

    “All Yer Booty Arrr Belong To Us!!!”

    hahahha.. the devs win +1 internetz. good job guys :) great lookin game.

  • I am very interested in this game. I normally don’t buy anything from Capcom due to the poor dental/health plans given to the workers. Which is made apparent in the developer walk through videos shown on this very blog.

    Treat you workers better and actually try new stuff Capcom. Thanks!

  • – Age of Booty. No, it’s not an online dating game.
    LOL!

  • @Max

    Thanks for the info! Sounds good!

  • Bionic commando is never getting trophies is it? :(

  • thanks max for honest answer.hope to see you return to the playstation blog .

  • Trophies, man. I bought 2 games already for the PS3 over the 360 for the ‘Trophy support patches’ and I’m STILL waiting. I wanted this game but I’m holding back until I see some progress. 1942 is STILL not patched.

  • Sweeeeet, I’ve been looking forward to this title. Can’t wait, looks like another PSN classic.

  • I’ve got room for another Booty-themed game on my XMB, count me in!

  • Capcom – do you want my money or not?

    Give me physical media!

  • This is cool stuff guys. Thanks.

  • Arrgh – me thinks release date is December.

  • @jazzyrider

    I can only assume you didn’t read the thread. If December is Oct. 16th then you’re in luck.

  • Hey John I wanna know if there is a chance that Capcom are going to release the PSP MegaMan games on the PS Store, either as PSP only games or updated to work on the PS3 aswell, cause they ar very rare at the moment and I’m pretty sure a lot of people would buy them for the right price.
    THNX for all the support :)

  • 10 EURO 10 USD true, I care about that stuff when games are not actually worth that extra difference…but in this case after reading all those features such as chat voice, split screen, tons of levels, etc, etc + the credentials of the developers…10 EURO feels just right, actually a steal!

    Hope people download this because this is the kind of developers we want to support and see during this generation delivering more fun games!

    Good luck with this Certain Afinity, you have my 10 EURO.

  • The game looks great, one question: Is it going to be only ships or can we abord enemy ships also?
    Capcom-related question: Is there going to be a Monster Hunter 3? Elusive answer please.

  • YES

  • So its Oct. 16 and its still not out yet…hrmmm any updates on it?

  • This was the only game I was looking forward for this week update… :(

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