Age of Booty Sets Sail for PSN Today

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Hey PS Fam! Long time no blog. It’s my pleasure to announce that Age of Booty will finally become available today on the PSN for only $9.99. I know there was a delay bringing this title to you, but we had to make sure we fixed all the bugs before we deliver one of the most original digital games on this platform.

Age of Booty

Anyway, Max Hoberman, the President of Certain Affinity and the developer of Age of Booty, wanted to give you some insights into this critically acclaimed game. He’ll also answer any questions you have about the game. Without further ado, heeeere’s Max!

This is a follow-up to my previous post, where I described the genesis of our upcoming downloadable pirate action RTS, Age of Booty. I left off with us signing a publishing deal with Capcom and beginning production. That was a year ago, and since then we’ve had a lot of time to improve upon the original design.

At this point you might be wondering what exactly Age of Booty is all about. In my last post I touched on the game’s unique combination of simple, intuitive controls and mechanics and strategic depth. But that was all pretty high-level, so let’s dive a bit deeper.

In Age of Booty you are the captain of a pirate ship, a representative of one of several pirate factions. These factions are fighting it out for control of the hexagonal seas. Yes, that’s right, the environments in Age of Booty are constructed of three dimensional … hexagons. This harkens back to the game’s early board game influences and early tile-based computer game influences. There’s beautiful simplicity in a world built of tiles. For starters, levels are incredibly easy to create and to tune, both for the game designer and for the player. (Yes, Age of Booty comes with a map editor.) Tiles clearly defined in the game world are also great for strategic planning, and so toward this end each unit in Age of Booty occupies exactly one hex. This holds true for ships and towns, a decision that created some interesting artistic challenges and that contributed to the game’s stylized graphics.

Unlike other strategy games you control just one ship in Age of Booty. I know, a strategy game with just one unit seems pretty odd. It actually works amazingly well. The camera is decoupled from your ship, so you find yourself constantly scanning the map. An overhead map is available but it doesn’t show enemy ship locations, and so this “scouting,” or spying on your opponents if you like, is integral to the game. At any given time you’re controlling your camera, controlling your ship’s movement, and managing your upgrades, resources, and infrastructure. Until you’ve played the game you won’t appreciate how much is really going on. Of course the game play movies that people have seen on the web don’t do the game justice unless you know what it is you’re looking at—you’d be better off just watching the emotions on someone’s face while they’re playing!

Alright, so you control a ship on a tile-based playing field. But to what end? While the core mechanics lend themselves to numerous game objectives, in order to focus our efforts we settled on just one for the shipping game: town control. This is most similar to territories games, if you’ve played them. Each map has a set number of towns, all of which start out neutral. When you take over a town it raises your faction’s flag. The first team to control a specific number of towns wins the game. Typical maps have between about three and eight towns, with control of two-thirds of these towns usually required to win a game. This number is set on a per-map basis, however, so a map might require control of all towns, just one town, etc.

There are layers upon layers of depth built upon this foundation. For example, if a town is adjacent to resource hexes it starts producing these resources for you when you take control of it—gold, wood, or rum, to be precise (what else?!). Resources can be used to upgrade your town defenses and also to upgrade your ship’s speed, armor, and cannons. Even though games last between just five and fifteen minutes it’s extremely rare that a team wins without upgrades, and so collecting resources becomes a constant objective underlying your ultimate goal. Sure, taking control of towns doesn’t sound too complicated, but keep in mind that there’s one or more other teams trying to do the exact same thing, upgrading their offensive and defensive capabilities along the way, and trying to pick off your newly acquired towns, which are weaker than neutral towns, and you start to see where some of the depth comes from.

There’s one more aspect of the game I want to discuss. Sharing might not be for pirates, but one of the key elements to Age of Booty is team play. Whether you’re playing the single player game or multiplayer you almost certainly have one or more teammates. These can be computer controlled players such as Pegleg Pete, your sidekick in the single player game, or friends—Age of Booty supports up to four players on a single console and up to eight networked. As soon as you have even just a single teammate new strategic opportunities arise.

For example, right off the bat teams have to decide how to distribute ship upgrades. Most maps give you enough resources for two to three upgrades at the start. Is it better to split the upgrades evenly? Or perhaps to load one player up with guns and armor (become a “tank”, as we say) while the other stays fast but weak? If you both upgrade you’ll present a powerful pair when you’re together, but if you split up you’ll likely be overwhelmed by enemy tanks; nor will either one of you be quite as fast as the un-upgraded player, causing you to lose the race for resource pickups. On the other hand, if you take all of the upgrades you’ll move fairly slowly, while your teammate will be too weak to take neutral towns without assistance. There’s no right answer, and a lot depends on the particular map and your strategy and ability to coordinate.

This array of possibilities only grows as you add a third and even a fourth team member, and sometimes a third (or more) team, each with its own strategy and agenda. And that’s just at the start of the game; as you earn more resources you’ll be faced with similar strategic decisions. For instance, if one team member has taken all of the upgrades at the start do you let him or her continue taking future upgrades or do the weaker players start to upgrade?

I could go on and on describing the strategic intricacies of the game, but I’ll leave the rest for you to discover—the subtle advantages and disadvantages of various ship upgrade types, the strategic use of Curses, pilfering native villages, the importance of positioning in combat, and so on. I’ll be around to answer questions and provide more detail on the game, so join in the discussion!

This is John D again. What are you waiting for? Go download the game. I’ll be back soon to talk about SFHD Remix and Flock! Till next time. Yarrrr!

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73 Comments

13 Author Replies

  • Eternity_Viper_Snake

    COOL i’ll check it out later keep up the good work :)

    • Thanks! Max is travelling right now but will get around to your questions. I\’ll also be around for any other Capcom related questions you have.

  • Sounds great! Thanks for supporting the PS3. I hope we can see Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 soon.

    Thanks for the updates!

  • AoB looks like a great addition to the PSN.
    Any word on Trophy support for AoB?
    I mean, we are still waiting on the trophy update promised for Bionic Commando:RA, are you guys gonna come through on this???

  • Yar, it’s a pirate game, I can’t resist. Looks like some fun multiplayer stratigerie too!

  • Hey john, it’s always nice to hear from you. I am truly sorry for the off-topic, but do you think Okami will later make its way to the Playstation Store? Thanks!

  • Is there a demo?

  • Is there 2 player vs. computer co-op?
    And if so, is the co-op online and/or local?

    • Co-op is both online an local. There are a variety of options. You could even play a 4 player co-op match, then take the team online against another 4 player team.

  • I’m not sure if this was already announced or not but, are there any trophies? P.S that won’t be the deciding factor for whether I get it or not, I am just curious…..

  • Any word on when Street Fighter 2 HD Turbo Remix is going to be released? :p

  • Please, please, please release SF 2 HD soon! I also would love to have either Marvel VS Capcom 2 on PSN or you guys can work on Marvel VS Capcom 3 if you feel like being nice to us :o)

  • Sounds like a fun game.

  • Please respond,

    How playable is Age of Booty if the latency of your internet connection is very high?

    I’m stuck with a satellite uplink for the moment, so I have plenty of bandwidth, but my pings are in the 1000-1200 neighborhood.

    Thanks

  • i thought capcom lost their deal with marvel a while ago

  • I like pirate stuff too! Definitely looks interesting, can’t wait to buy it. But can this please be a precursor to Marvel vs capcom 2.

  • Hey i’m gonna buy it. I have a question tho.

    will their be trophies?

    will their be a demo?

    Please reply, Thanks for Reading my post!

  • Looks like fun. Doe si tsupport voice chat either for teams or oponents?

  • Only one question does the game support trophies and if not will there be a future patch?

    I want to get it but I don’t like supporting games that don’t support the new PS3 features In-Game XMB music and specially TROPHIES…

    Thanks for the info.

  • looks like i’ll be pretty busy with AAA-titles, but i’m gonna keep an eye on this one!

    ARRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

  • SFHD REMIX next thursday??? :)

  • ETA on the trophy patch?

  • Will there be a demo today?
    Also do we get XMB Music and Trophies?
    RTS has never been a hit on consoles I wish they worked well but they haven’t yet.
    So a demo would be great!
    It sounds fun but I can’t blow $10 for a game I have not tried.
    However if custom XMB music and trophies are involved $10 becomes very attractive price.

    Looking forward to the Capcom store! Keep it coming!

  • Age of Booty not in Europe’s Store today? Shocking!

    I dread to ask but when are we likely to get it in Europe?

  • Nice to hear John…its about 5 bucks cheaper than I expected. :)
    If I remember right you said a demo was coming after the release…now that the release was bumped to today whats does that mean for the demo? Still have to wait a few weeks?

  • Sweet! I am buying it as soon as its out on the Playstation Store.

  • Great to see you back, John.

    I was eagerly awaiting AOB last month, and was a little disappointed when it was delayed, but I can certianly respect that you guys wanted the game to ship without huge bugs. (Something we don’t see a lot of these days)

    I’ll definately be picking this up today. Oh, and John, we’re salivating for SSF2THDR! Before the end of the month is what is going around, hope that is true.

    One last thing. We all saw the ESRB rating for a PS3 version of Marvel vs. Capcom 2. We need details!

  • is it anything like that ps1 game with pirate ships? i didn’t mind that. is this game turn based or can you move as much as you want? just wondering if its more like a board game or micromanagement

  • marvel vs capcom 2 is the greatest fighting game ever made. it is my favorate .. right up there with tekken

  • Another game without trophies, John?

    You lied about trophies in BCR, multiple times…and about the exclusive challenge rooms…so why should anyone believe you now?

    You, and you alone have created a bad name for Capcom around these parts. Maybe you should get someone else to write these blogs?

  • Wow this game sounds pretty cool, and my friend is a huge RTS fan, I’m sure I can get him to buy it so we can both play.

  • @28

    Dude nobody lied about BC:R trophies. Calm the eff down. BC:R trophies ARE coming and if you actually paid attention you would know that they are to be released around the same time as the next-gen Bionic Commando game.

    And Age of Booty is getting a trophy patch as well. Anything else you would like to cry about that is unwarranted? Jeez, no wonder John doesn’t show his face around here more often. He has to deal with a wave of whiny people who are angry about things that aren’t even real.

  • Also @28

    A bad name for Capcom around these parts? LOL. That’s why BCR and MM9 are the two highest selling games on the PSN.

    And when SSF2THDR releases, Capcom will have the top three. Not to mention MvC2.

  • John, you know what I’m going to say. Trophies, or no buy. Period point blank. And as much as I love SF2, I’ll say the same thing when that hits PSN too.

    We are past the point where trophy support is optional. You want this game, or any other past this point, to be successful? Trophy support. Everytime.

  • So sayeth the shepard, SO SAYETH THE FLOCK!

    Get the Flock outta here!!

    :) Looking forward to SFHD news!

  • Show me the way to go HOME. I’m tired and I want to go to bed. Well I had a little drink about an hour ago, and it went right to my head. Whereever I may roam…etc.

    I thought this time I would complain about not getting my Qore downloaded copy of the Home beta with an old Sea shanty. At least then I would be slightly on topic. I generally agree with most of the others though. RTS games aren’t usually very much fun, but a demo might grab me. Plus trophies and custom in game soundtracks are an almost definite sale.

    I can’t stand it when a game developers answer to that point is, “Well, I think everyone will be pleased with the games awesome selection of music we’ve decided to include”. That is really lame.

  • nice updates on the store, need some more “real” games on it and continue ad psp games=)

    But seriously, we need in-store-xmb now, want to check what I’ve already got, how much memory I have left and delete some old demos to make room for new ones, also want to listen to music while doing all this!

  • I’m still laughing at the title.

  • John Diamonon

    Any chance we’ll be seeing Monster Hunter 3 back on the PS3? >.-

    Capcom did say from this point on their games will be multi platform. Wii might have a bigger install base but it still sucks!

    Will there be a demo for Age of Booty? I don’t really know anything about this game.

  • sweet i cant wait :)

  • I’m very interested provided the learning curve is shallow enough that my wife can play.

  • The game has no trophies! That’s good considering I have gotten the trophy error 80022D11 like so many other people and can’t play most trophy enabled games.

    It would be nice if Sony got this issue fixed, there are more and more people getting this error code everyday.

  • @37

    i’ve been waiting for ps3 to play monster hunter(my ps2 never had online, and i JUST got wireless for my psp T_T) and then im like sweet monster hunter finally!..bam wii..*cries* and im sure we can all agree monst third party devs use the wiimote as a gimmick that the game could be better off wihout, like slashing at the screen using the controller as a hilt..lame =\, and IMO with the hardware difference of the ps3 vs the others, a better experience can be created on the ps3, like take unchared and compare it with any multi platform game released around that time, uncharted looks WAY better..and mgs4 has like..near perfect graphics..but thats how i see things anyways =D

    also John, trophies, yes/no/patch? comments say its coming but i’ve never seen an offical word on em

  • John does Capcom have any plans to release PS1 games on the Playstation Store? Like RE1,2,3 and Dino Crsis 1 and 2?

  • Humm not to sure about this game but look’n forward to the new Capcom section.
    Iam sure your sick of this but STRIDER STRIDER STRIDER me want new age STRIDE!! OK maybe I will stop now.

  • No answer for me @12, huh? Guess I can wait until you have a demo available so I can find out for myself if the game is fast paced enough that some lag will make it unplayable. Would have been nice to know now since I can buy AoB now, but have to wait for the demo to find out if my connection will ruin the gameplay online.

    Keep doing a great job answering questions such as ‘what other PS1 games will we get?’ and ignoring the questions that are actually pertaining to your origial post about AoB.

    • Not ignoring you but I need to save some questions for Max. I\’d like him to answer that since he\’s the developer. I\’ll answer the other Capcom questions since this really is his forum.

  • Ok cool thank you for the reply John. :)

  • We don’t want games like this…

    We want IN GAME MUSIC.

  • @poccnr

    Pls don’t say “we”…you r not here to voice for everyone..i don’t want in game music…i think this is a interesting game….grow up…if u want in game music, go to xbox360…so tired of hearing people complaining the same thing over and over again……

  • John,

    I think my question at 22 would be a Capcom issue more than a developer issue, so could I get an answer please :)

  • Maybe we want games like this AND in game music…. buncha babies up in here

  • this in game music crap makes me wonder if some people actually ever enjoy games as they were intended, in game music is great for sports games and racing games etc, and maybe even for this if you play a lot of online but all single player games should be enjoyed with the actual music

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