Privateers Interview – Point and Click meets Sea Of Thieves?

Privateers is a very interesting concept for a game.  The game’s concept is almost where a point and click game meets classic Zelda.  That’s a ludicrous analogy, but it emphasizes how awesome the idea for this game is.  I was lucky enough to be able to have a chat with Kurtataylor, one of the developers for the game.

1 – What were the original goals for the gameplay of the game?

The game started when my partner, Sam Bayless, came to me with a working prototype. He’d read an article about creating a kind of Rayman like top down sprites for a game. So he’d made an arena with bad guys to kill and some weapons you could pick up with place holder art. And right there, was our basic gameplay. Top down actiony beat ’em up. In our earliest discussions about where we wanted to go with the game, I told him that I thought an arena wasn’t a very compelling setting, especially over multiple play sessions. So I suggested that we set the arena on a boat, so we can move that arena around. That’s where we started, and I feel like we have made a lot of changes through the development cycle, become more tactical, added a crew instead of having you control one character, made positioning important, but that basic core has been in from the start. That speed and pressure the game puts on you has always been there, and even though you can pause now to get a breather and think tactically, you set on the edge of a knife. As soon as you unpause, things are running again. Many tactical games let you breathe, but we don’t like letting up on the pressure.

A bar setting, perfectly illustrating both the Art-Style combined with point and click aspects to the game.

2 – When you play, do you prefer to be a navy captain or an evil pirate?

I think I tend toward navy, but I love making choices up and down the scale. I guess I like to play neutral. Do what I feel in the moment. The game’s probably going to kill me, so I just try to find my fun in the moment.

3 – What were the main challenges upon designing towns for the game to take place in?

I am going to be honest, I don’t actually know what this shows.

Towns were a bit of a sticking point for us. I wanted us to have a pretty lightweight town experience for the players. I felt that the towns needed to be a place you stopped in for just a second and made a few clicks and then moved on. Sam wanted something that you could explore a bit. So, we built a couple small towns you could move around in. You could speak with people and pick out items at their stands. Neither of us were totally happy with this as an experience, and we later tried out the kinds of towns you might see in Pirates or Darkest Dungeon. I think one of the main reasons we decided to change is that we headed toward a less procedurally generated experience and more toward a crafted one. Making a town have a character with a top-down perspective takes quite a bit of work and even then isn’t quite as effective as our current approach. A painted town you can navigate by clicking around allows us to really give someone the feeling of a place. Makes the world more concrete. We are working on updating the sail screen right now with an updated custom draw map. Now, all of the events in our game can be associated with a place. Kondanese events happen in and around Kondanese, fishmen quests tend to happen where fishmen live. The move to our painted town scene is more about world building and communicating what that world is to our players.

Screenshot illustrating the Sea Of Thieves-esque elements to the game.

4 – Will the player be able to customise their pirate ship?

Customizing ships has long been on our radar. It is something we want to do, but will likely not be something that will be in by the time we go to Early Release, and then hopefully our players will help us make decisions about what they want us to work on next. The ship is one of the first things we build for the game, it was the moving arena I mentioned earlier, and we hadn’t figured out some things in our approach. So, I think the real answer here is, ‘Yes,’ when I need to find the time to totally redesign our ships. You’ll be able to choose which one you want to use and customize them.

5 – Are there sailing elements in the game where the player can just spend some time relaxing on their pirate ship whilst they cruise along the sea?

Earlier in our development, you could drive the boat around on the map. I thought it was a great experience, but there were some issues with it that forced it out of the game. I think it’d be great to find a way to get it back in. I love just cruising around looking for trouble. Doing it on the new map would be great. If anyone would like to try out controlling the ship, you can find it through our IndieDB page or our blog. You can get and play all of our older versions of the game. Here is a link to build 22 which is the last build that still has sailing in it: https://www.indiedb.com/games/privateers/downloads/privateers-alpha-v022

I will certainly be checking out that Alpha version with the ship sailing, it sounds really fun!  I loved talking to Kurtataylor, and I look forward to seeing this game release in the near future!

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/903180/Privateers/

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