Disney hired PlayStation portfolio boss, John Drake, as Vice President of Business Development and Licensing last month and in this role, Drake will work to bolster the company’s video game output. Right now, they’re likely plotting the company’s first big move since this transition but we already know exactly what needs to happen: the next Disney game needs to be based on Pirates of the Caribbean.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Did he really just say Pirates of the Caribbean?”
Yes, we did and here’s why.
Pirates of the Caribbean is an intellectual property ripe for a video game franchise.
Color me biased because I’m a massive and unashamed fan of the franchise – yes, even still today – but I truly believe this series could create a video game as memorable as Uncharted or other action-adventure greats.
It’s easy to forget this thanks to the franchise’s latest offerings, On Stranger Tides and Dead Men Tell No Tales (although I’d argue in favor of the latter to my grave), but Pirates of the Caribbean is a movie franchise ripe with humor, bombastic storytelling, massive and engaging set pieces and characters that are easy to fall in love with.
It’s those aspects of the franchise that would translate so well to a controller in a player’s hand.
What makes Uncharted so great? The world, the characters, the gameplay and the storytelling.
Nathan Drake is an incredible protagonist that does some really terrible things but we forgive him (or altogether forget his murderous killing sprees in each game) because of his heart, his jokes, his family and his friends.
He’s simply charming and it works.
Pirates, like Nathan Drake, would have to do some really messed up things on screen to create action-adventure gameplay we’d enjoy.
These same pirates would need to be written with enough heart and humor that we forgive them afterwards, just like we did with Nathan Drake.
Hell, take that one step further and just make this main character the Nathan Drake of pirates: funny, charismatic, very capable and always charming.
Insert that character into the world of Pirates of the Caribbean that’s already been established by five movies and you’ve got yourself a story begging for a video game.
This game could borrow all of the aspects that worked in the movie and drop the aspects that didn’t.
Use the likes of Elizabeth Swann, Will Turner and Jack Sparrow (although I’d steer clear of Johnny Depp) as cameos to draw people in and establish supporting pirates that could work as this game’s Elena, Sully and Sam.
Drop the extraneous plot lines happening behind the scenes and drop basically anything that happened in On Stranger Tides too while we’re at it.
Use locations like Port Royal, Tortuga and Isla de Muertos. Use ships like the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman.
Use villains like Captain Barbossa and Davy Jones not in main antagonistic roles, but as flavor to the world our character inhabits.
It’d be lame to retread the Barbossa or Davy Jones villain storylines the movies have already given us, but a new villain with ties to these characters would let us know that they’re not to be trifled with.
Take the action we’ve seen on screen and let our main character take part in set pieces just like that. Let our main character swing from ship to ship in an attempt to commandeer a Royal Navy warship.
Let them parkour through jungles and fight undead pirates in caves. Let them duel one-on-one aboard a ship fighting to break free from a whirlpool’s grasp.
Let them make quips and banter with fellow pirates that make up our trusty crew, a crew that by the end of the game, we’re not ready to say goodbye to.
You see, there are plenty of video games about pirates out there, but I’d argue that each is lacking a little something that Pirates of the Caribbean could really capitalize on, especially in 2019.
Sea of Thieves is too games-as-a-service to tell a truly meaningful story. Skull & Bones, which isn’t out yet, seems to be too reliant on making us the ship rather than the pirate commanding the ship, and who wants to do that?
Blackwake is an excellent game about what happens on the ship but it’s lacking anything meaningful on shore, which is where a lot of pirate greatness happens.
There’s plenty of great pirate games to play from years past, but even those have their problems. Take Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for instance.
It’s an excellent pirate game but it’s bogged down by the Assassin’s Creed stuff.
What we need is a Black Flag completely void of the Assassin’s Creed lore. And this is where Disney could come in with Pirates of the Caribbean by making a game that’s Black Flag without the shackles of Assassin’s Creed.
It could be Uncharted in the 1700s with swords instead of guns. It could be Mass Effect in the ocean instead of in space. It could be the next big series for Disney and it could be a series that Disney makes a lot of sequels for (you know they’d love that).
That’s why Disney’s next game needs to be based on Pirates of the Caribbean.
For more information about pirate video games, be sure to search for whatever you’re looking for on Twinfinite.
Here’s some recent pirate musings to get you started:
- Pirates Gather and Sinister Forces Loom in New One Piece Stampede Trailer
- New Dead or Alive DLC “Pirates of the 7 Seas Vol. 1” Show Its Costumes in Action in New Trailer
- Kingdom Hearts III Getting Pirates of the Caribbean Sora, Kairi and Axel Figures