WiiWare World: How long has Pirates: The Key of Dreams been in development for the WiiWare service?
Phil Merricks: About 6 months.
WW: What was the thinking behind making Pirates: The Key of Dreams a prequel to the forthcoming Nintendo DS Pirates title?
PM: We’re experienced Wii developers, so familiarity with the way the console works allowed us to have real fun developing the prequel for WiiWare. We decided on a prequel because ‘Duels on the High Seas’ for DS tells the story of ‘seven keys of the seven seas’ and we wanted to tell a new story of one of the first keys from that game, ‘The Key of Dreams’.
WW: Can you tell us a little more about the actual story line of the game?
PM: Pirates: The Key of Dreams is a frantic nautical shoot-em-up where players sail their way across the Caribbean, cannons blazing, looting booty, running blockades, and ultimately, battling Blackbeard himself.
The player takes control of a Navy Captain sent deep undercover as a ruthless Pirate, in order to seek out and retrieve The Key of Dreams, a valuable and dangerous cursed artifact.
WW: Can you tell us a little bit about the gameplay?
PM: Players must rescue castaways to bolster their ship's crew, gain performance increases to their navigation, weaponry, structural integrity and cartography skills. Collecting increasingly powerful weaponry including Rockets, Mines, Chain Shot, Saw Blades and a Flamethrower to hurl destruction into the path of their enemies. They can play against three scurvy friends or AI opponents in pitched multiplayer battles over 35 levels, in seven themed environments or in single player skirmish mode.
WW: What Wii control schemes are supported by the game?
PM: Pirates on WiiWare supports the Wiimote held horizontally, Wiimote & Nunchuck, or Classic Controller.
WW: Will Pirates: The Key of Dreams feature any type of online play?
PM: No. It does support frantic 4 player multiplayer battles on one console though!
WW: Does the limited storage which the Wii offers cause you any concerns as developers?
PM: We’re mindful of the limited storage, and have kept our data size as small as we can. Hopefully as the popularity of the WiiWare service increases we’ll see improvements made to it by Nintendo.
WW: Will there be any additional downloadable content made available at a later time for the game on the WiiWare service?
PM: None is planned for Pirates at this stage.
WW: What are some of the advantages to creating a game for the WiiWare service as opposed to an actual retail release?
PM: Obviously cost is a factor. Cost and therefore risk are lower on WiiWare, fewer barriers lay between us and getting the game out there, which means we can spend more time getting the most out of the game experience. Specifically with Pirates it allowed us to play around with the format of the multiplayer and optimize it for 4 players on a single screen using a single viewpoint, rather than the more traditional split screen (which was not really suitable for Pirates).
WW: When can we get our grubby mitts on this game?
PM: We are hoping that the title will launch in both Europe and North America towards the end of this month.
WW: What price point will Pirates cost?
PM: Roughly the same price as a recent Virtual Console game. Hint: a N64 game!
WW: Do you have any other WiiWare projects in the works?
PM: Not at the moment, we’re keeping an eye on how things go right now – this is our first step into this area.