GameSkinny

Interview with Apez - Former Online Pirates Kickstart Their Own MMORPG

Apez Games launches a bold undertaking with their first MMORPG project.

by

When Disney shut down their Virtual Worlds in September, including Pixie Hollow, Toontown, and Pirates of the Caribbean Online, many players pleaded for any kind of option to save their beloved online homes. All three had run over five years, but DIMG was also hemorrhaging funds and players nearly that entire time.

The ship finally sunk despite user petitions, player pleading and even YouTube calls for any way to keep those worlds open.

Hoist Our Colours!

But, some pirates you can't keep down.

In the days that followed, several groups of Pirates Online players gathered and brainstormed to see if creating a new pirate-themed MMORPG was even feasible, not just a pipe dream.

Of those groups, Apez Games began developing Pirates of the High Seas and have been making big strides towards making this concept a reality. 

They're already performing basic motion and graphic testing, AI mob reaction tests, and posted some HUD samples for potential players to see on their Facebook and Forum pages. All forum users are invited to comment, critique and make suggestions as the project moves forward.

Launch The Boats!

This week, Pirates of the High Seas takes the next step by offering up a Kickstarter project. The video above shows some of their progress to date and the promises the game holds. As an old Pirates Online salt, I took it upon meself to speak to Zachary Coulter with Apez Games about the future of Pirates of the High Seas.

Amazon Eliza - Pirates Online had nearly a six year run and at the end had a much smaller (from over 500,000 to under 100,000), but more dedicated fan base. Is Pirates on the High Seas about creating something for the die-hard fans or filling an empty void?

Zach Coulter - We want a game that we can continually upgrade and improve to keep player interest, while maintaining an easy game to join.


AE - There have only been a handful of pirate-themed MMOs and nothing new in the past 4-5 years, do you think the industry is missing an opportunity or is it a very niche market?

ZC - This is definitely an opportunity for us and the gaming community. With Assassin's Creed 4, the genre is getting a lot of attention and increasing the demand.


AE - Disney's Pirates Online had an established franchise to back it up, so despite its shortcomings, it tapped into a fanbase. What challenges does PotHS face creating its own?

ZC - We definitely do not have the franchise support that Disney had, but that is fueling the drive and passion to create a great game.


AE - And what steps are you taking to keep from crossing any trademark lines with them?

ZC - Staying completely different from other games and only using historical or imaginary references.


AE - Pirates Online did have some unique features other pirate games seemed to have missed. Are there some of those features PotHS will also have? Any new features your team is working on you can share?

ZC - We are going for a semi-open world. We want this to be an adventure and much more than just sailing a pirate ship. You are able to climb any mountain, but you cannot swim off the islands.

AE - Your Kickstarter joins hundreds of others, what are you hoping attracts backers to PotHS?

ZC - Giving the gaming community a cost-effective way to live the life of a pirate and having the freedom to roam the High Seas.

AE - Pirates are seeing a new resurgence (Assassin's Creed IV, the new Black Sails series on Starz), is it something like vampires that will always come back or do you think there's reason why pirates are popular?

ZC - It’s a dark and adventurous part of history that everyone seems to enjoy and fantasize about.


AE - Is APEZ Games all about PotHS or will we be seeing any other products in the future?

ZC - We are focused on PotHS right now, but I am sure the creative minds at APEZ will not stop there.

Thank you, Zach and all the mates at Apez for taking the time to reply and good luck with your efforts. You can check out their progress on Facebook and their Forum site. Also, check out their Kickstarter and pledge your support. 

0 Originally Published Dec. 23rd 2013

Featured Contributor

a.k.a. The Crimson Widow. Once an Amazon pirate who could be found sailing the seas aboard her powerful frigate of the same name, she now wanders... more »



Comments
  • 1
    Jade Macfury 7 months ago
    Great article, Amazon Eliza! Thank you Apez for working so hard to keep us Pirates happy! Wishing you much success with the kickstarter!
    Last edited 7 months ago
  • 41
    Coatedpolecat 7 months ago
    Featured Correspondent
    Great interview, I didn't even know there were pirate MMO's.

    I'd actually be interested in checking this game out.
  • 6
    Spyke_3447 7 months ago
    A+ review, you asked all the right questions imho. followed.
  • 40
    Amazon Eliza Steel 7 months ago
    Featured Contributor
    - *bow* , quite kind mate. And I will be keeping tabs on these guys and things go forward. The art on their forum site looks amazing and they are just getting ginned up
  • 1
    Pirate Kate 7 months ago
    Thank you so much for posting this great article. We former Pirates Online players are so proud of Zach and his team and the hard work they are doing to get us back on the high seas! We've been tracking with their progress in the forum and love being able to give input into the final product. We encourage you all to tap into your inner pirate and get behind the Kickstarter program. Come join us on the forum and get in on the fun of watching a great game being built from the sea up! :)
  • 1
    Mat_1764 7 months ago
    Honesly, Pirates of the High Seas is not looking very bright. No, i'm not a hater, i'm just presenting the truth with evidence. The group have no intermediate knowledge of coding from what i've seen, besides the simple use of Unity3d. The water for example, is Unity's Water4 Example. The terrain, simplistic. The AI, would have been coded by them but it seems less then what someone can do alone in a shorter period of time. I'm not hating on the project, but from what it seems; Pirates of the High Seas may not reach it's required budget due to fan support being limited. Rather than hiring developers, you could do all that if you have had found the right people. Just as my team and myself have, you really do not need that much money to complete this game, your making someone else do it for you.
  • 1
    devenlg 7 months ago
    I realize that you have said that you are not a hater, and that you are just somebody that is sharing your opinion. I just wanted to point that out first. Now, people have lots of different opinions, I respect that. After reading your comment I just wanted to point out something very important that is not shown in your comment. The game is very early in development, so yes they are going to do some basic things. A game this early in development probably use their own graphics or have great AI. The only reason they don't have great things is because all they have is a forum, a KickStarter, and a very small group of developers. In my personal opinion, you are expressing your negative opinion on something is very basic and will be upgraded. Thank you.
  • 1
    Pirate Kate 7 months ago
    Well stated, devenig - thank you for clarifying!
  • 1
    Mat_1764 7 months ago
    Sorry if i came on as that, i'm just trying to state that the developers alone can create this without the $250,000 needed, which is un-neccesary.
  • 1
    devenlg 7 months ago
    It's ok. I'm pretty sure they need the $250,000 to hire more developers so they can get the game done quicker, a better office, etc.
  • 1
    Mat_1764 7 months ago
    Last edited 7 months ago
  • 1
    Jade Macfury 7 months ago
    In response to Mat_1764, I can't help but think he has some kind of hidden agenda, since he says at the end of his comment, "Just as <b>my team and myself</b> have, you really do not need that much money to complete this game, your making someone else do it for you."

    First, I would think a good bit of money is needed to start up a viable MMO game. Especially for it to be fun-to-play, popular, and eventually profitable enough for it to be somewhat self-sustaining. The goal for Apez Kickstarter seems quite modest to me.

    Second, have you checked Apez Kickstarter page recently? They have posted some updated graphics which look very good. I'm proud of the initiative this group of entrepreneurs have shown. They need lots of support, both financially and otherwise, and encouragement, not criticism and negativity!
  • 1
    Mat_1764 7 months ago
    Thanks for replying, I'm proud of them also for doing this, but i'm merely stating with this engine, amount of money they need, it is not really possible. Unity3D will not merely be able to handle 100 or so users that easily. Despite multiple servers.

    The updates on the kickstarter seem to have many drawcalls (Every tree material, is rendered by the gpu x1), So add up all the trees on the scene. Thus means your fps will drop very low. Making it quite laggy.

    Apez is doing good, yes. But they are asking too much from kids/teens/adults who don't have the money. Apez does not need that much money, and should rather ask the help of it's users who have knowledge of scripting, that way they bring the community in and make it cheaper.

    Servers do not need to cost $72,000, they can be cheap as $4,000 per year. For good quality 1GBPS servers. Apez to be successful needs to recalculate how much they need, and focus more on the development.

    Thanks for your opinion, i understand what you mean but i'm just stating my own from a financial and game creation point of view.
  • 1
    KatTruewalker 7 months ago
    First, I'd like to say I really admire these former pirates for taking on such a mammoth project, their drive and enthusiasm is to be admired and supported. I believe that the pirate genre, in general, has been sadly neglected by the gaming industry. There will always be those of us who want to sail the High Seas with a crew, pillaging and plundering to our hearts content. Whether it be in the company of Jack Sparrow or some of the other very colourful characters from our seafaring history. Good interview and some promising ideas, I hope they come to fruition. If they do, I'd be happy to play this game. Good luck and fair winds to all the team.

People are talking