The WC Pioneer team has provided a little bit more information about the general structure of their upcoming game. The Corsair and Scimitar models have also been finalized. It appears the paint schemes will probably be changed around and updated to reflect various environments, but you can get a peek at the fighters with mounted guns now.
The project now has a set of Forums as well, so additional topics and questions can go there.
The New York Times has posted an interesting article about Electronic Arts' reliance on sequels. Part of the issue is that EA has acquird such a vast library of franchises that it could pump out a highly anticipated sequel for each week of the year and not go through them all. A few key series, and not just sports titles, have fallen into an annual cycle, and the article wonders if the company needs to focus a greater portion of its resources on more creative projects.
The game mechanics are going to be very similar to the original Privateer. One of the major differences is that we're actually going to allow you to become a full-fledged pirate, rather than the Privateer version, where nothing much changes besides the Faction standings. So - you'll have the ability to own an Pirate base of some sort and to get the benefits thereof.
The entire game is going to be from the first-person perspective. This means that you'll be walking around bases, talking to fully modeled people and things. If you need to get a new gun, you walk from your ship on down to the Ship dealer, purchase the gun, and have it delivered to your ship on the landing pad (You'll have to remember your pad number).
This is not as hard to pull off as it sounds at first. We're basing the art and mechanics of the base system off a totally modular design. So people will be completely random, as will the various base layouts.
This also applies to walking around your ship - although this is a later feature than the ones we've got planned right now.
You hire crew to man your turrets and to repair your ship. You can also hire a Co-pilot to fly the ship while you use the turrets. He also helps keep track of things happening around you. He's kinda similar to the narrator - he informs you of anything noteworthy that's happening.
The Mechanic works the same as a Repair droid, except the initial cost is less - but you have to pay him a salary. Same with the rest of the crew. They'll have ratings - a level 1 turret gunner is not that great of a shot - but he's better than an empty chair. A level 5 would kick everyone's ass and auto-tractors goodies into your hold.
We're kinda undecided how they'll divvy up the cash - either a flat rate per time you take off, or a percentage of the takings of the last mission you flew. Definitely up for suggestions there.
By year's end, Electronic Arts plans to release 26 new games, all but one of them a sequel, including the 16th version of N.H.L. Hockey, the 11th of the racing game Need for Speed and the 13th of the P.G.A. Tour golf game. The company also relies heavily on creating games based on movies like the James Bond and Lord of the Rings series, rather than developing original brands...
The eighteen iterations of Madden have accounted for more than 43 million copies sold. A team of 50 people is already working on Madden '07.
Lawrence F. Probst III, chairman and chief executive of Electronic Arts, dismisses that view. "The teams that work on the franchise properties have a great deal of pride in constantly looking to improve the product," Mr. Probst said. Besides, he said, sequels, because they have a steady following among consumers, appeal to Wall Street investors.
He added that the company had a goal of putting out at least one entirely new game every year, and had several major original games in its pipeline.