Blackwake: play like a pirate


1987 was a good year. It was the year Sid Meyer’s Pirates! came out, and ever since then I’ve been slightly obsessed with pirates, privateers and sail ships. I spent most of my youth playing the game, along with my considerable collection of LEGO pirate models (and apparently there are a load of new ones coming out this year!). Anything you read about them makes for better stories than a lot of fiction out there, so it’s no wonder they’ve been such a part of children’s imaginations for so long.

It’s also a bit strange how under-represented pirates are in video games. Sure, there has been the odd game here and there. Pirates!, Port Royale, Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, to name some. Nothing comes close to the experience Sid Meyer managed to capture, though.

Blackwake aims to change that, with a mix of old school teamwork and new ideas. The game unashamedly takes a cue from the fantastic teamplay game Guns of Icarus Online,

Blackwake is a multiplayer team-based shooter centered around naval battles for PC and Mac. Set during the Age of Sail, Blackwake focuses largely on team-based tactics and overall team cooperation. Organizing a ship broadside, assisting your captain in navigating various weather conditions, or just being part of the gun crew – there are many roles to be filled in this shooter.

The game plays like a lot of team based first-person games, but does away with most classes, giving all the crew members the flexibility to fill any role. The only specifically assigned member would be the captain, who gels the crew together, much like Guns of Icarus.

  • Team based sailing
  • Various ship sizes
  • Ship destruction
  • Melee & ranged weapon combat
  • Objective based game modes
  • Varied weather & Environments
  • Headgear
  • Ranking system

As you can see from the video and what the developers have said, they’re doing their best to keep things simple, but frantic and fun. The Kickstarter has exceeded their asking amount by over 11 times, so they don’t really need your money. Everything from now on will go towards more, bigger better.

My take

Man, I love playing Guns of Icarus Online. Every weekend, players pile into servers and talk like pirates while getting drunk. There’s nothing quite like a drunk Russian yelling at a drunk Spaniard in pirate speak. This game should be great at harnessing all that if they can get the visuals and sound just right. My worry is that there doesn’t seem to be any visual flair at the moment. It’s still very early days though.

There’s so much potential for some grandiose gameplay in a game like this. Some of those tall ships were historically quite large, so the battles would have been spectacular. Blackwake needs more than silly fun to do well. It needs an element of grittiness. Some authenticity to the game. I’d love to see all those classic ships in there along with land baed missions and booty. There is another game to keep an eye on though… Naval Action aims to bring that authenticity to your sailing game, with a huge world to explore and fight in.

Your take

What do you think of Blackwake? Do you love pirates or are you wrong?

Check out the Blackwake Kickstarter campaign for all the info!


About Dan Morse

From the Atari 2600 right through to bleeding fast PCs, Dan's played on them all. One thing that's never changed is an unwavering passion for video games. Twitter: @happydan | Steam: happydan | GOG: happydan