Blackwake is a multiplayer team-based shooter centered around naval battles for PC and Mac. Linux support is being looked at but not official yet. 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.
As gamers, we’ve always searched for a pirate game that made you feel as if you were actually part of the crew rather than just commanding AI or playing in an RTS perspective. The results of our search were disappointing as nothing was at the level we were hoping for. This lead to the creation of Blackwake.
Not only did we want a strong and immersive crew experience, we wanted it to coexist with a sailing experience. Successfully launching a devastating broadside will require strong communication between team-mates.
Blackwake takes inspiration from Pirates of the Caribbean (the films), Pirate Ship Wars (Garry's Mod) and even the old Battlefield: Pirates mod. Our goal is to make a valuable contribution to the naval genre, as Blackwake creates the experiences we have been after ourselves. Made possible using the Unity game engine.
The footage in the video above was taken from a playable Pre-Alpha version of the game where a large amount of core mechanics were crudely implemented. We expect Blackwake to look entirely different in 6 months.
(click on images for higher resolution)
Blackwake is match-based, playing out in simple faction vs faction and/or objectives in a variety of game modes. Winning will require teamwork and planning. The captain will have the ability to broadcast commands, but the crew will still need to pay attention and carry out these orders. Victory relies on the abilities of both captain and crew. Playable factions will include English, French, Spanish, Dutch & Pirates.
Team oriented sailing - Blackwake is a game with heavy focus on team cooperation and tactics. This includes gun control, navigation, overall combat strategy and planning. Ships are sailed with a captain and crew, hulls can be destroyed and ships can sink before you know it. Blackwake is not very forgiving of positioning mistakes leading to ship damage. While you can extract water and slow sinking, you cannot repair the ship.
Various ship sizes - We plan to have multiple different ship types in the game, from cutters/schooners to frigates and possibly manowars. For now we only have two ships. Since we plan to re-do all art for Blackwake we didn't want to waste time adding any more.
Melee & ranged weapon combat - The game will feature an assortment of 18th century firearms, each with their own strengths and flaws of the era. You can expect boarding to be a fun-filled, chaotic experience.
Realistic & fictional modes - We hope to not only provide a spiced up traditional team-deathmatch, but also have more scenarios to make you really feel like you're a part of something epic with objective based game modes. For example, sailing towards a sea monster with an armada of ships to your inevitable doom.
Sea monster PVE - Speaking of fictional modes... In the trailer we hinted at sea monsters, and yes, we were serious! This is something that caught our attention early on. We love the idea of 2-4 ships working together to defeat unique sea monsters while planning and avoiding their deadly attacks. We built the game so far to be compatible with a gamemode like this, and it is actually crudely implemented in pre-alpha.
Varied weather & Environments - Each match on the open ocean randomizes the weather and time of day. From the calm seas of day to the chaotic storms at night where timing is everything. You can expect to get a lot of variety every time you play. Eventually we want the ability for weather/time of day to change mid-match.
Goal of Land/Sea simultaneous battles - How does it sound to be fighting 3 other ships over an island full of treasure, for example? We'd also like to do fort/sea battles (ships assaulting forts) but we don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We're excited to try new things in the future to expand gameplay in a few areas.
Grand multiplayer battles - We’re going to push player counts as far as we can. We’re currently limited by Unity’s built-in networking, but our “Alpha 6.5” video contained about 40 players. We’re interested in 3rd party networking solutions to boost this number. We do hope to support around 100 players if it's possible but not all servers will have this amount of players.
- Blackwake has been featured in paper and print - Link
Blackwake will NOT have real currency item shops. It ends here. These items do not affect game balance in any way as they are purely cosmetic.
30% Art & Programming: This will cover the costs and personal expenses we'll need to be able to work full time. We don't want to rely on part-time jobs to support ourselves leading to a slower game release (frustration meter over 9000). We are residing with family but still need to support ourselves.
23% Software: Additional software and updated licenses are needed to complete Blackwake. Unity Pro, 3ds Max, Photoshop, sculpting applications and more, are required to increase visual fidelity, improve performance, complete detailed characters, animations and overall art.
18% Servers: Initial multiplayer servers for US and EU will be supported for early access backers and for final release. More will be set up to meet demand and we will open up more locations on game launch.
7% Hardware: Improving our hardware to hasten the development process and backing up physical hard drives. Remaining will be used as reserve in case of hardware failure mid-development.
10% Kickstarter Fees: Kickstarter takes 5% of the total amount and 5% in transaction fees.
12% Taxes & other: This includes income tax, possible failed pledges and currency exchange leverage.
And 100% reason to finish the game. (sorry, we had to)
What would Blackwake look like after funding? As hard as that is to answer, we do have something that might give you a rough idea:
More information on this video can be found here
While we don't want to complicate funding with stretch goals or become a feature creep, we are always open to funding ideas that can make the game a much better experience overall.
Any additional funding can provide for better content, especially for hiring additional help. Examples are hiring voice actors for captain/crew commands, tech artists to increase visual fidelity, musicians, 2D concept/UI artists and if far enough can even fund improving general awareness through PAX/GDC and other such events.
Blackwake has been in part-time development for over a year now. The ability to work full time will help Blackwake become a reality much faster. Being gamers ourselves we understand how important player feedback really is. We want the development to be a collaborative process in making this the best multiplayer naval fps game possible.
Crowdfunding allows for better 3D art, more polished gameplay, a huge increase in visual fidelity, proper character art, animations and hosting multiplayer servers for all of Blackwake's supporters during closed early access.
We expect that we will be able to have closed early access for Kickstarter backers ready for mid 2015, with the final game being completed by the end of 2015 to mid 2016. We will continue developing Blackwake post-release and providing free updates. We will not release on Steam as early access and there are no micro transactions. These Kickstarter items are exclusive.
Dakota began programming in 2006 at the age of 12 after being inspired to make games by those he played himself. He became interested in 3d game art in 2009, and continued to develop both skills with a primary focus in character art. After graduating highschool he was referred to a local art studio by his art teacher, where he has been employed for two years. He took an interest in Unity at this time, leading to the creation of Blackwake some years later.
Secondary skillsets contributing to development: Character art, music composition, web development, animation, and logo design.
Tyler began working in 3D as a hobby in 2004 at the age of 11, gaining freelance clients by 2007. With over 6 years of self taught freelance experience, he now provides the majority of art assets for Blackwake. Public notable 3D achievements include placing in the top 10 of the Star Citizen "Next Great Starship" competition. The art presented can be found on his portfolio.
Secondary skillsets contributing to development: Art direction, PR, video production, game design.
Risks and challenges
We have been working on Blackwake consistently since mid 2013 and we are extremely committed to completing the best possible game we can.
Creating a game with only two developers is definitely a challenge, but we have not become consumed by the "feature creep" mentality. We have focused on the absolute core fundamentals of match based gameplay, which is why we have set our goal at $34,000.
We feel extremely responsible for backer money, and further to this, we want to deliver an awesome experience leading up to the release of Blackwake especially with our Early access testers.
We see Blackwake as a foundation and even after release we plan to support it with fixes and new content to keep players satisfied that we will see this project through to be the best it can be.
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter