Many hands on deck for latest 'Pirates' vid game


Dialogue with producer Jerry Bruckheimer

Disney Interactive Studios is ready to set sail with a new video game based on "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" that ships May 22, three days before the movie's theatrical launch.

The game will feature the likenesses of the entire cast, including Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, Orlando Bloom as Will Turner, Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann, Chow Yun-Fat as Captain Sao Feng, Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa and Bill Nighy as Davy Jones.

Cary Elwes signed on to play villain Black Bart, who appears exclusively in the game.

Many in the cast provided likenesses and spent time in recording studios around the world creating new dialogue for the game, including Jared Butler, Stellan Skarsgard, Mackenzie Crook, Lee Arenberg, Tom Hollander, Jonathan Pryce, David Schofield, Crispin Freeman and Michelle Lee.

Soundalikes were used for the rest of the cast, including Depp, who provided original voicework for Bethesda Softworks' "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow" PC and PlayStation 2 game that was released in summer 2006.

"We felt it was really important to try and get as many of the original cast as possible as they make those characters their own and it becomes very personal," said Nick Bridger, senior producer at Disney Interactive Studios. "This personality is brought out in the game as we mimic the movements of the characters to the acting of the voice-over."

Screenwriter Terry Rossio, who worked on all three "Pirates" films, helped bring authentic dialogue to the interactive adventure. Because of the scope of the game, it took three months to record the actors in such locations as Los Angeles, Germany, South Africa and Hungary.

"When creating a video game, you're inviting the player into the world that you've created, and it's important in a world such as 'Pirates of the Caribbean' that you offer familiar surroundings to them from the films and the theme park attractions," Bridger said.

Since the game encompasses about 12 hours of entertainment, the development team at Eurocom was able to delve deeper into the mythology of the film universe.

"We have new locations in the game like the Fiddler's Green and hugely expanded locations -- you actually get to explore Port Royal rather than seeing sections of it," Bridger said. "There are completely new backstories about the characters from the second and third films and their association with Jack."

The game also will fill in some of the gaps left from the films, including how Jack escaped from the Prison Fortress at the start of the second film. The game also offers an alternate ending to the one filmmakers have chosen for "At World's End."

Disney worked with director Gore Verbinski and his team to ensure that the authenticity of the film world was replicated in the game.

"Of all the studios and filmmakers I've worked with over the years, Gore's team has really been exceptional to us by offering unprecedented access to all of the films' materials and sets and allowing us to really get on and explore the 'Pirates' universe in a lot more detail," Bridger said.

With the advent of next-generation consoles such as Xbox 360 and PS3, Bridger said gamemakers are able to bring similar production values that filmmakers have been using for years. He said because the technology is making everything look richer, more realistic and more involving, the players can be thrown deeper into a more believable world.

"Just have a look at our Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Davy Jones models in the games ," he said. "The gap between the films and their silicon counterparts is almost indistinguishable, and this makes the world that so much more entertaining."