Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned is a Propaganda Games/Disney Interactive Studios action-RPG starring Sterling, a fledgling pirate who is killed in a sea battle but soon returns as a semi-undead buccaneer and gets tied up in an evil admiral’s plot to rule the seas. Employing either raging bravado or a repertoire of supernatural powers, Sterling fights the evil admiral to save the Caribbean and, ultimately, his mortal soul.

Sadly, PotC: AotD was never shipped. I worked on the game from 2008-2011, starting first as a contract writer but soon becoming their permanent Lead Writer. In pre-production, I helped the studio recover from a series of failed story starts and ultimately became an equal contributor to the story’s final plot. In the production phase, I wrote 80k words of dialogue, interface text, character bios, ability descriptions, and managed a team of three writers. The project all-in-all had about 200k words of dialogue. In fact, the story work was 100% finished about two weeks before the project was cancelled. Very depressing.

Even though the project was never finished, a variety of paid consultants and meta-reviewers wrote heaps of glowing praise for the story and dialogue. Here is some of that praise:

METACRITIC (preliminary meta-review)

We consider the key appeal of Pirates of the Caribbean AotD to lie in its storyline and script.

EVAN SHAMOON (meta-reviewer contracted to Propaganda Games)

From the script to set, Armada of the Damned weaves an excellent yarn. Writing is clever and effective, and in a way that few modern games have done (Uncharted 2, GTA/Red Dead Redemption, the Fable series and several Bioware titles come to mind). Rather than merely advancing the action, nearly every conversation in the game felt lively and engaging, and elevated the entire experience signif-icantly. I felt engaged with the material and rarely felt the urge to skip a conversation. I can’t think of too many games that can match its wit and charisma.

JOE RYBICKI (meta-reviewer contracted to Propaganda Games)

I’m happy to say that the writing is all of admirable quality; many of the exchanges include sharp, clever writing, and the characters all seem to have their own, well, character. [The player character] in particular is written just right – a combination of swagger and naïveté that perfectly befits a fledgling pirate.

MAX EVERINGHAM (meta-reviewer contracted to Propaganda Games)

Amusing, sometimes unexpected and not too smart-ass, this is quality writing and as good as anything we’ve seen in video games to date.