Disney to Set Sail with Free Pirates MMORPG

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

Disney is getting set to release the third (and presumably final) film installment of its newfound Pirates of the Caribbean franchise this May, but rather than let things slowly settle to a natural end at the bottom of the briny blue, the company is looking to extend the franchise into new media because…well, just because it’s the last movie (for now!) doesn’t mean the money-making has to end, right?

To that end, Disney Online plans to launch a new Pirates of the Caribbean massively multiplayer online role playing game this spring—but instead of putting it in a box and shipping it off to Disney-owned shelves at Disney-controlled retail outlets, the game will be available via a free download from the game Web site.

In the game, players will create and deck out their own pirate character, then buy a ship, recruit a crew, and set sail for adventure and their destiny. The game will take place in an alternate version of the Pirates universe, with the new “Jolly Roger” stepping in the Big Baddy shoes in lieu of the films’ Davy Jones. Disney plans a story line which helps film character Jack Sparrow get his crew together, find his ship the Black Pearl, and thwart the bad guys…except that Disney plans more bad guys, with new game expansions every few months.

The free version of the game will enable access to about one third of the game’s overall content, and a $9.95/month subscription option will let players have the full Pirates experience, as well as enable player-to-player combat. The game will feature the likenesses of the film leads Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly, and Johnny Depp, although voice actors will supply their dialog. The game will be available for Windows with DirectX9 or better.

[Ar, but with no in-game economy, how is a poor old salt to earn a livin’ with his rhinestone-decked eyepatches, eh?]