NEW YORK - "Pirate101," the follow-up to the popular, free online kids' game "Wizard101," is launching to the general public on Oct. 15, after having given access to paying players Monday.
The game from KingsIsle Entertainment lets players take on the role of an orphan pirate who recruits a crew and adventures and combats his way through a virtual world where ships sail the sky.
Fred Howard, vice president of marketing at KingsIsle, said "Pirate101" may have more of an appeal to an older audience than its predecessor. While the wizard was a hero on his journey, "Pirate" is more of a redemption story, he said.
"'Wizard 101' is Luke Skywalker, `Pirate' is more Han Solo," he said referencing the iconic "Star Wars" characters.
The games are free to play but paying money can enhance them. KingsIsle, which is based in Plano, Texas, makes money by charging subscription fees and for virtual items and broader access to different areas in the game.
KingsIsle said it will continue to run "Wizard101," which had 20 million users a month over the summer. Though the games were created with kids and younger teenagers in mind, the company says a families often end up playing together as parents and grandparents join in.