Why Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew had to be a pirate game – Dev Diary #1

Ninjas, Cowboys, Pirates – Why? Because it’s cool!

But that’s not the only reason why Mimimi Games moved forward with a pirate setting for Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew and decided against making Shadow Tactics 2 or Desperados 4.

Communications Manger

Hey, I am Elena and I joined Mimimi Games last year as Communications Manager – you probably already read from me, if you visit this blog or our social media frequently. Now that the cat – or rather the parrot (arr!) – is out of the bag, I want to give our developers a chance to tell you about what it’s like to work on Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew and how their ideas and efforts shape the game.

A perfect opportunity to create a monthly dev diary blog! While you just sit back and relax, I ask them everything you could possibly want to know about the game – starting with the vision of creating a Stealth Strategy pirate game.

How pirates and stealth come together

Head of Design

“It’s cool!” is the immediate answer our Head of Design, Mo Wagner, gives me when asked about the pirate setting. And it’s kind of true, because a lot of us have fond memories of cool pirate stories like One Piece or Pirates of the Caribbean.

But that’s not the whole answer to the question why Mimimi Games found their perfect setting for Shadow Gambit in a fantasy pirate world – even so it seems to clash with the stealth focus in the first place.

The setting allows for more fantastical sceneries like this dreadvine with a spooky skull spreading all over the island.

Pirates fit our vibe

“We like the vibe of pirates. It fits our style as studio very well when looking at the narrative cornerstones. The setting can have fun and easy going but still deep characters. It can wear its ‘fun’ on its sleeve and not take itself too seriously, if you don’t want it to. But we also wanted something embracing supernatural powers, be it through magic or Sci-Fi and cursed pirates were a perfect fit for that.” 

Cursed pirates allow for some fresh and exciting character designs – as well as supernatural abilities.

Pirate stories are usually about great treasures and even greater adventures – it only feels natural to slip some magic in there, similar to games like Tomb Raider, where old temples usually hide unknown dangers from a forgotten past.

But a pirate crew specifically also made sense from a gameplay standpoint, as Mo continues:

“The idea of a ship’s crew really fits our genre very well. It allows you to combine strong individual personalities with different skillsets and jobs – a perfect base for a Stealth Strategy game. The Islands are also a huge plus that fits our gameplay nicely. You get to explore a whole island, which is very exciting compared to a few blocks of a city you never see completely.”

Get a first impression of the islands of the Lost Caribbean in this gallery:

The supernatural pirate setting helped to introduce a lot of things Mimimi wanted to do very smoothly. It makes them click together and work, even so pirates are not associated with stealth like ninjas – but of course, cowboys and -girls are neither and Desperados III still had me sneak through canyons while having a ton of fun.

Why pirates can be stealthy

Similar to cowboys, pirates are very versatile – especially cursed ones. Almost everybody has at least a vague idea about them, but they are also enough of a blank canvas to shape them into your own ideas easily.

A small group of people with supernatural powers who are fighting the overwhelming forces of an evil Inquisition suddenly sounds a lot like a classic stealth experience again.

Stealth games usually ask you to bring down a powerful enemy by striking from the shadows and making smart decisions.

Why Mimimi didn’t just develop a sequel

But why didn’t they just stick to a ninja or western setting, moving forward on the conveniently clear path carved out by Shadow Tactics and Desperados III?

A lot of different things shaped the decision to create a completely new IP, as Mo points out:

“We wanted a little more freedom for designing the skills of the characters, as well as the enemies. It’s also great for the narrative, because it enables us to do a lot of cool stuff – like for example implementing the quicksave into the lore of the game world and making characters react to it.”

Have look at our gameplay trailer to see the feature in action:


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Shadow Gambit means freedom – for us and the players

But not working on Shadow Tactics 2 or Desperados 4 next also has reasons outside of the game itself – Mimimi Games wanted to create something of their own and keep it.

“We are excited about experimenting with a new setting and we are also self-publishing Shadow Gambit for the first time. That not only allows us more freedom than ever in our decisions, but also means that the new IP really belongs to us and can be explored further in the future.”

A new IP is exciting – for new players and veterans alike

It also helps new players to get into Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew. They can get to know the Stealth Strategy genre without having to worry about other Mimimi games.

Making the genre accessible for new players …

Even more so because of the more flexible difficulty of the game – Shadow Gambit features different difficulty options alongside shorter and longer missions with a variety of entry or exit points, character options and more. Players can also revive their characters and continue playing if something goes wrong. Or they simply use the before mentioned time manipulating power of their ghost ship Red Marley to quicksave and quickload into a more favorable situation.

Reviving characters gives you the option to keep playing even though your initial plan failed.

This encourages new ways to see and play Stealth Strategy games – You don’t need to finish a long mission in one playthrough or find the “perfect” solution to solve an encounter. Hopefully this will make it easier for new players to find their angle to enjoy the genre.

… without compromising the challenge

Veterans meanwhile can be excited about seeing the known and loved core gameplay evolve: “Shadow Gambit will have the same high quality as our other games, as well as the core gameplay our fans enjoy so much. But due to the changes, it will also feel new and fresh to them. They will have a lot more freedom to take advantage of and ways to express their own personal playstyle.”

Choosing between various entry and exit points gives you more flexibility while tackling different missions.

In Shadow Gambit, you can freely unlock and select your characters before tackling the islands and missions of the Lost Caribbean in almost any order. No more small mission spaces you have to beat in a linear way to move forward. Magical abilities and a larger variety of enemy types also allow you to experiment more and find new strategies or synergies to execute with different characters.

No place like home

Your ship – The Red Marley – also serves as a Hub and home to your crew. You can practice with their skills there, but also get to know them and help solving their personal problems.

Something Mo is especially happy about: “Adding a Hub was something we always wanted to do – even when we were working on The Last Tinker. But it always got cut or just didn’t make sense to include. Now we finally have a Hub that fits story and gameplay.”

The Red Marley is more than just a ship. She has a living soul and talks to you frequently.

You already got a glimpse at those new features in our first gameplay trailer – and there will be more to share in the upcoming months. I hope our first dev diary already answered some questions and got you excited about the game – but feel free to ask us even more using the following channels:


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We are going to share a lot more exciting stuff with you over the next few months!

Stay tuned for more trailers, dev diary blogs, streams and other amazing insights on Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew.

See you soon on the high seas!


Communications Manager

Mimimi Games