Players vie for the honor of joining Jack Sparrow's crew aboard the Black Pearl by engaging in a treasure trove of pirate-themed challenges, including sailing, cannon battles and decoding treasure maps. "As they complete each challenge, they unlock a part of the story of what happens to Jack, Will and Elizabeth in the upcoming sequel," says Bonds. These rewards take the form of images and story secrets, with the ultimate prize being an advance look at an exclusive scene from the movie.
Taking full advantage of the newest version of Windows Live's instant messaging service, the experience allows players to fly solo or band together with groups of friends as they navigate through four major flash games and eight interactive puzzles. "'Dead Man's Tale' is designed as a very social experience, which is the foundation of Windows Live Messenger," says Bonds. "The game is designed to be played with another person and takes advantage of the fact that two people can talk as they make their way through the challenges." Examples of collaborative gameplay abound—during the sea battle, one player mans the ship's lookout while another takes charge of firing the cannons; and in the cavern maze, lost players must communicate their positions in real-time to find each other and the treasure.