Nothing beats a day at the beach, sipping a rum punch and smelling the sea breeze. Except docking a large, armed ship at the beach, plundering all of the rum in town and leaving in search of treasure. These are the stereotypical behaviors of pirates, but as video games show, they come in all shapes and sizes with many different motives. Take a look at some of our favorites.
Edward Kenway (Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag)
Let’s get this one out of the way: Edward Kenway, the protagonist of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is not only one of the coolest pirates in video games, but he’s also one of the best characters in the entire Assassin’s Creed series. As the captain of the Jackdaw, he fought against slavery in the West Indies and sailed alongside famous pirates such as Blackbeard and Mary Read, the latter of whom helped induct him into the League of Assassins.
Gan Ning (Dynasty Warriors series)
Gan Ning was a pirate recruited as an officer of the Wu Kingdom by Sun Ce. What makes Gan Ning different from the other pirates on this list is that he actually existed! Developer Omega Force has taken some liberties with his appearance, giving him spiked hair and sleeve tattoos, but one actual fact about Gan Ning that is factored into his appearance is that he wore bells. On the battlefield, if a soldier heard the bells, they would cower, knowing Gan Ning is nearby.
Captain Syrup (Wario Land series)
Wario isn’t a good guy, but he’s not a bad guy either. He’s self-serving. When Captain Syrup steals a valuable statue from the Mushroom Kingdom, Wario plays antihero and tries to get it back with every intent of making a profit and stealing Syrup’s pirate treasures along the way. Of course the player’s goal is to thwart Captain Syrup, but she’s not going down without a fight and neither is her…magical genie?!?!
Faris (Final Fantasy V)
Faris is known as the pirate who can sail without wind. This is later revealed to be because her ship is pulled by a massive sea serpent with whom she is friends! Upon meeting her character for the first time, the other party members believe she is male. However, they soon discover that Faris is both female and she’s the long-lost sister of another party member, Princess Lenna. This effectively makes Faris a Princess as well. Speaking of pirate princesses…
Tetra (The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker)
The most famous pirate princess in video gaming has to be Tetra who, in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, is revealed to be Princess Zelda herself. Tetra, still unaware of her true identity, seems to enjoy working alongside Link despite the snarky complaining. She even goes so far as to allow Link to have the bombs she was going to steal. By the way, Tetra is the first iteration of Princess Zelda who actually helps link fight Gannondorf at the end of the game, so she’s not all talk either!
Vyse & Aika (Skies of Arcadia)
While most pirates take to the seas, Vyse and Aika took to the sky. As leaders of a band of air pirates, they assemble a crew to fly around the world and collect the Moon Crystals, preventing creatures known as Gigas from being awakened and destroying the planet. Though their quest is long and tumultuous, Vyse’s optimism and Aika’s temper are compelling personalities in one of the greatest games the Dreamcast has to offer.
Piper Faraday (Steamworld Heist)
You thought air pirates sounded crazy? For this next one you’ll need to look up even higher. Captain Piper Faraday leads a crew of space pirates who raid other ships for parts and resources. This is less for the sake of glory than it is for intents of challenging Vectron, defeating the Volbots and achieving a lasting peace. Oh, also she’s a robot (technically a “steambot”) skilled in various types of ranged combat and fixing other steambots.
Risky Boots (Shantae series)
Risky Boots commands a number of mechanical henchmen and she is always on the hunt for some type of magical power that will help her become wealthier or more influential. Despite insistently claiming she is evil, glimpses of a conscience are repeatedly revealed in her character, especially after working with her nemesis Shantae in Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. I don’t think the boots are the riskiest part of her outfit, though…
Cervantes (Soul Calibur series)
Cervantes first appeared in the Soul Calibur series as a man, but he was later killed and resurrected as a ghost pirate (or is it pirate ghost?) in pursuit of The Soul Edge blade. While the Soul Edge possesses some of those who wield it, others can overpower its influence. Cervantes, on the other hand, becomes bonded to it, with the Soul Edge keeping him “alive.” His goal, therefore, is to feed the sword as many souls as possible which definitely requires murder. Suddenly pillaging doesn’t sound so bad.