Ten years ago, in 2003, a little game was released called "Pirates of the Caribbean". It was a rushed attempt at cashing in on the first film of its namesake franchise and unfortunately did not quite live up to its potential. We have come a long way since then!
While Build 13 already contained much improved effects over the original game, it turns out it is possible to do it even better!
Pay close attention to the powder embers trailing out of the barrels after a volley. There are three settings, ranging from simple puffs of smoke to complete and utter fog every time you throw a broadside at your enemies!
Massive Gameplay Improvements
A lot of the work that has been done in this release is difficult to show as it involves more behind-the-scenes gameplay mechanics. For example, many bugs have been fixed and all the firearms have been rebalanced, making the game much more playable even at higher levels.
But your relations with nations now play a much bigger role as storekeepers and shipyards will no longer trade with their enemies. UNLESS you are so good at trading that you manage to convince them to help you out anyway. But always for a price!
On the other hand, pirates don't like you if you are too much of a nice guy! And those former yellow-bellied dogs called "town guards"? Well, just beware of them now! They're no longer such pushovers as they once were!
Realism Options and Menus
It may look a bit less epic than what else we show in this brief overview, but that doesn't make these changes any less substantial. Most importantly, you can at long last freely use the Options Menu and New Game buttons again! And there are now three Realism Modes that are clearly explained.
And improvements have been made to many other interfaces, including a complete rewrite of the Buy/Sell Cannons one. This has fixed exploits that were in there before and also enhanced your freedom in installing or removing cannons as you please.
Ship Model Updates
We like ships. Especially when they look good. So we have been taking up every opportunity to improve on the original game's ships. For example the Aurora class Frigates (former Corvettes) were already updated before, but this time we went the whole nine yards.
She looks exceptionally good taking back her original place in the French squadron blockading Speightstown at the beginning of the original game's storyline. And this time she is joined by a new high-detail model: The Centurion.
But true pirates don't deal with such unwieldy castles. Speed and manoeuvrability is where the advantage is! Which is exactly what you'll get with the new 'Arcadia' Xebec. She's a rare sight outside the Mediterranean, but therefore not a less accomplished vessel for some proper piratin'.
But making speed without worrying about the wind is also a possibility, of course. They only appear in the last two Time Periods and even then are very rare, but Steam Frigates are a real thing and they work perfectly well, even if you have one of your crewmembers take command of one.
Free Play and Storylines
One thing people always seem to like is to be allowed to do whatever they want in the game. So for that purpose, there is now one storyline that allows Free Play in each of the six Time Periods. We even added a new Free Play Only storyline where you take the role of famous French buccaneer Jean Lafitte and have to decide what to do in a constantly changing game world.
There is unrest brewing in the Caribbean. Nations make and break alliances at their slightest whim. You had better keep an eye on all recent developments, lest you find yourself caught in the middle of a war! Although... there is something to be said for that!
Our storylines now have some nice little secrets hidden in them that become available when you use the mod's Cheatmode. And as such, the famous Head of Blackbeard makes a mysterious appearance in the opening scene of the Woodes Rogers storyline. What could this be for?
Similarly, the opening of the Bartolomeu o Portugues storyline allows you access to the city of Cartagena in Columbia. This will become a location for interesting quests in a future update later this year. But until that is released, you can go exploring there on your own!
Hidden Treasure and Other Secrets
The archipelago in our game is a vast place, riddled with treasures and other secrets. And treasure-searching has never been this much fun! Complete with "X Marks the Spot" on your Map.
But be prepared for scoundrels and swindlers to follow the trail of the gold, along with you. So you may be encountering some enemies along the way. But nothing beats finding the spot with the buried treasure and uncovering the chest that contains the loot!
Have you already met Captain Hendrick Vanderdecken? This retired seafarer and former owner of the famous Flying Dutchman has taken up residence in a shipwreck on an island that cannot be found, except for those who already know where it is.
So are you in for a challenge? Try to find Clint Eastwood! Don't ask us how, but somehow a tough gun-slinger has decided to hide away from the world in a hidden house in the jungle. But rumour has it that he has a "magic" gun of some kind. Worth investigating?
Improved Intel GFX Card Compatibility
Remember how the original game just plain would not work on computers with an Intel Integrated Graphics Card? Of course we finally managed to get a fix that runs smoothly with Build 14 Beta 2.3.
With all that said, we shall leave you to your own pirating fun! But be sure to keep an eye on this spot, because we do have more in the works. And something quite substantial at that! Both on continued New Horizons releases, but of course also our new game project Hearts of Oak: Conquest of the Seas. And if you haven't seen it yet, be sure to participate in our survey for that game!
Are you intrigued yet? GOOD!