Sometime more than a decade ago, modders created a Pirates of the Caribbean mod called “New Horizons.” The mod was intended to turn the movie tie-in game into a more realistic, more fun experience with more storylines, more abilities, more customization, and more historical detail than before. The mod even improved the game’s graphics, including the introduction of new models and textures.
More recently, the community behind the mod, the PiratesAhoy! community, attempted to create a full game from scratch. The project, which came to be known as Hearts of Oak, was canceled last year after several “key developers” left. However, a new game rose from its ashes, one that has now come to be known as “New Horizons Remastered.”
New Horizons Remastered is described as “a single-player open-world pirate RPG set in the Caribbean.” It is the community’s attempt at immortalizing the “best mod content” that it has produced in a standalone Unity-powered game. The game features entirely new assets created by the community, improved fencing combat, a “renewed focus on storytelling,” and a completely new soundtrack, including some music that was created for Hearts of Oak.
The community recently released a small tech demo for the game, which includes several locations from Pirates of the Caribbean. Players can explore the world, sail a ship, and take pot shots at an enemy ship that doesn’t sink just yet. You can find the demo on either the PiratesAhoy! community’s website or itch.io.
Those who are worried about New Horizons Remastered replacing the existing mod have nothing to fear. It is noted in the FAQ that the projects will be developed in parallel, so long as there are developers willing to work on the mod.
New Horizons Remastered is an ambitious project and I’m rather looking forward to seeing where it goes. It’s one of a small number of projects that are based on remaking a classic game from the ground up and improving upon it. I’m curious about whether the developers will be able to succeed in taking an existing formula that they’ve been modding for over a decade and turning it into something entirely new and perhaps vastly superior to the original game.